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How to Build a Deck Using Deck Plans


How to build the perfect deck from your home is a small but monumental undertaking if you have never built one before. Decks are usually the number one option for home owners to help increase the value of their property. A Do it yourself deck is very doable even for the laymen and we will walk through what you need to get started on getting that deck build from start to finish.

The first thing that we are going to need is a well-qualified set of deck plans. These plans provide a starting point in knowing exactly what you need to have before you start as well as an idea of exactly what it will look like when it Is finished.


1. Design the Deck

Step one is pretty straight forward you need to take a look at your house and see exactly where you would like to have the deck placed. What size do you want the deck to be? Is it going to wrap around the house or be completed in the back only? Then after a basic understanding of where next you need to ask what materials do you want to use to build the deck? How you want to access the deck from outside and from inside? Making a checklist I find using a excel spreadsheet helps me to keep track when I was building mine.

Next once you have determined some of the basics of your deck you are going to want to contact your local zoning board for the proper permits and cost of the licenses you will need. While waiting for your permits also look at a variety of deck plans so you can get a great idea on the look and feel you would like to have for your deck.

2. The Layout

Now that you have your plans in hand and the correct permits from the zoning board from your local district it’s time to start building your deck. First you need to find the best location to establish your deck fittings one good way to accomplish this is to use a ledger board to determine the positions at your house you are working with. Also do not forget to take a good look at the plans since they are most likely a two dimensional rendering you want to make sure you are using a good level to prevent any errors down the road.

3. Setting the Posts

The most important part of any deck is the post that will bear most of the load throughout its lifetime. Usually you can get a few 60 pound bags of concrete at your local home depot or Lowes. When building my desk I just used ready mix saved some time and just as strong. So use some post hole diggers and dig about a four to five foot hole into the ground. After measuring the deck post place them in the hole and fill it with the wet concrete you are mixing. The concrete will give it the extra strength it needs to stay in place and provide stability. Or if you are using a pier to attach the post to make sure you get pressure treated wood since this post will be exposed to the elements. And you can use the concrete and the pier to hold the post in place against the home.

4. Framing the Decking

Framing is essentially the most important part of the deck for two reasons. One it has to be strong enough to hold up all the rest of the deck. Secondly with the passage of time and weather it needs to withstand all sorts of hard environmental conditions.

There are a number of ways to framing the deck properly. By using a number of different methods depending on the type of house and deck you are building. You can use the ledgers that you used for the post against the house. You can use concrete piers to absorb the majority of the load for the deck. Or you can use what is known as stair stringers. A look or visit to your local building authorities will help you determine exactly what is needed for the environment that you are in.

Just like proper framing is important for houses likewise it is important for decks. There are a number of ways to achieve proper framing which include installing ledgers and beams so as to pour concrete piers and cutting stair stringers. If you need some free advice regarding deck details you should approach your local building authorities.

5. The Deck Stairs

This part is usually used for decks so that you can have access off the deck into the yard. Most people even with limited knowledge know what stairs are and should be able to construct them without much effort. Depending on your style of deck some people choose to have one or two different sets of stairs off the deck into the surrounding yard. Some areas of the country like in my local area need at least three feet area to have the steps in place so also check with your building authority to see if you have a minimum for steps.

6. Completing the Deck

No matter what type of deck you have built having taking the time to build it means you probable want to keep it around for a while. So protect your new investment with a quality protective coating so it protects against the harsh rain or sun. Different types of wood used require different types of protections so make sure you check around on the best protection for the type of timber you are using so that you can enjoy your new deck for years to come.

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Myranda Grecinger from Rochester, MN on September 12, 2011:

Lol, great post, you make it sound so easy though, trust me, I would find a way to screw it up

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