Building A Deck: Step By Step Guide

If you want to build your own private backyard oasis, or you’re looking to make the most out of the space you have, building a deck is a wonderful project that enhances any outdoor space.

However, choosing to build a deck is a big commitment and are lots of logistics to take care of. From choosing the right wood to make sure your deck is structurally sound and meets building code requirements, to installing a rim joist for support, building a new deck can get tricky.

Tools & Materials You'll Need To Build A Deck:

Materials and tools you need in order to build a deck.

1. Deck Design & Planning

The first aspect of building a new deck is the design and planning aspect. You probably have some idea of where you want your deck to sit, but you’ll have to make sure your ideas work with your municipality’s local building codes. You’ll also want to decide on which materials you’d like to use for your new deck, like pressure-treated lumber.

Before you begin the building process, create a blueprint with specific instructions to be your deck building guide. This guide can help you with spacing, construction and aesthetics. Use a tape measure to figure out how big you want your deck to be. Measure angles, and try to figure out how many posts, or pillars you will need before building.

You’ll want to obtain any permits needed before you begin to dig or level your ground. This can help you determine how tall your deck will be, where you can place your footings and other basic structural needs.

In some cases, people choose to pour concrete to create a level ground on to build their decks on. The concrete process is a great way to attach a deck to your house in a quicker amount of time as you don’t have to take time digging post holes and

2. Digging Post Holes And Installing A Ledger

Once you’ve designed and planned how and where your deck will be, you’re able to begin constructing the foundation. Carefully dig your post holes and install your ledger. The ledger board gives your deck the strength it needs to be durable. It supports your rim joists and joist hangers.

Lay out the footings and where you want the post beams to go. Use chalk to mark where you want the pillars to sit. If you live in an area that has periods of heavy snow, you’ll want to leave space underneath your decks to allow a location for snow to fall. Once you’ve planned, you’re able to install framing on your deck.

When you dig your posts, piers and footing lines, make sure you dig below the frost line to ensure your deck is fully weather resistant. This would typically be around 4 feet deep.

Here are helpful step-by-step instructions to building your own deck.

3. Install Framing

You’ve laid out where you want everything to go and you’ve put down your ledger board to act as an outline for your deck framing. Use batter boards to frame your deck and install rim joists as needed. A rim joist helps create lateral support for your decking, stairs, railings and other joists when building a deck.

Each rim joist will help support your deck and help keep your deck framing strong. Your deck frame should be constructed with the purpose of making it easy to attach composite decking. Deck framing is one of the most important parts of building a deck.

The Purpose Of A Rim Joist

A rim joist provides lateral support for load-bearing joints. Joists are the ribs or frame of the deck and the rim joist provides a sort of frame surrounding your deck. Joists are typically made from a beam that is intersected with another beam. There is a hole in between each beam and the rim outlines each board or beam surrounding decks.

Joist hangers also work to provide further support to the deck framing. Joist hangers are designed to anchor a wood beam to allow for structural support throughout decking, roofing or any other major house renovation project. Joists and joist hangers are an essential part of properly building a safe deck.

4. Install Decking Boards

Once your deck frame is complete, you’re able to start installing the deck boards, or flooring. When it comes to decking, choose strong metal bolts, screws and nails to secure your board to the frame and add support.

Proper decking boards are usually 2”x4”, 2”x6” or 5 1/4”x6. When you choose pressure-treated wood for your decking, you’re protecting your deck from any rot or decay. This can be especially helpful for your posts and framing if you build them underground.

5. Build Railings And Stairs

Once you’ve used decking to form the perfect new deck in your front or backyard, it’s time to think about safety by installing solid deck stairs and railings. Use a rim joist to attach your stairs and railing beams to your deck framing to support your railings and stairs.

Once you’ve taken the time to build a deck and install safety features for you and your family, you can take the time to stain each beam the colour of your choice, or put final touches to your deck, like adding furniture from your house.

6. Enjoy Your New Deck

Ultimately, taking the time to learn how to build and install a deck in your backyard that is safe, up to code and adds value to your house is something you’re going to want to enjoy. The final step of building a deck is spending time on your new deck.

Why Choose Pressure Treated Wood?

This option might be a little more expensive than other traditional wood, but it can lead to a longer-lasting outdoor deck for you and your family to enjoy. Aside from protecting your deck against moisture, it also helps prevent any rotting caused by natural wildlife, like insects.

It’s also a good idea to use this particular wood as there is a sealant that helps make this wood safer for families and pets. This is the gold standard of construction companies that provide complete deck services.

The other alternative would be composite decking, which is made from various materials bound together. Composite decking is extremely useful when installing posts and a ledger board, deck framing and creating joists. These beams make it incredibly easy to get a deck you can be proud of for your house.

Which Deck Works Best For You

Deciding which type of deck is best for you is a crucial step in choosing to build a deck. Assess your outdoor space and take a look at local building codes and guidelines for tips on creating the best deck for your chosen location.

Some important things to consider are if you have adequate space for a deck if you’re able to build a deck yourself, if you have tools to build a deck, like strong nails, concrete, power tools and more.

Are you looking for a flat level deck or would you like to have one part raised? Are you choosing wood or composite decking? These are just some of the questions you may have when tackling the project of deck building. That’s why sometimes it might be in your interest to consult with local decking experts who can provide you with a professional wood or composite deck.

Consulting Deck Experts

If you want to start a deck building project but are unsure of where to start, you may want to consider consulting with professional contractors who are experienced in deck framing, joist building, post and ledger installment, concrete, footings and other deck-related things.

These professionals can do concrete work, level your ground and mark it up for piers or posts. You also wouldn’t have to worry about picking the right bolts or screws and these experts can also give you advice on which materials will provide you with longevity.

Trying to build a deck by yourself can be tricky and you could injure yourself. That’s why having professionals attach beams to build a joist, or utilize their skills to build excellent framing with quality lumber is always a good idea.

Utilizing Deck Building Tips

Now that you’re familiar with the step-by-step instructions to learn to build a deck, you can start thinking about the location of your deck, the form and how to start your project.

Remember that when building deck framing, you’re building the load-bearing support to hold you and your family.

It’s also important to adhere to local building and construction guidelines to ensure you’re doing everything by the book. If you’re still lost on where to start or how to make sure you do things properly, consult with experts who know how to build great decks from the ground up.
Building a deck takes time, patience and a level of skill. Try using these tips to create the perfect deck for your house today!

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