How Deck Construction Can Get Complicated

Imagine this – you and your family are having a grand time in your backyard in the summer time on your newly constructed lounging deck, sipping cold drinks while having […]

Imagine this – you and your family are having a grand time in your backyard in the summer time on your newly constructed lounging deck, sipping cold drinks while having little chit-chats with your kids and spouse. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?  Well that idea isn’t going to build itself so let’s get started.

So now you made up your mind that the project for this year is to build your own outdoor deck. But where do you start?

Do it yourself or DIY construction of an outdoor deck depends on three things:

  1. The design that you want;
  2. The availability of the tools and equipment needed;
  3. Your construction skill level.

Let’s go for the basic. But basic does not literally mean ordinary, at least for the construction of decks, that is. Squared ground level decks are easy to construct. Here are some points that you might consider before you get started:

Each state is a little different but each code specification is designed to make sure the homeowner and visitors are safe. Did you know that almost every area has a particular regulation? Please look for your town decking codes before you start to build your deck.

All safety regulations are in place not only on the deck but the railing, footing and even the steps that are attached to the deck. You must have permits ready in hand before you can begin a deck installation project. Knowing what is allowed and what is not will save you time and money in the long run, as fines will be given if your deck is not to code.

NOTE: Some specifications are applied to height. The desirable height for deck railings has a range between 32″ and 48″. This may seems very high but you are dealing with your safety above all. Some regulations are applied to balusters. Generally space between the balusters in most areas is max 3.5″ and is measured with a 3” ball. Some residential codes are applied for the deck railings around pool decking, those codes are restricted to the residential area where you live and many times they have nothing in common.

After the permits are in order, the next important decision to make is the location. The most popular choice is to position your deck off the back door of your home, although it isn’t the only option. Decks can be also be free standing or extend from another room in your house.

After determining where to place your deck the next important decision will be the size of the deck. Not only does it determine the cost of the deck but it will be used to determine how much room is needed. Before we can say we are finished with the planning process there is one more thing to consider. How you are getting on and off the deck? Is it simply an access through the house or do you have a backyard you’d like to get to as well. Do you need steps, ramps or gates? Again all this determines the price but will help in the initial design phase and help rid a lot of headaches.

Let’s move on. Now we need material. Depending on your personal preference, you can opt to use composite or vinyl boards to build your deck. Both options present different features, you just have to decide which one would work better for you. When deciding which decking material to go for, consider the overall quality, durability, and wear of your options. This will determine the satisfaction you will get from your deck in the long run. We have several blog articles on different material pros and cons available at, make sure you do all of your homework before rushing into buying the material. Again the cost will change depending on material and the level of difficulty may as well.

Once we have chosen what material to use, it’s now time to install the posts or piers ahead of time to allow the cement curing to take place. You can have this done like a week before you assemble the frame of the deck. Check out and for more information on joists and framing.

Don’t forget to do your math before you start. Calculations and mathematics are highly involved in this process, so might as well do your math ahead of time. Some of the calculations will involve computing for the distance between railing posts, the spacing between the beams and joists, and the design of the stringers. Please be advised that miscalculations will not only result to waste of time, but also waste of money and resources as well.

Next is adding the material, this is probably the simplest step. Once you have the first board started the rest will fall into place. You can use for instructional PDFs or watch our videos on our blog to get started.

What you have read is just some of the simple tips on how to attain that dream outdoor deck of yours. The process may sound easy, but a plausible design, accurate math calculations, awareness of your area’s building codes, and gathering the appropriate materials and tools will definitely foster quick installation. You may even ask your friends to come over and ask them to give extra sets of hands. However, you may need to consider your budget and your skill level before you things started. Happy building!


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