Tips For Building The Perfect Deck

  • Added:
    Jul 17, 2013
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Tips For Building The Perfect Deck Photo by Ron Dawson

Decks are just awesome! If you've never owned a deck, then there is no explaining the enjoyment one gets from sitting outside and just taking it all in on your deck. Recently I built a deck for an owner. From the minute I started buying the materials, he complained of the cost. I took every shortcut I could take to save him money without sacrificing the quality of his deck. I hadnt even made it home from finishing his deck before he called me telling me that he was sitting outside on his new deck and loving it. He then told me he wanted a larger deck at the rear of his house!

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to build your own deck. It takes some basic tools and some basic carpentry skills. Most square or rectangle decks can be built in a weekend by you and a friend or two. Here are some tips that will help your construction go smoother.

The very best decks are built by people with good deck plans. You can find several resources on the Internet where you can type in the size of deck you want and it will spit out a building plan along with a materials list. You may also want to check out your local Home Improvement store or Lumber yard. Many times they'll have someone who can design a basic deck for you and give you a materials lists as well as a price for all those materials.

The next tip I can give you is to take your time and think through what you're about to do. If you've never built a deck before, go slow on your first one. Take the time to clamp posts and joists into place before nailing or screwing. This will save you a lot of unnecessary cutting and wasting of your expensive lumber.

Personally, I prefer deck screws over nails. About the only place I use nails are in hangers. Everything else gets a #9 deck screw. Be careful and do not over drive your screws. One of the biggest problems I see with deck construction is that people over drive their screws. This is especially a problem with new deck builders. Over driving allows the elements to enter into the interior of the lumber where there is not preservative (assuming your using pressure treated lumber). Screw heads should be flush with the surface of the lumber. At the very most, do not drive more than 1/16ths into the board.

The final advice I have to a professional looking deck is to wait a few months after completing your deck and then staining and sealing it. I prefer a good stain followed by a top notch sealer. You an also paint it if you'd rather have a different color to the wood. Remember, it's important you wait a few months. This gives the lumber a time to dry out. Most lumber you'll be getting is pressure treated and will be 'wet' when you buy it. You want this lumber to be dried out before applying any sealer or paint.

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If you decide to take on the task of building your own deck (which we think every home owner should) then you'll want to take a look at this tutorial How To Build A Deck. This tutorial will give you the basics on how to build a deck in a weekend.


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