Building a Deck

Building a Deck 101

A deck is a small extension from a living room, dining area or bedroom. It can be a spacious outdoor space large enough to organize a party. Building a deck involves planningcollecting the materials used in deck constructiondesigning and building it. Decks are built in particular steps. By following these steps one by one, building a deck can be fun and easy for you. 

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Building a new deck in the U.S. can cost you anywhere between $4,000 and $11,000 depending on the size, labor and materials required. A simple, average size of deck that is between 300 to 400 square feet can be built under a week by a professional crew. Some of the must have tools to build a deck are: circular saw, hand saw, chalk line, tape measure, carpenter’s level, power drill and the right hardware. 

Planning Your Deck

When planning to build a deck, you should consider certain important things. Here are some points to consider.

  • When deciding the place of your deck, look for places in your yard where trees and shrubs provide shade. This will help lower your costs of not needing to build oversized structures or fences. 
  • Next, consider what type of deck board you’ll want. Composite decking boards built with hidden fasteners provide a clean look to your deck. There are several decking styles and colors to choose from. Pressure-treated wood deck is a budget-friendly and popular option that can be painted any color you like. Remember, pressure-treated wood decks and other types of wood need regular maintenance.
  • If your landscape is fairly level, then construction should be simple. The shape of your yard can affect your deck design. A deck can be built on a slope, but slopes may need to level at the button or building a retaining wall. 
  • When planning size, make sure to have enough space to move around and place your outdoor furniture. Think about the width as well. Deck boards are usually 5.5 inches thick. Make sure your deck size won’t leave narrow pieces at the end.

Materials Used in Deck Construction

For constructing a deck you will need building material for its foundation and frame. The best deck foundation elements are poured concrete piers and footings. The materials required for building the foundation are concrete, steel stakes, concrete framing nails and gravel and 2-by-6 inch pine boards for concrete forms. 

Steels anchors should be set in the concrete footing or pier after the concrete is poured. The anchors hold the framing and secure it against future shifting or movement.

It is best practice to use pressure-treated wood in all deck framing materials. Pressure-treated wood is pine that is available in many sizes and dimensions and is chemically treated to repel insects and moisture. 

Ledger boards are usually 2-by-12 inch planks. They attach directly to the side of the house and support the deck material. Posts have dimensions of 4-by-4 and are fixed directly on the foundation and support the beams. 

Beams are horizontal 4-by-12 inch pieces of timber that support the plank. Planks are usually 2-by-10 or 2-by-12 inch planks that are fixed horizontally and perpendicular to the beams. Planks directly support the deck material. The fasteners used in building the foundation should be non-corrosive. 

Creating Your Design

The design of your deck incorporates how your deck will look like. When deciding the design of your deck, you should keep certain things in mind. 

Your deck’s purpose and function: If you live in a region having a warm climate several months of the year, then a deck may be utilized to enjoy the outdoor space. You have to decide how you would like to use your deck. If you get a vision for its purpose and function, it will be easier to design. Here are some functions your deck can perform in your yard:

  • For entertainment
  • For dining
  • As a pool or spa surround
  • For outdoor privacy
  • Place for gardening close to your house

Your deck’s location: Sometimes it’s obvious where a deck should be built, but other times there may be more than one possible location. If that’s the case, how your deck will be utilized will decide which place will be ideal for it. Moreover, consider these points when determining your deck’s location:

  • Scaling your deck to the size of your property
  • Tracking weather conditions that will affect your deck’s comfort level
  • Placing your deck in sun and shade or shade 
  • Considering wind patterns that can affect usage
  • Maximizing eye pleasing views
  • Creating privacy from neighbors
  • Having easy entrance from deck to house

The Budget for Building a Deck: Your budget is also an important factor that will determine the size, material and design of your deck. If you are going to have it designed and built by a professional then labor and permits will require extra cost. Also, consider the cost of decoration and extras that you would like on your deck such as flower boxes, railings, lighting and seating.

Building a Deck

After planning your deck’s design, the next step is to start building it. Here are certain things to consider while building your deck.

Can You Build It Yourself?

If you are building your deck yourself, it will cost you less. Simple platform decks have a classic look and they are easy to build. But if you want a more detailed deck, then you need to hire an experienced professional. Decide if you want your deck to be built quickly or you have time to do it yourself.

Know Deck Material Options: Wood is not the only available material you can use to build your deck. More materials are available in the market you can use to build your deck that needs less maintenance than wood. Materials available to choose from are plastic, metal or wood.

