Deck Building 1 - Introduction to Building a Deck

Lead Image

In some ways deck building is a rather complex do-it-yourself project, but, since decks do not have to be leak proof or perfectly built, it is well within the scope of a novice builder. This website will provide you with the information you will need to do the work efficiently.

Deckbuilding can be a demanding job both physically and mentally. It is, however, very rewarding. It moves quickly and will give you a pleasing living area for a small price.

Be sure you understand what you are doing before you proceed. The key things to remember in deck building are to be sure you have used all the proper materials and construction techniques, to fend off the decaying properties of water, and to be sure everything is level, plumb, and properly built.

Always understand, develop, and adhere to proper safety practices for each project. For deck construction, these include:

  1. Always use the appropriate tool for the job.
  2. Keep blades and bits sharp. A dull tool requires excessive force and can slip.
  3. Safety goggles and glasses should be worn when using power tools, especially if you wear contacts.
  4. Always unplug your power tools when making adjustments or changing attachments.
  5. Be sure your tools are properly grounded.
  6. Watch power cord placement so it does not interfere with the operation of the tool.
  7. Wear ear protection when operating power tools, because some operate at a high noise level which can damage hearing.
  8. Be careful that loose hair and clothing do not get caught in power tools.
  9. Be careful when carrying longboards at the site.
  10. Be careful to avoid back strain when lifting or digging.
  11. Wear heavy-soled, sturdy work boots.
  12. Bend from the knees when lifting large and heavy objects.

Useful Terms

  • All-heart grades. Grades of wood which contain no knots or blemishes.
  • Band joists. Joists that form an attractive border or band around the framing joists.
  • Bow. The deviation from straight and true seen when looking at a board on its edge.
  • Construction common. A grade of redwood containing sapwood.
  • Crown. The highest point of a warped board, seen from the board’s side.
  • Cup. The warp of a board seen from the board’s end.
  • Girder. A support member of a deck floor framing system which rests upon the piers. The girder is in a position parallel to the ledger and supports the opposite end of the joists.
  • HDG (Hot dipped galvanized). A rustproof coated metal which is less expensive than aluminum or stainless steel.
  • Joists. A system of floor framing commonly using 2 x 6 or 2 x 8 lumber.
  • Ledger. A board of the same size as the joists, attached to a wall, to which the joists are perpendicularly attached.
  • Pier Holes. Holes dug to below frost line and filled with cement for a firm footing to raise foundation piers.
  • Plumb bob. A heavy object suspended on the end of a string for the purpose of establishing a true vertical line.
  • Toe nailing. Nailing at an angle which reduces chances of nails loosening under stress.
  • Torpedo level. A level 8 or 9 inches in length with vials to read level, plumb and 45 degrees.