Installing a deck is a straightforward and easy project that requires basic carpentry skills, so it’s perfect for any handy homeowner. With a little guidance, anyone can learn how to build a simple deck.
The easiest way to build a deck is to use a pressure-treated wood. The planning, materials list, and step-by-step instructions in this video tutorial show you how to build a simple deck using pressure-treated lumber.
You may need to boost your confidence level before you can build a simple deck, but the work is not that hard if you are willing and able to use the proper tools. You will also need all of the necessary materials and supplies, which can include containers for water, water-resistant gloves and safety goggles.
There are few home improvements more satisfying than building your own deck. But it can be a big undertaking, so we’ve broken down the process into manageable parts to make it as easy as possible. A typical deck is comprised of a ledger board on the house (the main beam attached to the house), a support beam or posts, plus joists and floorboards.
Sketch the Deck
Once you’ve decided to build a deck, the next step is to sketch it out. This will allow you to make sure that your design is level and square, as well as ensure that the size and shape of your deck are right for your space. You should also measure how tall it needs to be in order for people to use it comfortably.
Here’s what this process looks like:
- Draw out a rough sketch of your deck on paper (or just jot down some notes). Make sure all four sides are equal in length; otherwise, they won’t be able to form a square when placed together later on. Also mark where each corner post will go so that you know where to start building from there—this will help prevent any confusion later when laying out the foundation blocks or framing up wood boards around posts into place during construction.
Prepare the Ledger
The ledger is the vertical piece of wood that attaches the deck to your home. You’ll need to prepare it by cutting and attaching it, as well as securing it in place with nails or screws.
- Cut the ledger (the vertical piece of wood) to size using a circular saw or hand saw
- Attach the ledger using concrete screws, which are more durable than nails and can be used over a wider range of materials than nails can
- Attach steel post bases to each end of your joists, leaving an inch between each base so you can run a screw through them all at once for extra stability
- Place cinder blocks under each post base so that you have enough room for a hammer drill when installing them
Install the Ledger
The ledger board is the bottom horizontal piece of your deck and it supports the weight of your deck boards.
- Install the ledger board on top of your house: The ledger board’s long side should be aligned with the outer edge of your house so that it sits flush against a wall or foundation (or right up against a door or window if you want to build an entirely new structure). You can also install it perpendicular to an existing structure, such as an exterior wall or fence post.
- Install the ledger board on top of your deck: Just like installing it over a house, this process is about making sure that you have enough support for each individual piece within the entire system. If you’re going to install one end near ground level, make sure that this area doesn’t get too much moisture from rainwater runoff—this could cause issues down the road.
Measure and Mark Piers
You’ll want to make sure that the piers are spaced evenly along the deck. Generally, they should be at least four feet apart. If you’re building a 16-foot by 20-foot deck, for example, this means that there should be eight piers in total (four on each side). If you’re building a 12-foot by 18-foot deck, there should be six piers (three on each side). You may also choose to space them further apart if necessary for larger or more elaborate designs—but this is usually unnecessary unless you’re having trouble finding enough room for all of your supports.
Most people tend to use 8×8 posts for their decks; however there are other options available such as 6×6 or 6×12 posts depending on how large and sturdy you need each post to be in order to support whatever materials will rest on top of it without giving way under pressure from weight loadings over time due lackadaisical upkeep practices as well as environmental factors like soil erosion caused by rainstorms during heavy downpours which could cause improper drainage systems underneath foundations resulting into flooding issues when water levels rise too high while flooding occurs simultaneously inside basements after rains fall heavily during springtime months causing overflow problems throughout homes causing sewage backups into bathrooms where toilets overflow onto floors leading consumers who purchased homes built using cheap materials instead opting out purchasing better quality ones which would’ve cost less money upfront but would require more maintenance at later times due lackadaisical upkeep practices by owners who did not know how important maintenance was until after buying these cheaper versions first time around
Dig Holes and Pour Footings
You’ll need to dig holes and pour footings. Footings are the concrete bases for your deck posts. If you’re building a small, simple deck with 4×4 posts, then you only need to dig 3 feet down into the ground (however, we recommend digging down at least 8 inches). The footing should be at least 12 inches wide and 8 inches deep; it should also be level and flat so that it doesn’t wobble when it’s loaded up with your future patio furniture.
If you’re going to use 6×6 posts instead of 4x4s, then you may need to dig deeper into the ground—at least six feet down—and your footings will have to span more area than usual (about 24 inches).
The next step is making sure that everything lines up properly! Check that all of your string lines are level before pouring any concrete or setting any forms in place; this is something that can easily go wrong if not done right away but will cause major headaches later on.
