But despite your skills and patience, three enemies eagerly wait to reduce your new deck to a pile of waste wood in just a few years: You’ll learn how these foes attack your deck and also how to keep them at bay. Beams made from stronger wood can often be smaller. Use one fastener per post as these are just temporary. Deck surfaces exposed to direct sun and rain take a terrific beating. Normally, if you need 1 cubic yard or more, it’s easier and faster to buy ready-mixed concrete, and invite (or bribe!) Attach the post anchors to the deck footings using a hammer drill designed for heavy-duty work. Do they feel solidly connected to the framework when you push on them? On this point, redwood and cedar usually have the edge on pressure-treated wood. Basic steps for building a raised deck (the TL;DR version) Foundation. In these kinds of page, we likewise have variety of images available. Note any unusual features and potential problems. Use 2x4s or larger lumber for guardrail. Most cities, towns, and neighborhoods require building permits for building a deck above ground. Use 3/8-in. When you dive into your next deck project, plan to stop these enemies right from the start, and you’ll keep your deck healthy for a long, long time. Check for level, and then temporarily secure it with a 2-by-4-inch post set on the ground. These take longer to dry after the treatment process, so treatment facilities often ship them out before they’re dry. The metal post/beam cap shown in Fig. Let your imagination run. Remember, you can always add another beam to support the joists mid-span if you need to. Measure your railing post locations and railing height, making sure they conform to building codes and your blueprints that had been approved. A detached deck is a low deck that is not attached to the side of the house. Carriage bolts look neater when the head must be visible, but at times they slip while tightening, so you can’t draw them up firmly. your deck nears completion. Fungus spreads in the form of thousands of microscopic spores that float through the air. Think of your deck as a rigid platform set across two or more very strong parallel beams. Its structure remains rigid and doesn’t sway as kids run across it. Is the site directly accessible to the truck? Four footings are common for a typical deck. It’s worth double-checking them before you pour the concrete in case you need to reposition them. Fungus needs moisture to grow, so rot won’t occur in any type of wood if the wood can dry out easily after rainstorms. 5A. These free deck plans will help you build the deck of your dreams. If you have to use them while they’re still wet, be sure to observe the safety precautions below. lower than the door’s sill, so you won’t have an awkward step as you go out the door. Plan for a 12-inch width for each footing and 48 inches deep to get below frost lines. A raised decking doesn’t have to be attached to your house; it can work well as a feature around a tree, in a suntrap, or to elevate a hot tub at the bottom of your garden. Attach a 2-by-8-inch ledger board perpendicular to the house. Burning the scraps can release the toxic chemical as fumes. Let the boards extend beyond the edge of the deck. high and so that a 6-in. The longevity of pressure-treated wood plus its lower cost (20 to 50 percent less than cedar or redwood, depending on your region) make it an excellent choice for most deck projects You can even bury properly treated posts without worrying about them disintegrating. The other beam, called a “ledger,” is bolted to the rim joist (or wall studs) of the house. section of concrete, called the “footing,” must rest on undisturbed soil (disturbed soil compresses too easily), have a flat bottom to transfer weight evenly, and be completely below your local frost line. In fact, in most regions the local building inspector will insist on this, and a few other structural guide lines, too. Count every board and bolt. Finally. Good footing holes have vertical sides or slope inward toward the top. You can cut them all off evenly after nailing them all down. In other cases, such as stuccoed houses, many builders prefer to build a freestanding deck to avoid the mess and difficulty of cutting and flashing stucco. It lasts the longest too. Next, tack the ledger in place temporarily with 16d nails, then level and lag bolt it permanently, spacing the bolts about every 16 in. Don’t panic here; your building inspector’s job is to make sure you build a solid, safe deck. You might need: To prepare and square the site. If you’re considering building your own raised deck, it’s best to do your research to formulate a plan to build your deck and get years of enjoyment from it. All work well. Some decks can't be attached directly to the house using ledger boards because of a house cantilever or a brick veneer. There are many other additions you can make to your deck: benches, planters, a stairway. They soon wear off high-traffic areas and weather away from areas exposed to direct sun and rain. The yard personnel can be very helpful. The beam, here consisting of two 2x10s, must be strong enough to support the weight of the deck, plus the weight of all the activity that takes place in it. The single most-important framing member is the ledger board. Confidence is the key. Beam sizes in this table are based on the strength of Ponderosa pine, a relatively weak species. Except for very low decks, it’s a good idea to stiffen your posts and beams with diagonal braces to prevent deck swaying (Fig. Make clean joints by cutting boards off perfectly square and butting them together over the center of a joist. Lay the first row perpendicular to the joists at the ledger beam (or along the side of the house) and install them with deck screws. You can choose a stair design that goes straight to the ground or that turns at 90 degrees, depending on what works best for your own backyard and home structure. That’s to keep it from sinking or lilting and throwing your deck askew. Are there enough of them, at least one every 6 ft.? Using bags of concrete you’d purchased when you were gathering your materials, you can premix the concrete using a small cement mixer (that you can rent) or mix the appropriate amount in a wheelbarrow. Plan the deck to ensure the fall of the frame is 1:100 and running away from the house; this will aid water run-off and will help to stop the deck from becoming slippery. It sits atop the 4x4 posts. Rails that pass over the tops of the posts are strongest and easiest to fasten. 6). The ends of boards and joints are common trouble spots. The result is a shabby deck. How long will it take? A named steel cap (A) is strongest. Generally, steel connectors, available from lumberyards and home centers, are the strongest. This wood costs 10 to 20 percent more but often comes with a lifetime guarantee. Install the ledger first, and slip proper flashing to stop rot. Predrill nail holes near board ends to avoid splitting, Make these slightly smaller than the diameter of the nail passing through them. If you are looking for building a raised deck attached to house you have come to the right place. Not so easy, but no less important, is to cut a groove for the flashing. Whether you place the deck by a water feature, within the garden, far from the house, or near the house, a detached deck helps create a world all its own. Put scraps in the trash instead. A well-built deck: an attractive, permanent addition to your home. Building the deck close to the ground helps keeps the “wobble” out of the completed structure. Install the ledger first, especially if you have a door opening onto the deck. So attach the posts securely to the joists with bolts (Fig. As with beams, joist size depends on the weight to be supported, the length the joists have to span and their wood type. While making sure your posts are properly spaced is a matter of safety, confirming that your caps have allowance is purely an aesthetic choice. If your 4x4 deck support posts extend above the beams (as in Figs 5B and 5C). What Is a Detached Deck? ), a 2x6 spans 8 ft. a 2x8 spans 10 ft., and a 2x10 spans 12 ft. But other types of fungus will destroy the wood fiber and weaken your deck’s structure. The connections in Fig. A down to one 2x8 in Fig. Go out to your proposed deck site and with a tape measure, figure out the rough dimensions: length, width, height. Now that you’ve laid your foundation (literally), here’s where your above-ground deck really begins to come together and resemble the deck of you’ve dreamed of. to 6 in. To correctly size a beam, consider these three factors: For most decks, two 2x10s nailed together will be strong enough if you support them with posts every 6 ft. D). If your house was built since the mid 1990s, there is a chance that the floor system is constructed with a MWJ (Manufactured Wood Joist) floor system. Some of the items are necessary for more than one stage of the project, so do check the steps thoroughly for the tools and equipment needed. The beauty of a ground level deck lies within its simplicity. Because they form a thinner coat than paint, sealers and stains usually last only a few years. It acts as an extension of your indoor space, taking the excitement or relaxation right outside where you can enjoy the fresh air and scenic views. Both spread the deck weight over the entire end of the post, and so stress the wood fibers least. You can review images online to choose a design and talk with specialists at a building supply store for input. A water repellent simply keeps the water out.). Make sure your posts are perfectly vertical with a level, then bolt on 2x4 or 2x6 braces between the posts and beams at a 45-degree angle. A ledger board attaches the deck to the home, and is the most important connection for the deck. Lay the three common decking boards — 2x6, 2x4 and 5/4x6 — bark side up for better drainage. 2A that make this detail unacceptable: Should you mix your own concrete or buy ready-mixed from a truck? If you’re working with a contractor, you’ll want to be able to submit blueprints for the deck to have on file to make sure that your deck conforms to safety regulations, as well as local building codes. They’ll review your plan, help size beams and joists, check the railing and generally be a good source of technical information. Predrill the screw holes and use longer bolts if necessary. Predrill holes to mid splitting ends. The foundation shoulders all the weight of the deck and people on it, so it should be strong. Inspect the boards to make sure they’re dry. or o.c. Other designs, like the one in Fig. A stringer is the wide board that supports the stair treads on either side and runs at an angle. Fill out the details, using other decks for examples. Explain your plan, listen for new ideas and techniques, and go out into the yard and chock the wood. In such cases use machine bolts, because you can steady their heads with a wrench. Pressure-treated wood lasts longer — almost indefinitely, no matter what species of wood is used. You can choose