  1. Pressure-treated woods such as pine, redwood and cedar which contain wood and preservatives for weather-resistance.
  2. Premium hardwoods, such as teak, ipe and other brazilian varieties that are extremely durable.
  3. Composite decking materials is another option made of recycled wood fibers and plastics. It is easy to maintain but is more expensive than wood.
  4. PVC or plastic planks can resist rot and can endure harsh weather conditions. On the other hand, they are expensive, prone to get very hot under the sun and may feel spongy under the feet.
  5. Using Aluminum will offer great slip resistance which is suitable for wet locations, but it’s expensive.

Deck Lighting:
Lighting is a significant feature of your deck. It gives your deck a level of safety and adds a festive and romantic feel to it. The amount of lights required and type of fixtures, such as wired or solar will affect the design and budget of your deck. Here is a list of deck lights and locations to consider:

  1. Sunken step lights
  2. Path lights
  3. Overhead lights
  4. Wall or post-mounted lights
  5. Landscape spotlights

Consider Built-Ins: You might want to add more features to your deck. Built-ins will provide your deck with a clean and customized look, as well. Here are some items you may choose to store on your deck:

  1. Garden tools and supplies
  2. Children’s outdoor toys
  3. Outdoor patio cushions
  4. Outdoor furniture and accessories

Deck Finishing Specifications

After you finish building your deck, it’s time to give it some finishing touch. Make sure the look of your fixtures is good and the woodwork is trimmed. Here are some ways to add finishing touches to your deck.

  • Trimming the post base is a handsome way to hide imperfect cuts and give each post a more finished look.
  • Adding a post cap will keep water from seeping into the end grain.
  • Use a baluster connector to create a unique railing by forming pairs of stock aluminum balusters.
  • A lettuce skirt can’t fail, classic hides the structure and keeps critters out but allows ventilation.
  • Coat a wood deck with a penetrating sealer to prevent it from rot or decay. Otherwise, you can stain it to add color and extra protection. Waterborne stains suit most types of wood, but oil-based stains can pierce tropical hardwoods. 

How Long Does It Take To Build A Deck?

If building your deck is a small project, it can get completed within just a month, but the majority of projects that need engineering and permits will average about 4-5 months from schematic design and planning to a finished project. Larger, more complex projects may require 8-9 months from start to finish. 

A simple and straightforward deck can be built in under a week by professionals. An extravagant deck will take anywhere between 1-3 weeks. To build a huge deck, it may require 3-4 weeks to complete, depending on the man power. The more manpower available, the less time it will take overall. Building a customized deck may require a couple of months. 

What Is The Cost Of Building A Deck?

The average price range of building a new deck in the U.S can be anywhere between $4,000 and $11,000. Including materials and labor, a standard deck will cost approximately $30-$60 per square foot. 

Cost may differ depending on the deck dimensions. Here is a list of the average cost a homeowner spends:

  • $6,000 – $14,000 for a 20×20 deck
  • $3,840 – $8,960 for a 16×16 deck
  • $3,600 – $8,400 for a 12×20 deck

What Tools Are Required To Construct The Deck?

You will require certain tools to build your deck. Here is a list of them: 

  1. Circular Saw: This will probably be the most-used tool when building a deck. Eden recommends a saw that has a 7 1/4 inch blade and a motor that draws 10-13 amps.
  2. Hand Saw: It is particularly useful to make detailed cuts around the stairs.
  3. Chalk line: It will act as a guide when cutting your boards so that you get the straightest edge possible. 
  4. Tape measure: In order to follow your perfect design, you will need to measure and mark the boards accordingly before cutting them.
  5. Carpenter’s level: They are simple to use and will help to build a deck successfully that doesn’t turn out sloping to one side or the other. 
  6. Power drill: Eden recommends using screws for any decking project, which means you will need a good power drill.
  7. Right hardware: The type of material you choose for your deck will determine the type of screws or fastening system you can utilize. Additionally, different dimensions of wood decking will require different hardware. 

Does Eden Provide Deck Construction Services?

Yes, Eden provides deck construction services as a part of landscaping services. You can visit Eden’s website to know more about Eden services. Eden will help you with the construction of a simple or customized deck according to your budget that will fit your personal style and the aesthetic of your home. Order this on-demand landscaping service online today.

From selecting the right seasonal plants to installing an outdoor kitchen, our landscaping services can do it all for you. Contact us today for a stunning landscape!