All you need to build your own deck is a few dozen deck screws, lag screws, galvanized nails, bolts, joists, posts, braces, flashing, concrete bags, gravel, stain, thinner, drill, level, plumb bob, hammer and measuring tape. At this point, you’re probably saying, ‘are you kidding me?’. Although it is impossible to learn how to build a deck by reading one article, there are some tips that can improve the quality of your deck by making it stronger and longer lasting.
Home Design Software – First, take advantage of the latest technology, and utilize one of the home design software packages that are available. There are several good options available that will help you with design, materials and tools required, budgeting, and in some cases, even local building codes.
Material – Once the design of your deck is set, you’ll need to consider materials. Pressure treated 2 x 4’s, 2 x 6’s and 4 x 4’s in cedar, redwood and pine are all popular choices. There are also several newer options. There are many composite materials on the market today that resemble wood in appearance and feel. This type of material will cost you more initially, but in the long run, the long life and durability of your deck will make it well worth the investment. Also, they will not warp over time like wood does, and there is no staining or painting required.
Foundation – No deck will last without a good foundation. If you’re not experienced in ground preparation, concrete pouring, and making perfectly vertical anchors, you should probably enlist the services of a professional for this step. Other than this, you should be able to tackle all other aspects of deck building with minimal assistance.
Pier Spacing – Check the building codes in your area to find out the recommended support pier spacing. Make your support distances equal to or less than the 8 or 12 foot length that most lumber is available in. This will make it easier for you by limiting the amount of cuts required.
Sealing – Usually there are ledger boards that lay up against the house to support the beams (joists) under the walking surface. Sometimes they have a Z-shaped flashing that lays on the ledger board top and side surfaces, up against the house.
Metal flashing can warp over time due to temperature changes, even if installed correctly. Seal up nail or screw holes to reduce the risk of water getting inside and causing damage.
Space the ledger board away from the wall using metal washers. This way, you may not have to remove siding, and it will also cut down on moisture that will cause mold and corrosion.
Use Screws and Bolts – Instead of nails, use screws and bolts wherever you can. Almost all nails will eventually rust, and stain tends to not stick to them. Although they will also rust over time, screws will not become loose like most nails will.
Using screws, however, is more time consuming than simply pounding in nails. You can speed up the process by using a power screwdriver attachment on your hand drill.
No matter what methods you use to build your deck, careful design and attention to detail will always give you the best results. It will also keep you from having to spend hundreds of dollars on repair bills down the road.
About the Author
Moses Wright loves DIY Home improvement. He sets up a site to provide fellow home improvement enthusiast with resources on Home Remodeling Contractor and tips on Home Lighting Improvement Ideas and Options.