Getting Started with Deck Construction

Deck building is a complex project that requires a lot of research and planning. It is also important to consider your audience and purpose for the deck. This will influence the content and style of your presentation. Visit to learn more.


The first step is to lay out a rough outline of the deck with wood boards. This will help you save time when digging holes and pouring footings.

The foundation of a deck is an important step in building the rest of the structure. It needs to be strong enough to hold the weight of the deck and prevent it from heaving over time due to changes in ground conditions. There are several different types of deck foundations, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

When choosing a deck foundation type, it is important to consider your local soil conditions. The type of soil will determine how long your foundation will last, as well as how much heaving will occur. Different soils also have varying frost line depths, which affects the suitability of various foundation options.

Poured concrete foundations are a common choice for decks, but they can be expensive. They require a wait period between digging the holes and pouring the concrete, which can be inconvenient. Additionally, they can be damaged by water and other weather conditions, which can reduce their strength and longevity.

Another option for deck foundations is a precast concrete block, which can be cheaper than a poured concrete foundation. However, these are typically shorter and narrower than a traditional footing, so they may not be as durable or distribute the weight of the deck evenly.

Finally, buried post footings can be a great option for a low-cost deck foundation. This method involves burying pressure-treated posts in the ground with a concrete base. This can be an ideal solution for sites with soft soil, as it can provide extra stability and help prevent heaving.


The next step is to lay out the principle framework of your deck, which consists of interior joists that are spaced 12 or 16″ apart and rim joists that form the outside edge of the deck. These joists will either rest on the beams you’ve just installed, or they will be attached to the ledger board with metal joist hangers, depending on your design. In either case, the joists will be supported by posts that are 6 x 6 and cut off to the height dictated in your building plans.

Before beginning construction, make sure you’ve consulted your local residential building inspection office to see what restrictions and requirements might apply to your deck. These may include setback rules, regulations regarding heights and structural supports, or specifications for railings and stairways. Also, your community may have requirements for materials and a list of licensed contractors who can provide inspections and permits.

It’s always a good idea to build a layout frame before digging holes or pouring footings. This can be done by using a simple frame of deck boards or joists, and it makes the job much easier when it’s time to mark footing holes and align post bases. It’s also a great way to make sure the deck is square and level.

When laying out the joists, it’s important to leave adequate space for furniture and other features you might plan on adding later, such as a hot tub or trellis. This will help ensure that the deck is safe and comfortable. Also, leaving room for future adaptations can save on the cost of hiring a contractor to add more features. Moreover, keeping your costs down early on will minimize the potential for overruns that can drive up your final bill.


A deck is a great addition to any home, providing a place for gatherings and entertaining while allowing you to get outdoors in the fresh air. Decks are also a popular feature at cabins and vacation homes.

The first step in building a deck is preparing the site, which may involve clearing and leveling the area where you plan to build. You’ll want to check with your local building department to make sure you have the proper permit and are following set-back rules for how close you can build to property lines.

You’ll also need to lay out the footprint of your deck and determine its size and shape. Getting this right is crucial to the safety and longevity of your deck.

Once the footings are poured, you can build your deck frame. A ledger board, typically 2 x 10, will attach the deck to your house and anchor the side of the deck adjacent to the structure. To ensure the ledger is at the proper height, use a level to draw a line on the siding where it must rest. Remove the section of siding above this mark and tuck flashing up under it, making sure the deck framing will be above it once the ledger is attached.

To prepare for the installation of deck joists, set batter boards and mason’s strings to locate the footing locations at the outside corners of your deck and at 8-foot intervals along its front rim joist. Dig holes for the footings, ensuring they are at least as deep as the frost line in your climate.

Once the joists are in, they can be braced and fastened to the deck support posts with metal brackets. The joists can then be covered with decking boards. Decking may be made of timber or composite materials such as wood and plastics.


Decks are multi-functional outdoor structures that are perfect for relaxing and entertaining. They can range from a small structure off the kitchen to a multi-level outdoor space that can accommodate many warm weather activities. According to Yardzen data, homeowners are requesting more and more dining, bar, and fire pit areas. These requests have driven the need for more room to entertain, which can be achieved by adding a deck.

A deck can be made of wood or composite materials. Composite materials are more durable than traditional hardwoods and require less maintenance. Composites also have the added benefit of being moisture-resistant, which helps prevent mildew and mold. Adding railings to a composite deck is simple and can be done with metal or wood brackets. In addition, a deck can include drink rails to provide an additional surface for people to rest their drinks while on the deck.

To install a deck, it is important to understand the basics of framing and footings. A footing is a concrete column below the deck that supports and strengthens the structure. It must be installed to the required depth, as specified by local codes and the frost line in your region. In addition, a deck must be attached to the house with joist hangers, which attach the joists to the ledger and rim joists of the deck frame.

Although it is possible to build a deck on your own, it is a project best left to professionals. Inexperienced builders can cause structural failure, and improper construction may result in injury or death. Moreover, it is necessary to obtain a building permit for your deck, and to follow the manufacturer?s instructions. In addition, most jurisdictions have building codes that require a professional to inspect your deck before it is complete.


Decks are great extensions of living spaces and offer the opportunity to take your home’s style outside. Dress up yours with furniture, accessories and plants that complement the colors of the wood and yard. Use rugs to tie the look together, and make sure all decor is rated for outdoor use.

If you want your deck to feel like a second living room, outfit it with cozy seating, plush cushions and blankets and a fireplace that doubles as a place to enjoy dinner or cocktails. A built-in firepit adds a focal point and eliminates the need for floor space for a standalone fireplace, which can block visual flow. The stacked stones used here by Romanek Design Studio play off the material texture of the deck and the backyard hardscaping.

Add a few planters to your deck for a natural vibe and some color. Fill them with tall plants to draw the eye upward and create a sense of privacy, or mounding shrubbery for a softer edge. Choose native species to support local wildlife and add character to your deck.

A joist, ledger and rim joist give the deck a frame, and a band board or header is fastened to the joists. Typically, 2x stock is used for framing, and joist hangers are attached to the ends of joists with metal fasteners. These fasteners also keep the joists from separating from each other over time.

When it comes to lighting, a mix of options is key to creating a multifaceted, inviting ambience. String lights are a classic choice, but lanterns and candles in decorative containers add warmth and ambiance.