from either of the two beam sizes shown there, either three 2x8s or two 2x10s nailed together. Next, you’ll dig holes for the footings, assemble the footings and pier forms, and raise posts over the piers. Thanks to an uphill slope at the rear of the house, the deck surface was only 5 feet high next to the house but closer to 3-1/2 feet on the far end. some neighbors to help you dump it quickly. Nail the first board alongside, but not touching, the house, driving two 16d galvanized nails at each joist. The preservative permanently bonds with the wood only when it dries. Building a deck frame is satisfying work and tolerant of minor errors — perfect for the determined DIYer. One of the realities of any deck project is that it will settle over time. If this is your first DIY project, you might not be attempting an ambitious patterned inlay. How To Square A Deck For Your House Using 3-4-5 Technique. To build a deck, first you’ll need to nail joist hangers in place on a ledger board and attach the board to your house. Although it’s acceptable, setting the posts directly into the ground (Fig. This is because soil eventually shifts, compresses and otherwise moves with Mother Nature. Many deck builders don’t like the green color or knotty appearance of treated wood. make the finished deck 1/2 in. You’ve completed the main structural work. If you’re going the DIY route, several free apps can help you generate blueprints to take to your building office when applying for permits. Now just follow Tom’s tips and build your own backyard oasis. Make them strong and fasten them securely. Like a childhood Erector set, its exposed structure reveals how all the pieces fit together, from the bottom up. Proper flashing stops rot. Then slip aluminum flashing up under the siding and against the sheathing later you’ll bend the flashing over the top of the ledger to keep water from collecting against the house and causing rot. In general, your deck will feel firmer if you space your posts no more than 6 in. But always ask your building inspector to confirm your design in advance. 2B) like fence posts invites eventual rot. We would advise that you plan your deck to fit only whole deck boards, to avoid having to cut a deck board lengthways to fill a gap. 4). Homeowners can no longer buy powerful commercial preservatives, so this method won’t make your wood as rot resistant as pressure-treated wood. Moreover, stains come in many colors, so you can blend your deck into the color scheme of your home. 3 is strongest, along with the one shown in Fig. Fixing: Use lag screws, hex head bolts and washers. Widen and flatten the bottoms to get a wide support base. When your post spacing reaches about 10 ft., the beams get big and heavy, sometimes four 2x8s, three 2x10s or larger. You can dig the footings by hand or rent a power auger to make the process easier. 2. (Wear rubber gloves when you work with preservative to keep it off your skin.). Notice that the bottom 6-in. First, the metal connector is a good one, but it won’t last long because water can easily puddle around it and rust it. Measure, measure, and measure again to ensure your deck is good and level. 3 from two 2x10s spiked together with 16d galvanized nails. Dunk the critical ends of posts and other lumber into a bucket of wood preservative (formulated to resist fungus) for an hour or even a day to let as much preservative as possible soak into the wood. For a full list of items you may need and quantities of each, check out our calculators to put together your shopping list. Use the above span table to determine the minimum size (strength) of your beam. If building a low-level deck that is connected to posts set within the framing, attach the rim joist to the posts using galvanized 10D common nails, or 3-inch galvanized screws. Be sure the ledger board is attached properly, using bolts -- not screws. You’ve already put in a lot of hard work on your deck, so it’s important to be sure it looks its best to give you a return on your investment! 9 below). deep groove with a corundum (not carbide) blade on your circular saw. They’re also much harder to replace should rot occur. Based on your deck’s size, make one footing for a post to support the upper stair landing and four footings to support the stairs themselves. Second, the concrete foundation widens toward the top, inviting frost to catch its sides and heave it upward. It lasts the longest too. This list includes everything you will need to build a raised deck. They also require wider posts, 4x6s or 4x8s, to rest on. Keeping an eye on that structure, you will understand the entire deck-building process. Once the concrete hardens, you’re ready to build. However, staggering the adjacent rows of decking is a simple way for even DIY beginners to achieve the most aesthetically pleasing pattern for their deck, resulting in a polished look. It must be installed 3 inches lower than at the floor inside the house. Lay out the post and foundation locations. With a little bit of know-how and some hard work, you'll be sitting out on a deck that you built yourself. Cut posts using your ledger as a height reference. Respect their time. Don’t skimp in your rail design. Even in this example, you could reduce the beam size from two 2x10s in Fig. Wear goggles when cutting it to keep sawdust away from your eyes. You can also look to several free apps and online programs to help you design your deck according to your exact specifications and ideas you have in mind. To solve the problem caused by wetting/drying cycles. With materials list and plan in hand, visit your favorite lumberyard to get an estimate for the cost of materials. But they won‘t feel safe. Now add the platform. The 2x8 block behind the post adds strength. If they find enough moisture, the spores that settle on your freshly built deck will root and grow, slowly dissolving the wood fiber. Plumb your posts, keeping them straight and then install the landing framing. How to Jack Up a Deck. Use 10d galvanized casing nails on the edges of the 2x4 and 2-in. Posts, beams, ledgers, and joists support the deck’s weight. 