How to Install a Deck

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A deck can give you enjoyment for as long as you own your house. As an added bonus, when you are ready to sell, the deck will have increased your home’s value, and you will be able to get a better price for your home.While it is possible to attach a deck to a home, oftentimes this means removing vinyl or wood siding, or otherwise dealing with a home’s permanent structure. Because of this, it may be better to build a “free standing” deck; that is, one that is NOT attached to the house. For the purpose of this article, we will assume that you want to build a “free standing” deck.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape, pencil or pen, paper
  • Pressure-treated lumber in desired length
  • Particle Board or Plywood in desired length
  • Cinder blocks or other material designed to keep the frame off the ground)
  • Electric screwdriver and wood screws OR hammer and nails
  • Level
  • Snapping Deck Tile (See Step 8 and TIPS section)

Install a deck and increase your home’s value

  • Choose the location where you want your deck to be. Level the site, if necessary. (Refer to the TIPS section for more information).

  • Decide how big you want your deck to be. Bear in mind that lumber comes in different lengths, ranging from 8 feet to 16 feet. You don’t want to waste time cutting wood to fit, so keep your deck dimensions even (example: 8 foot by 8 foot by 8 foot by 8 foot square.)

  • Purchase the necessary lumber, particleboard or plywood, cinder block or other “support” material, wood screws or nails, and other material you will need or think you might need.

  • Set your cinder blocks or other “support” material at the places where the four corners of the deck will be. Use your measuring tape often while doing this so that the finished structure will be truly square.

  • Build your deck frame. Use nails or wood screws to join four pieces of the lumber to make a large square, and then nail additional pieces of lumber inside the square at evenly spaced intervals to form the supports for the flooring. Use your level and measuring tape often while building the frame to make sure that the structure is level and the spaces between the support pieces remain the same.

  • Set the completed frame on the cinder blocks/”support” material. Make sure the frame is securely seated. Remember, it will be supporting weight.

  • Attach the particleboard or plywood to the frame using nails or wood screws. You may then water-seal it, if you wish. If you choose to do so, make sure the water-seal has completely dried before continuing.

  • Lay the first piece of snapping deck tile on your deck flooring. Attach the second piece of snapping deck tile to the first piece by joining the connection pieces and pushing down FIRMLY until the two tiles are securely joined.

  • Repeat Step 8 until all the snapping deck tile has been laid.

Tips & Warnings

  • An old concrete slab from a previous patio, carport, or other structure that is still in good condition is an excellent foundation on which to build a deck, as it will already be level.
  • Although your deck will sit a few inches off the ground, it is still important to make sure that the location of the deck receives good drainage. Damage to the deck can result if water runs over rather than under or around the deck structure.
  • Don’t be stingy with nails or wood screws when attaching the particleboard or plywood to the frame; make sure the particleboard or plywood is firmly attached. No one is going to see how many nails/screws you used once the snapping deck tile is in place.
  • Purchasing and installing snapping deck tile eliminates the need for laying down any type of additional floor covering, or for having to build a deck floor board by board. This saves you a lot of construction time, and probably some money, too.
  • Although locating a deck under a tree or very close to a tree may seem a good idea in terms of shade, remember that trees attract lightning. It can be very dangerous to be on a deck that is located under a tree, especially a tall one, when the threat of a thunderstorm is present. Better to situate the deck a short distance away from the tree, where it will still be shaded.
  • Concerning the above, NEVER sit on a deck or be outside when there is the threat of severe weather. Lightning can occur even when a thunderstorm seems far away.
  • Limbs can fall from trees that are over or in very close proximity to decks, causing damage to the decks or possible injury to persons who may be present when the limbs fall. Again, it is better to have the deck located in an area that is not directly under or very close to trees.
  • Do not over-load a deck, no matter how thick the material used to construct the frame and flooring may be. Injury can result if too much weight is put on a deck.

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