Deck Building: Basic Skills & How Tos

roll up sod

Compared with many home remodeling projects, deck building is easy and enjoyable. It is outdoor work, involves basic materials and carpentry skills, and won't disrupt everyday home life as other remodeling projects can. It's not a problem to leave the work half finished and pick up where you left off several days later.

Projects in How To

There also are critical steps that precede construction. If you haven't done so already, you should make a construction schedule that lists and organizes all the tasks you have to complete. Make sure you include everything. At a minimum your list should look something like this:
- Research and decide on materials

- Conduct site analysis and determine deck location

- Draw plans and elevations

- Estimate material quantities and costs; develop budget

- Apply for building permit and schedule inspections as required

- Modify plan if necessary to meet code; resubmit permit application

- Order materials

- Grade site and install drainage lines

- Organize materials and set up on-site workstation

- Strip sod and prepare site

- Attach ledger

- Set batterboards and lay out site

- Locate, dig, and pour footings

- Set anchors and posts

- Install beams and joists

- Lay decking

- Build railings and stairs

- Apply deck finish

- Throw deck party

Once you've made your list, jot down the names of prospective helpers and add expected completion dates. Note any plans you have for contingencies, such as weather delays. And familiarize yourself with how a deck is constructed.

When you get started, complete each task before beginning the next one. When you finish each day's work put everything away, even if your neighborhood is safe and the forecast promises sunny, bright weather for the next two months. Keeping the project site orderly lets you get right to work the next time without having to hunt for materials or tools.

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