How to build a wood deck

Decks add a whole new space to your home. They are fun to hang out on as a family. You can use a deck for your nightly grilling activities and eating dinner outside on it helps your family enjoy the outdoors in a nice environment.

In order to build a deck, you will need to design a structure that will fit into the space that you have allowed. You should think about what you would like to do on your deck and make it large enough so that it is functional for your needs.

If you are just going to have your grill and a small patio table on it, you can go with a smaller design such as a ten foot by twelve foot area. If you plan to have parties and have a lot of people out on the deck, you will need a larger area. Ten feet by twenty is a good space and you can increase upwards from that based on your budget and space. If you are going to use normal pressure treated wood from your local home improvement store, a ten by twenty foot deck will cost you about $1000-$1500 in materials.

To help you decide on the type of design that you want, you can reference various books on deck building designs from your local library or book store. It may be easier to just check out decks on other houses to see what size and style that you are drawn to.

The following example of building a deck will be done on a ten by twenty foot scale. Generally the deck will be coming out from the side of your house ten feet and will be twenty feet long down the side of your home. This is an easy design as most home improvement stores sell wood in ten foot lengths and this minimizes the cutting that you will have to do.

To begin your construction, you will have to dig and pour your concrete posts. You can measure and stake out the design of your deck with wooden stakes and string to make this easier for you. You will need to have a set of posts running underneath your deck that are five feet out from your house and are five feet apart from one another. You will also need a set of posts that are ten feet out from the house on the outer edge of the deck. These will also be five feet from one another. This equals ten posts to dig and pour overall.

Dig your holes down four feet into the ground and buy sonotubes that will then be filled with concrete. Make sure that the tops of your concrete posts are above the ground level by about six inches. This will keep snow and rain from settling around the bottom of your wooden posts.

After your concrete posts have set, you can begin to build your frame. First, attach a board to your house. Use flashing behind the board if you are attaching it to wood. If you are attaching it to your concrete foundation, you don’t need to flash it.

Once you have your board screwed very securely to the side of your house, start to build out the frame. The boards will be spaced sixteen inches from one another as they come out from the house. You can buy joist-hangers that you can attach to the board on the house. Use joist hangers to attach the boards that are coming off the house perpendicular to the house.

As you build the grid of your frame, you will be putting wooden 4″ x 4″ posts down onto the concrete posts that you sunk into the ground. These wooden posts support your frame and will also be the posts that you can use to attach your deck railing.

After the frame is constructed, screw down your floorboards perpendicular to the frame joists that you just constructed. Overhanging the floorboards over the side of the frame about an inch will help rainfall to flow over the side of your deck.

Now you can construct your railing in any design that you like. Most towns require that your railing be a certain height so be sure to call your town offices to see what your requirements are. After the railing is completed, you can install stairs off of your deck that leads down to your yard. You do not need to have stairs but it is nice to be able to walk down into your yard off of your deck.

Make sure to treat your wood with weather protecting stain or paint so that it lasts for years to come. Cleaning the deck regularly with a hose will keep dirt and grime off the surface and will also make it last longer.

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