A deck step is a simple but useful element of your wood or composite deck that not only adds a little bit of style, but also provides an efficient place for people to step up onto the deck from the ground. This is particularly convenient when the level difference between the ground and the deck is more than 3/4″.
Build a simple deck step by using a hammer and nails or screws to attach the slats of a stair tread to the stringers. When possible, choose pressure-treated lumber for durability and longevity in your deck. If you’re building with treated lumber, look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified woods; these will be labeled on the product label.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to build a basic deck step by step. We’ll also go over a couple of tips and tricks to make sure your project is safe and looks beautiful.
Know the lay of the land.
When you’re planning a deck, there are many factors to consider. In this section, we’ll talk about the most important one: where to put it.
The first thing to know is that decks need adequate support. Most decks are built on piers or posts because they can provide solid footing for your structure, but some types of decks like floating ones don’t have any kind of foundation at all. Keep in mind that whatever type of support you use should be strong enough to support the weight of people and materials being placed on them (if you’re building a deck over water such as an ocean or lake shoreline). Also make sure your property has room for what you want. The last thing anyone wants is an eyesore neighbor with no yard space left after putting up their new deck.
There are two things I ask myself every time I’m looking at property: 1) “Can I see my neighbors?” 2) “Can they see me?” If neither answer seems like a good fit then chances are nobody will be happy here no matter how beautiful those views might be.
Once you have a rough idea of the deck’s size and shape, you can begin to determine what materials will work best for your project.
When selecting wood for your deck, it’s important to remember that different woods have different characteristics and ranges of environmental conditions in which they will perform adequately. For example, cedar is a great choice for decks that are located in very damp climates and need to stay relatively dry at all times. However, cedar is not an ideal material if your deck will be exposed to lots of sunlight or extreme temperatures (either hot or cold). The same goes for other types of wood; each one has its own set of pros and cons depending on where you live and what kind of use the deck gets once it’s complete.
Level the ground.
The ground must be level before you build a deck. It’s also important to ensure that the sides of your deck are perfectly vertical, so use a laser level or spirit level to check your work as you go along.
If you’re working on concrete steps, lay down transparent plastic sheeting and cover them with sand or gravel so they won’t crack when wet. Use a shovel to scoop out an area for the footings, then dig those out with an edger tool until they’re about 1 foot deep and wide enough for their purpose (usually 24 inches).
Lay out the planters.
Lay out the planters. You will need to ensure that the planters are level, spaced evenly and at the right height and width. This can be done by using stakes (or any other equally sturdy object) to mark where you want your decking boards to go.
It is important that you mark out where each planter sits with enough space either side of it so that when you add soil and plants into them they will not overlap onto neighbouring planters or otherwise be too close together for their own good.
Lay out the concrete footers.
The concrete footers are the foundation for your deck and should be set at least 6″ below the frost line. The depth of each footer depends on the weight of your deck and its soil type, but it’s always a good idea to have them at least 8″ deep. If you’re building in an area with poor soil, such as rocky ground or clay, you can add more concrete to help keep the structure stable.
The best way to determine where each footing should go is by laying out your deck plan and marking what would be the center point of each support post. Then use stakes or flags to mark those spots so that when you’re digging holes for your concrete footings, they’ll be properly aligned with one another (and with any posts).
Place the deck frame.
Once the footings are in place, it’s time to build the deck frame.
First, use a framing square to ensure your frame is square and that all ends are at 90 degrees to each other. Then use a tape measure to double-check that your frames are the correct length and width. Finally, use a level to make sure that each side of every frame is level with both adjacent sides and ground level (this step will be especially important if you have uneven ground).
Once this is done, carefully hammer in nails into each end of every frame so they cannot move or shift as you work on building your deck supports (the posts). This will prevent potential injury from using an unstable structure when working overhead later on.
Install deck joists and cross-beams, and install supports between the beams if necessary.
Now that you have the decking material and lumber, you’re ready to install your joists and cross-beams. Joists are usually 2×6 or 2×8 pressure-treated boards that span between support posts. The ends of joists are attached to the underside of beams with joist hangers, which will be installed later. Cross-beams connect two sets of joists at right angles to each other.
It can be difficult to cut long boards accurately using a circular saw alone; it’s important that they are cut straight so they fit properly in their intended location on frame members without leaving gaps or projecting beyond their intended length.
To ensure accuracy when cutting large pieces such as decking material or lumber:
- Use digital calipers (or a tape measure) to measure the distance between two points on your piece before making any cuts in order to determine how much material needs trimming off its end; if using an analog tape measure, mark where these measurements should be made with chalk so there is no confusion about where exactly along its length you need to make sure those marks lie before moving onto step two below.
Lay down deck treads to finish your deck and cut them to size with a circular saw if necessary.
Using the same cutting method as for the deck boards, cut your treads to length and angle. If you’re using 5/4 x 6-inch lumber for your decking material, use a circular saw to cut the treads to their final dimensions. For example, if you want each tread in your new deck to be 2 feet long and 9 inches wide, measure it out with a tape measure. Then make sure that the blade on your circular saw is set at a 45-degree angle so that when it cuts through the board at an angle, it will remain straight and not be bent over at all (this could happen if you don’t follow this step). Finally, place one end of your board against something solid like a fence post or other large object so that its bottom edge hangs off evenly; then align one side edge of the board with where you want it cut and press down firmly so there’s no chance of slipping while operating your saw. Once everything looks good and secure in place—double check!—turn on your saw and begin cutting along this line until all four sides have been cut through fully without any jagged edges sticking out from where they’ve been chewed up by blades spinning around too fast toward soft wood like pine trees tend do when being chopped down into lumber
Decking makes a great DIY project for your backyard!
A deck is a great addition to your home. A deck can be used as a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors, entertain guests in your backyard, or spend time with family and friends. Here are some tips for building a simple, yet sturdy deck:
- Use pressure-treated lumber to prevent rot and bugs from eating away at it. Pressure treated lumber is available at most home improvement stores in the lumber section or near where they sell tools. You’ll want 2x8s or 2x10s depending on how big of a space you want your deck to cover (the bigger the area covered by each piece of wood). If you have any questions about what size boards work best for your project, ask an associate at the store who works there.
- Place all of your pieces on top of some sort of bench or platform so that when you build up your structure using these materials they stay level while working with them rather than sinking into soft dirt below which could cause problems later down road (like when walking around barefoot!). This can also help protect against termites getting into those areas too so make sure not only do we place everything up high enough off ground but also wide enough apart from each other so nothing gets underneath unless we want it too.
Building a deck is not difficult you just need to know the basics. Hopefully, this post has shown you how easy it can be. Now, go forth and start your project.