Building a Deck

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Level of difficulty: Hard
Estimated time taken: 1-2 days
Tools required:

  • Wood
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Measuring tape
  • Safety equipment
  • String

Step 1: Start with the layout

  1. Determine the size of the deck you would like to build and mark the perimeter with string
  2. Mark where the posts go by finding the center and spray painting a 10-12 in circle around it
  3. Ensure your layout is square by measuring each corner diagonally. When each measurement is the same, the layout is square

Step 2: Digging holes for posts

  1. Dig each hole 10-12 inches in diameter and around 48 inches deep
  2. Use a steel bar to break up hard ground, and a post hole digger for the rest

Step 3: Concrete

  1. Mix your concrete according to the instructions
  2. Pour about half of a bag into the hole to create a strong base at the bottom of your hole
  3. Cover holes overnight for safety while the concrete dries

Step 4: Frame your deck

  1. Start with the edge closest to the house
  2. Attach a joist to however many posts will go along the house
  3. Place the entire frame assembly in the holes
  4. Ensure it is level
  5. When everything checks out, fill the holes with dirt, surrounding the posts
  6. Continue setting posts in the ground and attaching joists where needed
  7. Ensure EVERYTHING is square. Double and triple check before fully securing the frame
  8. Fill the rest of the posts with dirt

Step 4: Install joists

  1. Cut joists to the length of your deck
  2. Space out joists 15 inches apart
  3. Attach joist hangers 15 inches apart
  4. Attach joists across the entire deck

Step 5: Build the stairs

  1. Layout the 2x10 using a framing square
  2. The run is 10 inches and the rise is 8 inches
  3. Cut the top and bottom but leave the bottom
  4. Install stairs
  5. Dig holes at either side of the base of the stairs and install posts
  6. Trim posts to height for a hand rail

Step 6: Install deck boards

  1. Start with the first board closest to the house and make any tricky cuts you need to go around the posts
  2. Cut all boards to length and attach to the deck by screwing two screws into each joint
  3. Trim the edges after all are installed to ensure they are all uniform

Step 7: Railing

  1. Use 2x4s for the framing in between each post
  2. Cut balusters to length and attach to the railing framing

Example Video: