Whether you are thinking of building a new deck or replacing an old one, there are extensive online resources to help you get started. Here’s a step-by-step look at what you need to DIY your deck.
Make a Plan
Of course, before you do anything, you need a plan. What kind of deck do you want to build? What shape and size? How will it extend the living space of your home?
Decks.com offers dozens of free plans you can easily download. The plans include blueprints, materials lists, plans guide, plan specs, and estimated costs, based on materials.
Also, check with your homeowner’s association to be sure your deck compiles with any rules for your neighborhood. Have utilities mark any underground lines. Be sure to obtain any necessary permits from your local council.
Pick Your Materials
Materials make a big difference in the cost, future maintenance, and quality of your deck. Shop around online and compare materials, colors, features, and maintenance requirements. Wood deck boards are less expensive upfront, but composite boards are virtually maintenance-free, reducing future costs and sweat equity. You can always order a sample to visualize how it might look with the brick, wood, or vinyl siding on your house.
When building a new deck, you want it to last. Did you know that the average wooden substructure (the joists and beams below the deck boards) begins to show water damage after 8 to 10 years? Guard against moisture damage from the start.
Flashing tape can guard against costly future water damage — at a low cost. Choose a non-skid, self-adhesive deck flashing tape, such as Trex Protect, to shield the tops of joists, rim joists, beams, and the ledger board. To find out exactly how much tape your project might require, check out this Materials Estimator.
During this time of social distancing, you may choose to buy materials online and get curbside pickup or delivery. You can also call local lumberyards to see if they are open to deliver materials. For a full comparison between wood and composite decking, see this article.
Make sure you have the tools you’ll need. To build a deck yourself, here are some tools you’ll likely need:
- carpenter’s level
- chalk line
- circular saw
- circular saw blade
- crescent wrench
- drills and bits
- dust mask
- extension cord
- framing square
- hoe and hose
- post hole digger
- rafter square
- safety glasses
- socket wrench
- stakes and batter boards,
- string, tamper
- ape measure
- tool belt
- two-foot level
Before you jump into the logistics, take a few deck tours and decide what’s best for your family and budget.
Once you’re ready to start, use these resources to create a deck you’ll enjoy for years to come. Or, if after you’ve dreamed of a beautiful new deck, you feel it’s too much to tackle on your own, call a pro. Either way, you’ve got this!