Build Your Own Deck

Oct 18 08:09 2011 Shelby Tydings Print This Article

A little help building you own deck.

So you want a new deck and want to save money and do it yourself.

Here I will try to help you with your project.

First you need to decide what your decking materials will be. What is in your budget.

Least expensive choice would be pressure treated lumber. Properly maintained pressure treated lumber will last for many years. Clean it and stain it or use a wood preservative on your pressure treated deck and it will give you years of service.

Next you have composite decking. More expensive but requires less maintenance than pressure treated lumber. There are different qualities of composite decking. The better the quality of the composite decking the higher the price. It can cost $50 or more for one 16 foot board.

Then you have vinyl decking. It is again more expensive,Guest Posting it will cost about as much or more than the highest quality of composite decking. With vinyl decking you will have to spring for the trim boards to finish off the ends and sides.

And finally you have the choice of aluminum decking, the best for a deck that will last forever. This decking will cost but it will be worth it. The only maintenance that this decking will ever need is washing. This is the best decking for applications around water.

As soon as you decide on what decking materials that you want to use you can start on your framing. With most decking the framing material will be pressure treated lumber. Pressure treated framing boards will outlast pressure treated decking boards. They are protected from the biggest destroyer of decking boards, the sun. The size of the deck joists that you will use depends on the size that your deck will be. They will be 2X8 or larger. The larger the joists the sturdier your deck will be. I saw a deck that a homeowner had built with 2X4 joists. The deck was only 8X8 but the 2X4’s were not sufficient support. The deck was only 2 years old and was sagging and a couple of the joists had cracked. I’ve seen decks built by professionals with 2X6 joists. This can work if your deck is smaller than 10 feet.

Hopefully you already know where you want your deck. Now figure out how long your ledger board needs to be. Measure and cut 2 boards this length. Attach your ledger board to your house, check local codes for proper attachment. Decide how far your deck will come off of your house. Measure and cut 2 boards this length. Attach these boards to your ledger board, one on each end of the ledger board. Attach them level running away from you house, temporarily support the other end. Attach the joist that you cut the same length as the ledger board to the ends of the side joists. Now you have a square frame. Measure diagonally from one corner to the other, now diagonally the other corners. Adjust your frame until both measurements are the same. Now you have a square deck frame the easy way.

At the 2 front corners away from the house dig your footers, check local codes for depth and size. If any of these joist measurements are over 10 feet then put a footer in the middle. Pour your concrete and let it dry.

Make sure that your frame is level all the way around. Measure from the concrete to the top of the joists, cut your support posts to these lengths. Measure from the concrete to the bottom of the joists, mark this on the posts. Notch above this mark the thickness of your joist so that your joist has a ledge to sit on. Install your posts and bolt them to your frame. Remove your temporary supports.

Measure from the inside of your ledger board to the inside of the front joist. This is the length of your joists. Install your joists every 16 inches on center using joist hangers. Make sure all of your joists are crown up.

Now cut and install your deck boards. Start away from your house and work toward it. The last deck board may have to be ripped to width.

You can purchase precut stair stringers at your home improvement center for your stairs. Use 3 or more depending on the width of your stairs.

My next article will cover hand railing and installation.     

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Shelby Tydings
Shelby Tydings

Shelby Tydings, Home Improvement Contractor

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