The Ultimate Guide to Building a Deck

Do you want a deck built for your home? Decks add value to any home, and they also add extra space that is usable for your family to enjoy outdoor living and share space with others. You could enjoy entertaining people with a new outdoor deck space, or you can keep it to yourself. Either way, decks are something that you will use for years to come if they are built right. What are the steps that must be taken to ensure that your deck is perfect for you and for your family?

Constructing a Good set of Stairs

Stairs in the interior of a home can be constructed with notched stair jacks which are then nailed to the wall and studs, giving them stability. Later, they are hidden with interior construction. If you build your stairs using the same method, you will see the exposed stair jacks that are not very sturdy and are unattractive. These can be strengthened with the addition of solid 2 x 12 skirts.

Add Deck Seams

The traditional method to building a deck has the random staggering of joints. This can cause issues since deck boards are sharing the joist thickness and the fasteners can cause the ends of the joist surface to split. Board ends need to be tight, and any untreated wood will begin to rot. Using the seaming method means you will place the seam strategically so that every seam is a sandwich of sorts with joists on either side supporting the seam. Vertical deck boards are just for show because they make the deck look complete.

Plan and Layout the Frame of your Deck

Plan out your deck footings by laying them out. You can make the footing holes and then align the bases of the posts. Mark the frame location by adding some stakes which you will remove to pour your deck footings. The frame can be replaced with the bases being aligned and posts set up. Posts can be screwed to your deck frame which holds them together and allows you to backfill around the posts.

Leave Space Under Doors

You never want to build your deck directly under a door threshold. Sliding doors and screens on patio doors can build up debris and when fall arrives and leaves build up it can be impossible to open a door if all of that debris is in the way. Water that collects near the door can rot the wood door casing and the door jamb trim. Water will also work under the threshold and rot your subfloor and framing. Leaving a step of about three inches is the best practice.

Choosing Your 4 x 4 Posts

When you purchase your 4 x 4 posts you want to ensure that they are as straight as possible, but that is not the only thing to look for. You also want to look at the end of the post and ensure that it is not in the tree centre. If you have the tree centre rings in the middle of your post, it can twist your post. Reject (do not purchase) any posts that have a “bullseye” on the end because these will warp over time.

Use the Right Screws

Lag screws are long and take an extraordinary amount of time to install. Construction screws look less impressive, but they can be driven easily with a basic screw gun and do not require pre-drilling. They also will not split the wood you are screwing them into. These screws are more expensive than lag screws, but they are easier to use and will not cause unwanted damage.

Avoid Miter Joints

Miters in wide boards should not be used. When wood is installed for outside construction, particularly decks, the wood begins to shrink immediately. In some cases, the wood may shrink. Miters open up in an uneven way and then the work done looks shoddy over time. Butt joints are simple, but they look better over time as the wood expands and contracts.

If you plan to build a deck on your home, you will add much value to it. Deck building requires much careful planning and preparation so you must take the time to plan the deck and ensure that it is correctly built. If you do not have the time or the energy to build your deck, you should consider hiring an experienced professional to take care of the process for you. Not only will you get a deck that looks great, but it will also last longer because it is built correctly.

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