It’s summertime! That means it’s time for pools, suntans, and sitting out on your deck and enjoying the nice, hot summer weather. Let’s be honest – even if the whole crappy coronavirus thing wasn’t a factor, you’d probably still spend an awful lot of time kicking back on your deck with a cold one. But what if you’ve kept up that time-honored tradition for perhaps a little too long? We’re not saying that you sit outside too much, you can do that until the sun explodes if you want. We’re referring to the fact that it’s entirely possible your deck may not be able to keep up with you anymore.
If your deck is completely fine, and not falling apart on you (or if you’re simply satisfied with the one you have), then carry on with your summer lounging. If your deck is in desperate need of repair or you just want to overhaul it, though, read on.
Things to Consider Before Building a New Deck
There is quite a lot to think about before you decide to slap a new deck onto your house. The first thing that you should consider is what you intend to use the deck for. If you’re more the “outdoors family dinners” type, for example, you should make sure that your dinner table can fit without being cramped. Add at least four feet the entire way around the table so others can walk behind those that are seated.
If you really are the type that just likes to chill on your deck, then you can add a lounge area; you know, find a shady spot (or sunny if you prefer), layout some chairs, and maybe a nice little table. If your location allows it, you can even consider a fire pit if you intend to be out well into the night.
For the party people – barbecues, birthdays, or “I just wanna have a party” folks – you’ll want to consider leaving a prep area, serving area, and a grill for meals. You should have room for plenty of seating and maybe even built-in benches around the perimeter of the deck. Oh and wide, flat-topped handrails for guests to set their drinks on.
One more thing, you should always check in with your local authorities on what it is you can and cannot do. Look into what permits you may need and the regulations that you have to follow for construction projects like this. Ensure you’ve cleared everything with them beforehand so you don’t get into any issues later.
What you’ll Need for the Build
Before we continue, we’re just going to say this: any construction project has the potential to be dangerous, and building a deck is no exception. Always wear the proper safety gear when you’re working on stuff like this, folks. No loose clothing, hair pulled back. no jewelry, eye gear, and masks, if you’re cutting things or working with hazardous materials that hate your lungs; Just be safe when you work.
With that out of the way, here’s a list of things you can expect to need when putting your deck together and what you’ll use them for. Some of these will probably be no brainers, but not everyone knows how to DIY a deck so bear with us.
● Power drill – to drill holes or drive screws
● Power planer – to smooth out the wood’s surface, can be used to smooth the rough grain of the wood as well
● Hammer – to drive in nails (you guys probably won’t even read this one)
● Level – to make sure that all of your surfaces and assembled parts aren’t lopsided
● Power auger – used to drill holes into the ground, these holes will eventually be filled with concrete to help with the foundation of the deck
● Quick clamps – used to hold things together, this can aid you if you need to nail or screw things together by freeing up your hands so to allow you to better use your tools
● Tape measure – used to help you accurately measure lengths, you can use it to measure the length of your lumber as well the size of the deck itself, for example
● Post hole digger – used to dig narrow holes in the ground for the installation of footer posts
● Square – to keep those 90-degree angles at 90-degrees
● Wooden stakes – help mark off the location and dimensions of the deck, these will be driven into the ground with string tied around them to mark the perimeter
● String – as mentioned above, this will be held up by the wooden stakes, the string will be used to layout the shape and dimensions of the deck
● Spray paint – to mark the ground once you’ve planned your deck’s dimensions, specifically, the spray paint markings will denote where the deck’s corners and midpoints are
● Concrete – this will be poured into the holes made by the power auger to house the footers
● Concrete forms – barriers that hold the concrete in place until it hardens, these will need to be placed in the holes made with the auger before the concrete is poured in
● Pressure-treated lumber – for building the deck frame, pressure-treated lumber is useful because it’s waterproof and can withstand contact with moisture that may come from underground. You wouldn’t build the deck itself with this wood because the chemicals used to treat it can rub off onto you and your pets and is hazardous if it gets into the eyes or is consumed
What Kind of Material Should You Build Your Deck With?
The deck itself – the part you do stuff on, party, lounge, and play – can be made of all sorts of different materials. Plastic, PVC, or composite (a combination of materials like plastic and wood fibers) are all viable options to construct your deck with. Two of the most common materials, however, are redwood, and cedar.
Redwood will require you to reseal it occasionally to maintain it and can be expensive if you’re not living in the West Cost. It is warp-resistant, though, and it can retain finishes for a very long time. Cedar is both rot and insect-resistant but it is a softer wood so it’s liable to splinter and may not last as long as redwood. You might want to consider using this wood for things like railing or privacy fencing as it is less liable to wear down as quickly this way.
And here we reach the conclusion of our basic deck 2.0 building guide. If any of our audience out there has any other tips, tricks, and suggestions out there that can help out the would-be deck builders, then put them in the comments below. It never hurts to have additional help! Stay safe when using your tools folks, and happy building!