Building a deck is a great way to improve your home and add extra living space. Decks can be used for many different purposes, such as dining, relaxing, or even hosting parties. This article will show you how to build a deck that meets your needs and fits your budget. We will provide detailed instructions on every step of the process, from planning to construction. So whether you are a beginner or an experienced DIYer, you can build the perfect deck for your home!
Planning Your Deck
The first step is to create and plan your deck. The location of your deck is critical. What is its primary purpose? Do you want some privacy? Do you want to see the view? Do you need sunshine or shade? How would the deck complement your overall design? How would the deck match up with your current buildings? Consider the safety issues. Will people under the age of 18 be using the deck? Remember that decks are used mainly as walking surfaces and help support elements like flower pots and furnishings. They must be sturdy enough to support this weight.
Measure the proposed deck’s length and stake it out with tiny stakes for now. Please make sure there are no utility or drainage lines beneath it. Contact your local building department for permits, permissions, code restrictions, or limitations. Some cities, towns, neighborhoods, or subdivisions may impose limits on the size and height of the deck and the materials. Prepare a list of materials based on the core design of the deck, such as posts, beams, and other spacing. You can get any necessary permits using this information.
There are three distinct sorts of materials that you should utilize. To build a deck, use long-lasting, moisture-resistant, rot- and decay-resistant materials. Redwood or Western Red Cedar are two examples of naturally insect- and moisture-resistant woods. Western Red Cedar fibers include natural chemicals called “thujaplicins” that function as preservatives. Because of this, the wood will last a long time without requiring chemical treatments.
Cedar also has a low density and an even, consistent grain, making it less prone to swelling, warping, cupping, and twisting than other soft and hardwoods. It is, as a result, flat and straight. In addition, cedar is free of pitch and resin, which distinguishes it from other softwoods and makes it perfect for a wide range of finishes, including lightly tinted semi-transparent stain or a two-coat solid color finish.
Second, pressure-treated timbers with chemical preservatives such as Wolmanized Natural Select are readily available, cheap, and simple to work with, making them the most popular material for outdoor buildings. Another option is composite decking materials composed of plastic and wood fibers to provide a low-maintenance substitute for natural wood. The materials you need to utilize for your deck are determined by various factors, including but not limited to availability, cost, the final design of the deck, and personal preferences. Check with your local building supply stores to see what materials are readily available in your region.
The deck must be erected straight and square to the structure attached. Even if some of the deck is free-form or curving, the primary support structure must remain squared.
The first step is to determine the deck’s height. Measure the height of a house or structure above your grade line or at the deck’s entrance that will connect to a home or building. Allow a 2 to 4-inch step down from the house floor to the deck level, so water will not get inside the structure. Then drive a stake on one side and measure it in length. Attach a string to the house at the specified height. Fasten the line to the stake using a level line made with a string level. Make sure you measure for and deploy both corner stakes according to your measurements.
Adjust the outrigger stakes so that they are equally distant apart if the two lines connected to the house are farther apart than they should be. Adjusting the stakes forms the core shape. Next, secure the redwood cladding to the ground using four 3/4-inch galvanized toggle bolts with washers and nuts every 6 feet along each edge. To make sure the batter boards are straight and level, attach the string lines to both sides of each board and then compare their heights.
Creating a right angle with the string lines is one approach to ensure that the cloth is square. Using a felt-tip pen, draw a line 3 feet from the structure along the strings. Make sure to mark your measurements at 4 feet on either side of the building. Between the two measurements, measure diagonally. Five feet is required to create a square corner. To get the correct measurement, move the string line in or out. Then attach the string to the batter board at this location. Repeat for the opposite edge or side of the deck from the building outward to each additional outer stake. The structure now has a square corner.
Repeat to find the outer deck edge. Locate the 4-foot mark along with one of the string lines where it overhangs the tops of the outside corner stakes. Felt-tip marker An 3-foot mark from where you cross on another line should also be marked. The distance between the two marks should be 5 feet.
Adjust the strings in or out until you reach this distance. Adjusting the strings ensures a 90-degree corner with a square, 90-degree angle at this end. Remove and reset the stakes for the two opposite corners. The four corner stakes are removed and relocated beneath where each string crosses. The outside corners are thus marked. Measure diagonally between each corner stake and the deck corner at the house to verify if they’re accurate.
The first step in building a deck is to install a ledger board to support the deck as it is attached to the structure. Next, install the ledger board against the house, ensuring it’s low enough for the top deck boards to reach the final deck height. Next, nail in both ends of the ledger board, ensuring it is level and then nailing it to the house. The ledger board should be installed with a moisture barrier between the ledger and the house siding to prevent moisture damage.
