How to Build a Deck Step by Step
If you’re wanting a new deck and would like to do it yourself, then you need some good instruction on how to build a deck step by step. Building a simple deck is not that difficult and can be done by almost any novice woodworker. You just need a good plan and some detailed tutoring. This article will give you those step-by-step instructions.
Before I begin to tell you how to build a deck step by step, you need to decide on a design. You need to answer a few questions, like:
- What size of deck do you want?
- What will the shape of your deck be? Will it be square, rectangular, or L-shaped?
- Where will the stairs be located, and how many do you want?
- What type of decking will you use, and how will you fasten it?
- Is railing required? If so, what style do you want?
- Do you want to incorporate any built-in benches or planters?
How to Build a Deck Step by Step in 2024
Sometimes this pre-construction process can take a good bit of time. And it should. Building a deck can be quite expensive, and the last thing you want is to do it wrong.
To get deck ideas, drive around your town and see what types of decks other people have built, or look in home magazines. You can even surf the web for design ideas.
Once you have answers to all these questions, you’re ready to build a deck.
The first lesson in how to build a deck, step by step, is to set your concrete pier pads. Make sure the piers are exactly where your plans show them. Also, you need to make sure they are level and are solidly setting on the soil. You don’t want any “rocking”. What I do is smooth it out and level the ground with a shovel.
Once the pier pads are set correctly, it’s time to measure and cut the posts. These are the posts that will hold up the support beams. Sometimes this task is easier if you fasten the ledger to the wall first. The ledger should be at least the thickness of the decking below the door going on to the deck.
Using a long, straight board with a level on top, place one end on the ledger and hover the other end over the pier pad you’re measuring for. Have a helper hold the board and level it perfectly while you measure the distance to the pier pad. Subtract the thickness of your floor joists and the support beam, and you’ll have the length of the post.
After you’ve repeated the above steps for each post, you can set the support beams. Toe-nail the beams to the posts. If you have multiple beams in the same row, toe-nail them together, too.
The next task when learning how to build a deck step by step is to install the floor joists.These are usually 2×6, 2×8, or 2×10 boards. The ledger you fastened to the wall earlier should be the same size as the floor joists. It’s best if you nail the joist hangers on the ledger before you lay the joists.
How to Build a Deck in Your Backyard, step by Step, 2024
Having a joist hanger to rest one end of the joist on makes it easier. Also, make sure you start at the same end when you layout the ledger and the support beam. It’s also important to install a rim joist on the ends of the floor joists. To get that straight, snap a line 1/2″ in or so, and trim the joists.
Now it’s time to lay the decking. Here’s a little trick I use to make my decks look nicer. I start laying my deck boards from the outer edge and work my way toward the house. This way if you end up with a skinny ripped board, it’s kind of hidden up next to the house. Another thing you want to do is space the boards slightly. This allows for expansion and contraction of the decking, and allows rain water to drain well.
Your deck boards can be fastened with either nails or screws. Make sure the nails are hot-dipped galvanized. Screws should be actual deck screws, not drywall screws.
The last steps in learning how to build a deck step by step are railing, if it’s needed, and stairs to the ground. If your deck is more than 30″ above the ground, railing is required. I usually fasten 2×2 cedar balusters vertically, with a 2×6 rail at the top. Make sure you have 4″ or less between the balusters and the top rail is at least 36″ above the decking.
Building stairs is a little tricky, and it will require another article to cover that topic properly. So this concludes my little tutorial on how to build a deck step by step. I hope it was helpful.
Planning for a New Deck
- Check with your local building department and homeowner’s association regarding permits and building requirements. Note what elements of the project require inspection and plan your work accordingly.
- Call 811 to mark any underground utility lines.
- When planning size, make sure you’ll have enough room for your outdoor furniture and that you’ll have enough room to move around.
- Think about size in terms of the decking as well. Deck boards are typically 5-1/2 inches wide, so try to plan a deck size that won’t leave narrow pieces at the ends.
- Create your design so that the railings are clear of windows and out-swinging doors.
- Once you have a basic layout, bring it to Lowe’s to have an associate put together professional deck plans and a materials list.
5 Considerations for Building a Wood Deck
How to build a deck? Building a wood deck correctly can create the perfect transition between your home and your backyard. How to build a deck planning and construction should result in a wonderful place to go to relax and unwind after a hectic day. Whether you are going to have your deck built by a professional or do it yourself, building a deck correctly requires proper planning and design.
Here are five basic considerations for building a wooden deck:
1. Choose Your Deck Type –
there are several types of decks you can have for your home. An outdoor patio deck can be attached to your home. A convenient location for your outdoor patio deck could be attached to the family room or kitchen. How to build a deck that is a destination deck?
A destination deck would typically be located in a special place with a view and would not be connected to your home. You might have a winding path that would lead to the destination deck. How to build a deck that is a connector deck? A connector deck is several smaller decks of any shape or size connected to each other with pathways.
2. Consider Your Deck Activities –
when building a wood deck, will your deck be a place to grill and barbecue? Are you going to have parties and entertain family and friends? Is your deck going to be a quiet place for lounging, reading, or enjoying your favorite beverage?
