Decks are an ideal way to relax and enjoy the great outdoors without leaving the comfort of your home. They’re great for grilling, sitting around the fire, hanging out with friends, or even pitching a canvas tent from Davis using the deck as a platform. Whatever ideas you have in mind for your potential deck, you may not have considered that you could build it on your own, but I’m here to tell you that this is very much possible, and can save on your wallet. 

So, how does one build a deck? It involves a simple set of steps, of course you’ll want to do a bit more research before actually diving in and building, but this quick outline should give you an idea of the process. 

Planning and Layout

The first thing you’ll want to do is of course to have a deck construction plan. You could look at existing deck plans, or you could come up with your own, depending on the unique structure of your house, and landscape on which the deck will be built. You’ll also want to consider the design of the deck itself, of course, what purpose it will serve, and what materials you’ll want to use. 

This process will involve checking with your local building department, HOA, or state regulators, to be sure that everything you plan to do is “up to code.” You’ll also need to find out about any underground utility lines that may be present, which you can do by calling 811. As far as materials, you’ll want to primarily use either pressure-treated lumber, or one of various composite materials designed for outdoor construction. 

Lastly, when everything else is figured out, you’ll want to mark the layout, perhaps with strings, stakes, or batter boards, or by spraying painted dots on the ground. Check out this page for more details on deck construction preparation. 

Structure and Framing

Your deck will rest on posts for footing, and those posts will need post-holes. You can read all about digging post holes for decks here. It involves digging out the holes, and setting them with concrete. Then, you’ll set the posts to the concrete footing, using brackets, making sure they’re plumb (straight up). 

Next you’ll place beams across the posts, attached with more brackets. You’ll also need to water-proof the tops of the beams, and put diagonal bracing between them, for structural integrity. 

Apply Decking and Railing

“Decking” is what you would consider to be the main floor of the deck, the flat horizontal boards you stand and walk on. As you might expect, you’ll be laying them across the beams you just installed, and attaching them with decking screws. You will also likely be required to do some cutting and jigsawing to get the boards to fit your design, unless you already had them cut exactly per the design, by a professional.  

Deck railing will be attached via railing posts, which are affixed to the beams along the perimeter of the deck. These railing posts will be the primary structural support for the railing, which will then be completed by adding the smaller boards for the balusters and rail tops.

You can also use composite material for decking and railing, which has a slightly different process. Many composite decking boards, for instance, lock together with notches and grooves. 

Stairs and Stair Railing

Stairs are one of the more complicated parts of the deck construction process, and require a bit more measurement and math. It’s common to use treated lumber for the structure, and then to use composite boards for the stair surfaces. One of the first things you’ll need to do is install some type of landing for the stairs (where the bottom of the stars will rest), which is often a concrete pad, or even footers like the ones you used beneath the deck itself. 

You’ll need to use a framing square and stair gauges to create the stringers (diagonal stair beams). Step surfaces can be treated wood or composite, and railings will require posts and then smaller boards for the balusters and rail tops. Materials and methods of installation are similar to the deck itself, for the stairs. 

Finishing Touches

There’s practically no limit to the ways you can upgrade or add a bit of personality to your deck, once the essentials are completed. You can add built-in lighting at various points, attached or detached deck benches, a fire-pit or outdoor fireplace, a gazebo, skirting to cover the space beneath the deck, and of course a walled luxury deck tent from Davis, for hanging out no matter the weather.