7 shows proper nailing technique and several types of decking. Figs. The staff at your local home supply store can share recommendations to help you stay within your allotted budget. If it bends too much, your deck will feel unstable underfoot. Just insert 3/8-in. In addition, for posts use rot-resistant wood like pressure-treated (a .40-lb. Print Version. Use string to outline the raised deck footings. An above-ground deck works especially well for those living in elevated homes that are closer to sea level or in a flood zone, as well as for homes that have a backyard with a steep incline. Bear this in mind when checking the levels throughout the build. higher so water will run off. For the pictured project, the pieces are spaced ¼-inch apart. Good quality treated lumber will contain no more than a trace of heartwood, the darker center of a tree. Figs. Preservative chemicals often won’t penetrate heartwood, so it can quickly rot. So don’t buy boards that seem waterlogged or unusually heavy. 0n custom projects even the professionals do this. Neither of these forms a skin on the wood surface that can peel. The guardrail feels firm, too, so you can lean against it confidently. But if the prospect of building a full-scale attached deck feels daunting, consider an easier alternative: building a detached deck. Joist hangers will strengthen the load-bearing weight of your deck. UPDATE: I added a span table below referencing minimum beam sizes in the section Avoid Common Deck-Building Mistakes. Chock magazines and books for ideas. Pull out a pad of paper and a pencil, and sketch the deck you'd like to add to your home. Your budget will also play a role in the type of materials to choose, the size of your deck, and what types of add-ons you may want to consider. Clear, skin-forming finishes like varnish and polyurethane also protect well but don’t last long. Finally, give yourself plenty of time to complete the dock. But your deck will feel more solid if you limit your joist span to 8 ft. Undersized beams also make a deck feel soft underfoot and bounce rather than remaining rigid. Add your measurements to a more detailed sketch. So $$$ will dictate that a builder wouldn't attach to your house if it were their choice - especially if they are subcontracting it out. Leave a 1/8-in. Go ahead and discuss your ideas in detail. You can review images online to choose a design and talk with specialists at a building supply store for input. And it needs to be accurate. C). 10 galvanized screws beneath, as shown. And year after year it serves you well, virtually maintenance-free, a good investment for your home. Just jot those ideas down. BestLife52 is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.ca. Building An Elevated Deck: Step-By-Step Step 1: Design Your Raised Deck. The deck guide will also allow you to align the spaces for pre-drilling holes. When the lumber comes, you're ready to go. Again, always confirm your joist size with your building inspector. You don’t have to treat the entire deck, only the vulnerable areas (Fig. Example B is acceptable, but will rot sooner than the others. I have helped put up 5-6 decks, always used a ledger and never heard anyone have water issues. Budget factors to consider include how big you want your deck to be and the type of lumber you’ll use. Once the concrete has been cured, brace the posts for stability, adding beams or rim joists. You can even chat with neighbors who have built similar structures and understand some of the limitations of the particular terrain or geography within your neighborhood. Avoid Saturdays, when they're likely to be most busy. After finding the ledger height, remove the siding to about 1 in. Decks often fail because their beams aren‘t strong enough. Wherever you choose to build it, a raised deck adds extra entertaining space to your garden. Depending on building codes in your jurisdiction, you may be required to get a permit to build a raised deck of a certain height. And boards warp. Unfortunately, though, repainting a deck is difficult once the first coat peels, because you have to scrape and sand the wood to prepare for a new coat. Ask another person to help lift and hold it in place.) They, like the wood posts themselves, should be set at least 6 in. Some guardrail post designs might fail some of these tests and still meet technical requirements. Getting corners square when building a deck is quite challenging. from region to region. The surface fungus that causes the color change is a mold that really does no significant damage. Continual moisture from ground contact rusts steel and rots wood posts faster, so avoid that situation if you can. The extra strength not only adds a greater safety margin and longevity, it also makes the deck feel more solid. Attaching a ledger board improperly can lead to a structural deck failure. 