The foundation must hold up the posts. These might be made of concrete blocks cast in situ, pre-cast pier blocks, or poured concrete supports. Footings are two times the size of the post they support. The types and sizes of footings permitted by building codes are usually defined. The frost line is often 2 feet below the bottom of the foundations, which is true in most soils and regions. The foundation tops should be above ground level to keep water away from the posts. Pressure-treated wood posts can be put down in holes, on a layer of concrete, and then a layer of gravel if used outdoors.
A 4-by-4 post (or 4 inches in diameter hole and 2 feet deep) can be set with two 50-pound Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix bags. According to Quikrete, pour dry concrete mix into the hole and around the post until it is roughly 3 to 4 inches from the top. Allow the dry mix to soak in after adding water. Water the concrete to a depth of 4 inches for every 50-pound bag. Fill in the remaining space with dirt dug from the hole. The concrete will set in around 20 to 40 minutes. Four hours should pass before placing significant objects on or moving the posts.
Whether the posts are in holes or on footings, it’s critical to ensure they are positioned correctly and maintain the structure’s squareness. Check to see that the posts are plumb in both directions. To keep the posts plumb while you wait for the beams or girders to arrive, use 2-by-4 braces temporarily nailed to the posts.
The top of the house ledger plate, where the roofline meets the gable ends, should be marked for beam locations. Run a string line from the top of the house ledger plate to the posts with a string level and ensure its level. There are three ways to secure the beams in place. Cut the posts to connect the beams, cutting them off to match one of the three techniques chosen if there isn’t going to be a railing. If using a rail, make sure to leave the posts at full height as stand supports.
The joists should be secured to the beams using lag screws. The simplest way to secure the joists is to use metal joist hangers, allowing you to fit the timbers between the beams easily. You may also sit the joists on top of the ledger plate and outer beam, although this necessitates more joists and is not as secure. You’ll also need a fascia board to cover the exposed joists on the outside. According to deck covering and building codes, the joists should separate at 16 to 24 inches. If using posts as railing supports, attach spacer rails-posts to the outside beam or girder.
You can use 2-by-4, 2-by-6, or 5/4 inch decking boards to make your deck. The decking boards are the most apparent feature of your deck. Therefore, please pay particular attention to how to install them. Begin by installing the deck board perpendicular to the house at this stage. The guide board for all of the other deck boards will be this one.
To minimize cupping of the board edges, install the boards bark-side up. Galvanized nails, screws, and Strong-Tie Deck Board Tie are all options for installing the decking. The latter has a free-standing deck surface. Use designated nails, or they will eventually protrude and create difficulties despite being the most cost-effective fastener choice. Screws should be predrilled into the wood to avoid splitting.
Deck boards can lay straight, diagonally, herringbone, or parquet style for more choices. Regardless of the method used, the deck boards should be staggered to allow any movement during the natural drying process. After you cut all of the boards using a circular saw, snap a chalk line on the outside edges or ends where the boards protrude, and then chop them all off evenly.
Decking boards will need to be notched to fit around any posts that emerge from the deck. The Vaughan Bowjak is ideal for straightening and holding warped or crooked deck boards while securely fastening in place.
You will need stairs from one deck level to the next or from one deck level to the ground. You can use a regular notched stringer system or Strong-Tie Connector Stair Case Angles to create steps. It’s simple to alter the angle of the stringers to span the distance from the deck to the ground using these. The rise (vertical height) from grade top to the deck is measured. If your stair treads are 10 feet wide, divide that by 7 to get the ratio.
Calculating the ratio informs you how many stair risers you will need. To find out the entire length of the stairs, multiply the number of steps required by 11 1⁄4 inches. After cutting them, fasten the deck framing to the porch stringers using a Strong-Tie Framing Anchor. On both stair stringers, mark the support location for the staircase angle. Install the stair angles using 1⁄4-by-1 1⁄2 inch lag screws, then secure the treads. Make sure to add a handrail on both sides if more than three steps.
Railings keep stairwells safe, but they also add to the home’s look. Most building codes require a railing if a deck is more than 24 inches off the ground. Railings used to be straight wood pieces in the past. However, turned spindles and supports are now available in various styles to complement any home. These spindles can be purchased in different woods or made of aluminum or composite materials.
Overall, this might seem like a lot of work. However, if you take your time and do it right, the result will be a beautiful and sturdy deck that will provide years of enjoyment. Get started today and enjoy your new deck for years to come! Nothing beats sitting out on your deck on a warm summer evening, watching the sunset, and enjoying the company of family and friends.