Instructions for Constructing a Deck


You’ll need detailed instructions if you want to build a new deck but don’t want to hire a professional. A beginner carpenter should have no trouble constructing a basic deck. You need a solid strategy and attentive instruction. You may find those detailed instructions in this article.

You’ll need to choose a layout for your deck before I can tell you how to construct one from scratch. Several questions need answering, such as:

How big of a deck do you need?
The design of your deck is up to you. What shape will it take, a square, a rectangle, or a L?
Where do you want the stairs, and how many do you need?
How will the decking be attached, and what kind will you use?
Should we install railings? If so, which fashion would you prefer?
Do you plan on installing any permanent seating or planters?
The time spent in preparation before building begins is not uncommon. And rightly so. Rushing through the deck-building process’s not worth risking a lot of money.

Drive around your neighborhood and take note of the many kinds of decks people have built for inspiration. Looking online for inspiration is another option.

Once you’ve figured out the solutions, you may begin constructing your deck.

Setting your concrete pier pads is the first step in learning how to build a deck correctly. Verify that the piers are located precisely as indicated on the blueprints. Ensure they are set firmly in the ground and at the same height. No “rocking” is acceptable, I take it. I use a shovel to level the ground and make it as smooth as possible.

After the pier pads have been properly installed, the posts can be accurately measured and cut to size. The beams will be supported by these posts. Attaching the ledger to the wall can make this job simpler in some cases. If you have a door leading out onto a deck, ensure the ledger is at least as thick as the decking.

The pier pad height can be determined by resting one end of a long, straight board with a level on the ledger. If you want accurate distance measurements to the pier pad, you’ll need a helper to hold the board and level steady. To calculate the post length, take the sum of the floor joist and beam thicknesses and subtract that number.

The support beams can be installed once you’ve completed the processes above for each post. Attach the beams to the posts using toenails. Be sure to toe-nail together any parallel beams, too.

Installing the floor joists is the next stage in learning how to construct a deck properly. Typically, these will be 2×6, 2×8, or even 2×10 boards. The size of the ledger you attached to the wall using fasteners should match that of the floor joists. Joist hangers should be nailed to the ledger before the joists are laid. Having a joist hanger to rest the joist’s end simplifies the process. When arranging the ledger and the support beam, be careful to begin at the same end. The floor joists must be capped with rim joists for additional support. Snap a line at about a half-inch’s depth and trim the joists to get it straight.

The decking must be installed at this time. Here’s a tip I use to improve the aesthetics of my decks. I always begin installing deck boards at the farthest point from the house and work my way in. If you end up with a ripped-up, skinny board, it won’t be in plain sight next to the house. You should also leave some room between the boards. The decking can expand and shrink, and rainwater can drain efficiently.

You can use either nails or screws to secure your deck boards. The nails should be galvanized by being submerged in hot water. Deck screws, not drywall screws, are required.

Adding railing (if desired) and stairs leading to the ground are the final phases in learning how to construct a deck. You must install railings if your deck is over 30 inches from the ground. Typically, I use a 2×6 rail at the top and screw in vertical 2×2 cedar balusters. The space between the balusters should be no more than 4″, and the top rail should extend at least 36″ above the decking.

Stair construction can be complex. Therefore, that issue will have to wait for a separate essay.

This finishes my brief guide detailing the basic steps required to construct a deck. I hope this information was helpful to you.

Throughout my 30+ year career as a builder, I’ve constructed dozens of decks. Visit my website, How to Construct a Deck Step by Step [ to construct a deck step by], for more deck-building ideas, deck design ideas, and even more detailed instructions. Anyone with even rudimentary woodworking skills can construct a deck with my guidance.

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