Build a Deck

Before you build a deck, you should become acquainted with the basics of deck construction and be familiar with a few building codes. This 10x10 deck tutorial is a great place to start.

This 10 x 10 deck tutorial is a seven step process that walks you through the design, framing, footing, decking, railing, stair, and stair railing phases of deck building. It will provide you with the information you need to design and build a deck that will be safe and long-lasting. Click on Deck Design (below) to get started.

Build a Deck - Seven Phases

Deck Design - The first, and probably the most important, phase of deck building. It covers some important things to consider before you begin designing the size, location and style of your deck...

Deck Framing - It is very important to frame your deck so that it is perfectly level and square. It is equally important to design the structure so that it will carry the weight of the people, plants, furniture, etc...

Deck Footings - The sizes of deck footings can vary considerably due to the building codes and soil conditions in your area.

Decking - Explore a few common species of wood decking, learn about the types of fasteners to use for attaching decking to a deck frame, and a simple procedure for installing wood decking.

Building Deck Stairs - If the top level of a deck is more than 10 inches above the ground, you will probably be building stairs for your deck. This page provides everything that you need to build deck stairs.

Deck Railing - Like deck footings, deck railing is also governed by local building codes. This section provides information on the railing height, spacing of pickets, and general deck railing construction.

Stair Railing - Building codes suggest that if your deck is 30" (762 mm) or more above the ground, stair railing is required for your deck stairs.

Building a deck can be very simple to relatively complex, depending on the size, shape and number of levels involved. A simple rectangular deck, where the surface is below 16 inches above the ground, would be an example of a simple inexpensive deck that you could probably build in a day or two. If you add height to it, where railing and stairs are required, you will need to research deck railing designs and how to build deck stairs.

I recently completed the construction of my own 500 square foot cedar deck - check out this article that describes the building process, from design to completion.

When I build a deck, I always start with the deck frame, not the foundation. First, I assemble the frame supported by temporary uprights. This is done so that, once I have the frame assembled, I can adjust it to make sure that it is square and level before securing it permanently in concrete. By the time you read through each of the tutorials, you will have a good idea of how to build a deck.

Get started now!  Go to build your own deck for details on how to build a 10 x 10 deck.

For deck design and structural information, check out the Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide, by the American Wood Council.

What next?

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How to cut and build stairs


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