Will you have a luxurious hot tub on your deck? To increase privacy, will you have landscaping, plants, or trees around your deck? Take some time and think through how to build a deck that will perform the way you want. Go online and buy a good book on planning and building a wood deck.
3. Decide Your Deck Size –
if your house and backyard are smaller and you won’t entertain large groups, you likely don’t need a large deck. Too large a deck can actually make the house appear smaller. Keep it simple, but add an angle or two to the deck design if you want. When building a wood deck, you can divide the deck into two areas – one area for lounging and sunning and another section for cooking and dining.
4. What Deck Materials Will You Use –
if you will be building a wooden deck, there are several structural parts. Your deck may need concrete footings that extend below the frost line if you’ll have freezing winters. If your deck will be on sandy soil, you may need to build larger footings that will support the deck posts or beams.
The posts can be 4″x4″ lumber which is generally strong enough to support the deck. If your deck is above ground, you may be required to use 6″x6″ structural posts. The deck beams will rest horizontally on the posts and will support the deck joists.
Deck joists will be spaced horizontally every 12″, 16″ or 24″ and will support the decking boards. The decking boards are the floor of your deck that spans from joist to joist.
Pressure-Treated Lumber and Composite Decking Materials. Pressure-treated lumber (top right) is the standard material to withstand the weather.
Most pressure-treated lumber is wet when delivered directly from the store, so you’ll need to let it dry before staining — typically for six months. As an alternative, consider upgrading the decking and railings with composite materials (bottom right).
5. Design and Build It Yourself or Hire a Professional –
unless you live in a very rural area, there will probably be building code requirements, permits, and inspections needed when building a wooden deck project. Contact your local building official to see what is required in your area.
One major advantage of having qualified professionals’ help is that they understand the legal side of how to build a deck and can help ensure building code requirements are met.
One of the best ways to understand how to build a deck is to view wood deck plans that have been built many times. Seeing attractive deck plans can give you deck building ideas that will simplify your planning and design.
The basic deck construction for this project consists of:
- The foundation and 4 x 4 posts
- 2 x 10 beams
- 2 x 4 diagonal bracing
- 5/4-inch decking
- 2 x 8 framing and joists
For larger decks, you can install parting boards — also called pattern boards — in the middle of the decking. These decking boards run perpendicular to the rest of the decking, creating an eye-catching design.
They also allow you to use shorter deck boards and can eliminate the need to butt boards together to span the width of the deck.
You can eliminate some of the necessary posts by attaching a ledger board to your house, but it can cause problems later if not done right. It’s a job usually best left for the pros.
Our deck is freestanding, so it won’t be attached to the house. A freestanding deck should be no more than one inch away from the house.
The Basics Of How To Build A Deck
Are you a new homeowner who would like to improve the property and build a deck in your back yard? Or is your current deck rotting away in the sun, rain, and from boring beetles?
Adding a deck to your current space has never been easier and can be designed for all your own requirements. Read on to find out more about the general idea of how to build a deck.
The first step is to choose your own materials. Wood is vital to anyone’s success. There are several good kinds of wood to use; however, pressure-treated southern pine, cedar, or redwood are your best options.
They are beautiful woods and are also weather resistant. For each wood, there are specific guidelines to the size of the beam, joists, and several other vital necessities for the deck.
Next, you will want to prepare the ground. This preparation will involve removing the sod from the deck’s location, as well as sloping the ground to prevent pooling under the deck.
Lastly in the preparation phase, you will want to cover the ground beneath your future deck with a substance such as black polyethylene to prevent weed growth. With your ground surface prepared, you will next want to begin the substructure.
How to Build a Deck: Design and Layout
Step-by-step instructions are beyond the scope of this article. But building the substructure will include such accomplishments as mounting the ledger, pouring the concrete bobs and piers, and adding the posts to the piers once the concrete has set.
Then you will add the beams and joists. For a pure and simple deck with no fancy railings or stairs, the last step will be to plank down the decking.
If, however, you want to add a railing to your new deck, begin by doing the corners. This way you will be able to evenly space the railing components from each other.
The subrailings and cap rails come next before one finishing touch, the decorative balusters. The final step to building your own deck is to grab Grandma’s old rocking chair and a glass of lemonade and relax from the heights of your very own deck!
With the right tools and materials, anyone can build a deck to enhance their home. First, you design a deck. Next, you check any and all local building codes to make sure that your design corresponds to the codes.
The third step is that you actually build a deck. And finally, you sit back and enjoy the labor of your hands. So get to work! A glass of lemonade or coke outside is just a few days away.
How to Build a Deck Step by Step on a Low Budget
You’ll need to think about how to keep your enthusiasm going when learning how to build a deck step by step, so here’s some things that will keep you going. If you’re building a deck for your own home, the process can really be fun.
Deciding on Materials
Setting up string line and pacing dimensions can be done relatively quickly. If your configuration isn’t correct, just move a stake or two until it’s where you like it. Once the outline of the deck is established, the next thing is to decide on the materials for the decking surface.
Sometimes the type of decking you’ll go with will depend on the availability of the materials. In some areas of the country, 2″ redwood decking is more prevalent than spruce, and other localities might have stacks of 2″ doug fir at a great price.
