If the warmer weather has you thinking of summer barbecues and lazy afternoons in the backyard, you’re not alone. And if the smell of burgers on the grill has you thinking of a new deck, perhaps we can help.
Here’s a rough guide to building a deck. Be sure to check with your local municipality for building permit requirements, and please research each step thoroughly before beginning your project.
An insufficient or improper foundation can have disastrous consequences. Place your new deck on anything less than a solid footing and the deck might sink and pull away from your house, heave up with the same results, or both sink and heave in different spots.
Determining how many posts or piers you need for your deck is a science. Get professional help if you’re in doubt.
The frame of the deck is the backbone of the entire structure. There are many ways to frame a deck structure, which normally consists of footings, the posts, the beams and the ledger.
Once all of the above is in place, it’s time to hang the joists. While installing joists is pretty straightforward, they must be sized and spaced properly in order to support the type of decking you’ll be using. Joists must also be properly braced and blocked so that railings and stairs can be properly secured to the structure.
Your decking choices will determine the final look and feel of your deck. Will you use pressure-treated wood, cedar, redwood or some of the polyethylene-based composite materials available today that look like wood but require much less care and maintenance?
Once you decide, you’ll be able to determine how you will attach the decking to the joists. Nails, screws and clips are your basic options.
Depending on the size, style and height of your deck, you might be able to get away with buying prefabricated stairs. Or you might have to build them from scratch. How many steps will you need and where should they go? These are some of the questions you’ll have to consider in the design phase of your deck project.
While wood railings are the norm in our part of the world, you can also choose railings made of plastic, vinyl, iron, metal or metal cable. How high should the railings be and where are they a must? These are questions you’ll have answered when you apply for your building permit.
Ready to go for it? Make sure you read “Do I need a permit for that?“