How to Build a Deck

For many homeowners the addition of a deck to the exterior of their home serves as the extension of an indoor entertainment area or as a relaxing outdoor place for entertaining guests. Building a deck can be done with right the tools at an affordable price and the result will inevitably increase the value of your home.

Materials

  • Ledger
  • Paint
  • Cardboard forms
  • Concrete
  • Wood boards
  • Nails
  • Screws

Tools

  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Rake
  • Pencils
  • Shovel
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure

Instructions

  1. Survey and measure the available space to obtain specific dimensions. Create a deck design to show how the deck will attach to the house. Ensure you have permission to add a deck structure to your home by consulting your local building authorities. If you are not good at drawing, enlist the help of an architect to make a drawing for you.
  2. To start the deck, lay the ledger down 3” around the outside of the house. Add another inch and the upper part of the ledger board will be set. Designate a mark for the upper posts.
  3. Using your design as a guide, excavate the site for the number of posts needed. Put the cardboard forms in place a few inches below the ground. In places that experience heavy snowfall, place the forms below the frost line.
  4. Prepare and pour the concrete mix and allow it to cure for approximately 24 hours, or until completely dry.
  5. After the concrete has hardened and dried, affix metal clamps; cut boards and fit them in place, aligning each one correctly and fastening them with screws.
  6. Allocate a few inches of space for each deck piece and include support beams to strengthen the structure.
  7. Install joist hangers to face up and be level with the support posts. Set the deck boards over it and secure them with screws and bolts.
  8. Install handrails securely for support.
  9. If it is to your liking, paint or stain your deck and leave it for a couple of days to cure or dry completely.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the best wood available to build your deck. Poor wood will deteriorate rapidly and cause faults in your structure. When buying materials in your local hardware stores, ask questions to get the best deal and quality materials possible.
  • Ensure you follow the directions closely for the concrete mix you have chosen; this part of the process should not be hurried. Ensure the concrete is 100% dry before continuing.
  • Ensure your dimensions are accurate and precise and this will make the difference between constructing a great deck, and wasting money on a poorly designed and constructed one. Check and double check proportions while building.
  • Wear protective gears when working with large tools to minimise injuries.
  • If it is your first time building a deck, be patient; the work can be tedious, but the rewards are worth it.
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