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 you want?
- What will be the shape of your deck. 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?
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 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 which 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 perfectly level 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 your nail the joist hangers the ledger before you lay the joists. Having a joist hanger to rest one end of the joist in 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.