If you like entertaining outdoors, a deck is a must. Decks, however, can be costly to have a professional build. Building one yourself, though, is actually a DIY project many experienced DIYers can do. The cost of high-quality wood for the deck can get expensive. If you are looking to save a few bucks, you can actually build the deck yourself using scraps.
Step 1 - Get Permits
Before you begin building your deck, make sure you have all the necessary permits for your project. Check city, county, and state codes to see what permits apply to you. When in doubt, check with your local planning office for advice.
If you live in an area with a homeowner's association, make sure to check with them to make sure your project is allowed. It would be terrible to complete your project only to be told you have to tear it down and pay a hefty fine.
Step 2 - Gather Materials
The most important material for a deck is wood. Rather than buying a large amount of lumber, though, you can actually build your deck with scraps. If you think you might go this route, save any leftover wood pieces from other projects, you take on. If you have any friends, family members, or neighbors who are doing home improvement projects, ask them to save their extra wood for you.
If you want to take it one step further, you can go on Facebook or Craigslist to try and source extra pieces of wood people no longer want. You could even go to local businesses that are renovating and ask for any leftover materials.
When you finish your project, make sure to have anyone who donated wood to you over to see the completed project.
Step 3 - Plan
Before you start grabbing your hammer and nails, layout the materials to ensure you have enough and know where everything goes. It would be a bummer to get halfway through the project only to find you're a few pieces of wood short.
Step 4 - Sand
Sand all the wood so that it is flat. If the wood has not already been pressure treated, you may need to do so. Make sure to wear goggles and gloves during the entire deck-building process for your own safety.
Step 5 - Dig Footings
Your deck will need concrete piers or footings placed into the ground to be adequately supported. Mark where your footings will be located. Use an auger to dig holes. You could dig them with other devices as well, but the auger will make the job much simpler.
Step 6 - Place Tubes
Place tubing in the holes you just dug. Make sure they all stick out of the ground the correct amount based on how raised you decided your deck will be. Make sure to fill the holes around the tubing for a snug, secure fit.
Step 7 - Use Concrete
Mix concrete and pour it into the tubing. Let the concrete harden.
Step 8 - Add Posts
Add beams and posts in the predetermined areas based on your approved plans. Use nails to secure the beams and posts into place. Make sure to frequently use a level to check that everything is still straight. A small deviation can cause a big problem later on.
Step 9 - Frame
Once everything is in place, you can finish framing the deck. Make sure to pick thick, sturdy pieces from the scraps you're using to build the frame of your deck. Make sure all the pieces that you add are fully secured and level. You will likely need to use a saw to make sure all pieces are the same size.
Once the pieces are in place, you can start to add joists.
Step 10 - Install Deck
Now that your frame is completed, you can add the deck boards. These boards are what you will actually see and walk on. Secure the boards in place using nails. To make sure all the boards are evenly spaced out, you may need to use fasteners.
Step 11 - Add Finishing Touches
Once the deck is complete, you should go ahead and sand it. Now is also the time to stain and/or paint it. If you are doing so, make sure to read the instructions on the bottle to make sure you use them correctly.
While the above steps are a starting off point, some of what you will need to do to construct the deck will vary based on the plans you had approved, the space you have, and the materials you are using.
If you are concerned about building a deck, you may want to consider hiring an expert to build the frame and then laying down the boards yourself. This will save you a lot of time but cost more than doing the job yourself.