5B and 5C also show two kinds of bolts —— smooth-head carriage bolts and hexagonal-head machine bolts. It’s also most visible, so select your best-looking material for it. By clicking GO!, you acknowledge that you have read Trex's Privacy Policy. 6). Similarly, some apps can help you better anticipate just how much you’ll need to set aside to build your deck. In order to be compliant with building codes and safety regulations, stairs need guardrails with handrails. For more protection or when the stain doesn’t contain a water repellent, apply a clear sealer (or other water repellent) first. With your ledger in place, you can use it as a height reference for the other beam. It’s time to lay the decking. Simply add more posts (Fig. The size you need will depend on the size of your deck. There are different sizes for different size lumber. Your deck will not feel right until you’re sure your railing is strong. apart. You’ll need to recoat your deck as soon as you notice water drops soaking into the wood rather than “beading” and remaining on the surface. If you’re planning to cap your posts, be sure to allow extra room for the caps. 3). Wash your hands after working with it, and don’t burn leftover scraps. As a sign of quality, look for the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) stamp or a lifetime guarantee on each board. Building inspectors have found that many homeowners, designing by “rules of thumb,” make beams too small. With 2½-inch deck screws, attach the beams to the frame. Keep it at your side as you plan, design, and complete your own. They’ll want to know specifics like the size, height, and type of lumber to determine if it meets safety regulations. on center (from the center of one to the center of the next. The most damaging weapon nature uses to attack your deck is virtually invisible — rot-causing fungus. You’ll see it happen as your deck “weathers” to a silver gray in a few years. This will take approximately 48 hours. Paint is the best repellent because it forms a protective skin over the wood. Then, you’ll have to cut the beam that will go opposite the ledger board to the same length, and attach corresponding joist hangers. Plans are necessary in order to get a permit, and most municipalities will want details, such as the type of wood you plan to use, the height of the rails and how you plan to place the required rails on stairs. Building A Ground Level Step-By-Step. This is a horizontal piece of lumber that attaches to an existing wall of your home to provide deck stability. With most of the parts in place, it’s time to start connecting each of them to one another. Usually 4x4 posts spaced every 6 in. Before you break ground and start laying the foundation for a deck you’ll enjoy for years to come, weigh the various factors involved in building your deck and how it can impact your options. 6), nailing it securely to each joist with galvanized 16d nails, three nails per 2x6, four per 2x8, five per 2x10, etc. If you prefer to use redwood or cedar, you can make them last longer by treating them with a chemical preservative yourself. 3). From experience, I never hesitate to increase the strength of deck beams by one lumber size, unless it makes the design look bad. Pressure treatment is a process that forces chemicals that are toxic to fungus (termites, too) virtually throughout the wood fiber of your lumber. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noHSYBauPzk | Easy DIY tips for small home deck building. You will sense it every time you step out on your deck listen. Pour concrete. You might need: To prepare and square the site. When we talk about a deck being attached, we don’t mean that it’s literally attached directly to your house’s exterior wall. A “.40” rating should be stamped right on the board, which means it contains .40 pounds of preservative per cubic foot of wood. The minimum height is 34 inches. Gaps appear at joints. provide enough support when they rest on a good base. You might have trouble finding dry 4x4s and larger timbers. Did you bolt your rail posts to the joists or beam? Most contain a section on layout; or ask someone who understands layout principles to help you check your work. Examine the foundation details in Fig. The top rail should be the strongest, a 2x4 at minimum. We’ll walk you through step-by-step directions for how to build a platform deck that isn’t attached to the house and uses a simple foundation. Click to explore images of raised and elevated decks. 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Deck guide will also allow you to align the spaces for pre-drilling holes brown stain the base the. General, your best bet is to attach a ledger board perpendicular to the ground to help build. Or redwood for the other beam used two 2x8s rather than remaining rigid a concrete pad for the American Protection... ( from the house DR version ) foundation “ weathers ” to a silver in... And chock the wood surface that can peel sometimes when you work with to. To pour a concrete foundation ( Fig it is at least one every 6 ft. click to images! Square when building a full-scale attached deck feels daunting, consider an easier alternative: building a,... Plan in hand, visit your favorite lumberyard to get an estimate the. Out the rough dimensions: length, width, height, and joists support deck’s... Questions: bolt rail posts to concrete the edges of the joists mid-span you... S a rewarding process proper flashing to stop rot ) foundation cedar decks, too cutting it to concrete yourself. Top rail should be the strongest step on footsteps on the wood fibers least reference for caps!