Know Your Measurements
It’s always better to have more square footage material for your deck surface when deciding on decking material. This is what’s referred to as allowable waste, and if you’re not completely familiar with how to build a deck, step by step, you’re going to find this is a smart calculation.
Everything looks fine on paper, but once the project is underway, you’ll have a few odd cuts here and there, and maybe decide to run some extra blocking under the barbecue area.
Get a Little More Wood Than You Need
The 2″ deck joists, 4″ girders and posts and 2″ bracing are readily available, and they can be figured relatively close in terms of overall footage. Some like to add an extra joist and a couple of 2×4’s for the same reason they factor 5% over on decking.
However, if one already knows how to build a deck, step by step, that same person knows, a little extra is better than being short. If you don’t want to run out of framing material, consider this an insider tip.
Post anchors, post hole mix and metal post anchors can be bought anywhere building materials are sold.
The layout of the girders will determine the layout of the concrete footings for the girder posts. A good rule of thumb to employ is not to us anything over 8′ span when it comes to posts and girders that support the deck joist.
Attaching the Deck to the House
If the overall measurement happens to leave 10′ at one end, simply add another post. If the deck attaches to the house, and the distance from that point to the outside edge of the deck is 16′ or less, you will need one girder. The deck will need 2 girders if the distance is 18′. Handrails are a consideration in terms of materials needed in building a deck.
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Beware of Building Codes
The building code in many localities specifies, where the deck surface is less than 18″ above the grade, handrails are not required. If you’re planning on having handrails, the intermediate rails or vertical balusters cannot have more than 4″ open space between them.
The department of buildings has specifications outlining how to build a deck step by step. After the layout of the deck, the next step in how to build a deck step by step is the concrete post footings and girder posts.
All you need are a chalk line and a saw to trim the edge of the deck. This is the part of the project where one can get the shape of the deck to their complete liking.
The first thing about learning how to build a deck is to understand the components and terminology of what goes into a deck. Obviously, the first thing is to have some deck ideas of what you wish to do and have drawn up or purchased some deck plans.
Deck designs can be as simple or as complicated as you like, however the more complicated the more cost to having plans drawn up and in materials required.
Most people who are looking to learn how to build a deck are likely to want an entertainment area either as a new project or an addition to an existing deck for the family home.
Timber decks are a fantastic place to entertain friends and for relaxing in an outdoor situation, BBQs, parties, you name it decks are a great outdoor retreat.
Basic deck structures.
The components of a deck comprise; footings, posts, bearers, joists, decking boards, and balustrades.
Assuming we are learning how to build a timber deck we will cover timber deck span tables towards the end.
Starting from the ground up you will need a sound foundation, Your foundation will comprise of posts set into footings of concrete. These posts will support the main bearers or beams. On top of the bearers, we lay the deck joists which in turn have the decking boards laid on top.
These guidelines are suggestions only, please check your local building regulations before beginning any deck structure, and always follow all safety precautions.
For the posts, beams, and joists you can use hardwoods or softwoods. Treated pine is the most sustainable timber and is an excellent choice for the majority of situations.
Again treated pine is a good choice as is redwood, western red cedar, Cyprus, and gum. In various parts of the world hardwoods such as will and value are available however I wonder about the sustainability of using rain forest timber for decks.
Also increasing on the market are composite decking products, these materials are getting better every day, not only look as good as timber but are rot and pest free and don’t need constant maintenance and resealing as timber decks do.
Deck Span tables.
These will differ in many areas and also with the type of timber used. As a general guide;
Foundation posts will be 4″x 4″ ( 100 x 100mm). Your post hole dimensions will depend upon the quality of ground you are laying foundations on.
Bearers and beams. Depending upon the distances to span the size of the timber will increase. the further the span the heavier the timber in size will be. Typically a short span of say 6 feet (1800 mm) would require a beam of 4″ x 8″, up to say 12 feet ( 3600) you would go for a beam of 4″ x 10″.
Deck joists – When spanning beam spacings of up to 8″ (2400 mm) you will need 6 or 8″ x 2″ ( 190 x 50 ) when in doubt go heavier than what you think you need, for spans up to 10 or 12 feet ( 3000 – 3600 mm) opt for 10 x 2 joists.
Learning how to build a deck is very straight forward and is within the capabilities of anyone who can read a plan and wield a hammer, there is not much that can go wrong as long as you follow well-written deck plans.
- Use fasteners and hardware labeled for treated lumber — stainless-steel or hot-dipped, galvanized screws.
- If the lumber is wet — it typically is when delivered from the store — butt it together tightly when building. Pressure-treated wood shrinks as it dries.
- Drill pilot holes in the ends of boards to prevent splitting when you nail or screw them together.
- Use wood rated for ground contact when necessary for the project.
- Wear a dust mask and eye protection when handling or cutting wood.
- Wash your hands after working with treated wood.
- Dispose of sawdust and waste according to local regulations.
- Don’t burn pressure-treated wood.
- Don’t use pressure-treated wood as mulch.
How to Build a Deck: Design and Layout