Fasten Posts to Beams
This step is fairly simple. Make sure the post is straight and then use a drill to attach it to the beam. If you don’t have a power drill, you can also use a hammer and nails.
Once both posts are attached, measure from one side of your decking board to another. This distance should be equal on all sides of your square or rectangular deck (if you are doing a free-form shape like me). Then, use an electric hand saw to cut down any pieces that are too long or too short.
Lay the Beams
Lay the beams. Once you have determined the location of your beams, use a level to ensure they are straight. Mark each beam with a chalk line so you know where to drill holes for the deck screws.
Once you have marked each beam, pre-drill holes using a 3/16″ drill bit and then place the beam in place on top of ledger and screw it into place with 1 1/4″ deck screws.
Add Anchor Bolts to the Pier Blocks.
Now that your pier blocks are in place, it’s time to add the posts. The first step is to secure each post with anchor bolts. Use a hammer drill (or manual drill if you don’t have one) to drill holes into the sides of your pier blocks at the same height as where you want your posts to be—this will ensure that they fit tightly against each block without moving around when you attach them by hand.
Once all of your holes are drilled and every bolt has been attached, use a level and plumb line to make sure everything is level and plumb before driving in any screws or nails. This means making sure that both sides of both posts are even on top so they sit straight up without being skewed off-center due to uneven ground beneath them.
Mark and Attach Joist Support Posts.
After you have marked your joist support posts on the ledger board, use a carpenter’s square to mark cutting lines. Make sure that the top of each joist support post is level with the top of the ledger board.
Using a power drill with an 11/4-inch masonry bit, drill holes in each joist support post at least 1 inch away from its ends and at least 1 inch into the wood. Next, tap anchor bolts through these holes until they are flush or slightly below surface level. Repeat this process for all four joist support posts at each corner of your deck frame (make sure you use enough anchors).
Attach 2×6 pressure-treated lumber blocking between inner joists and rim joists using 5-inch lag screws (remember: pre-drill before attaching). Do not attach blocking between inner and outer joists yet; this will be done after all framing is complete, which we will discuss next.
Attach Rim Joists.
Attach the rim joists to the ledger and to the deck. Attach a 1×2 blocking across the ends of each rim joist. Make sure that your ledger is level, and attach it directly to a house wall or other structure with long screws inserted through lag shield plates.
Attach rim joists to support posts using 16d nails or screws (or both). Attach one end of each rim joist to a support post, then secure them together with 1x2s nailed into place on both sides. Use two braces per joint if using 16d nails; use three braces per joint if using screws alone, or four braces if using both methods of fastening together materials at once
Attach Inner Joists and Blocking.
Attach Inner Joists and Blocking
You’ll need to connect the inner joists to the rim joists. Since you’re building a square deck, this will be easy. Attach 2-by-8s to the inside of your rim joists. Then attach 1-by-10s or 2x6s to that by driving screws through them into the inner joist (these boards should be just shy of 8 inches wide).
Once you’ve secured your inner joist on both sides, it’s time for you to start attaching them together by nailing them in place with 16d nails about every foot or so. You can use a tape measure and level if necessary as you go along making sure everything lines up perfectly straight with each piece added onto another one before moving forward from there.
Secure Support Posts to Concrete Footings.
After the concrete footings have cured, you can start installing your support posts. Use a level to make sure each post is straight and square, then measure from the top of your footing to the ground. Make sure you have enough room for decking material before marking where to place your first support post.
Once you’ve placed the first support post at its designated location, use a mallet to pound an anchor bolt into each pier until it’s flush with the top surface of the concrete footing (see picture). Be careful not to over-tighten these bolts; they should be tight enough that you can’t remove them with your hand, but not so tight that they bend or break off when you try to loosen them later on.
Next step: After making sure all four anchor bolts are fully inserted and tightened down on their own threads (don’t worry about aligning them yet), attach all four braces together using lag screws made specifically for this purpose–these screws should come packaged with whatever type of brace system you choose (see picture). These braces help keep everything aligned throughout construction so there won’t be any unnecessary movement or shifting when finished building this project
Building a simple deck is one of those DIY projects that is absolutely worth doing yourself.
Building a simple deck is one of those DIY projects that is absolutely worth doing yourself. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of building something useful and beautiful. A deck makes a great place to relax and unwind after a long day, so it’s also a good idea to plan your build around other major home improvements like landscaping or adding new windows.
Once we’ve finished our discussion on how to build a simple deck, I’ll show you some ideas for decorating your space so that it looks amazing even if there isn’t time to paint over the old wood stain color that came with your kit.
If you’re hesitant about building a deck for fear of the work involved, we hope this blog has taken away some of your anxiety. A deck is a valuable addition to any home, but it doesn’t have to be an intimidating one! Follow the steps above and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your own little piece of heaven in no time.