A deck will enhance the overall value of the home if built properly. Take time to create a deck the family will use often for a variety of activities. The overall design should harmonize well with the home's exterior, too. Designing a well-crafted deck space is doable for most homeowners, since planning tips and tools are available online. Figuring out the spacing, style and component parts of a deck take detailed planning, however. The strength, beauty and functionality of a deck are all equally important.
Things You'll Need
- Measuring tools
- Deck design books
- Home design magazines
- Sketch pad
- Graph paper
Measure the yard space you will allow for decking. Incorporate a space at least 12 feet by 15 feet outside the kitchen door, for example. Check with local building codes to ensure you adhere to any restrictions. Inquire about how far a deck must be placed from property lines, too. Go online to view detailed drawings of deck construction. Make notes about how to fit a deck structure to your home. Study details such as where to attach a ledger board to the house framing to secure the deck.
Choose a basic shape for the deck. Plan to remove sod where the deck will fit. Slope the ground soil for drainage about 1 inch for a 15-foot wide deck. Decide on the type of wood and size of boards for the decking. Plan to build the joists 16 inches apart for standard 2-by-6-inch pine decking, for example. Leave 1/4-inch spacing between floor decking boards for drainage. Place 8-inch square support posts under the decking no more than 6 feet apart. Figure a basic deck flooring to extend 18 inches beyond support posts.
Use graph paper to refine the drawings. Allow one square of graph paper to represent 3 inches of real space. Keep in mind that deck beams, constructed of double lumber nailed together, must rest on support posts that will be spaced roughly 6 feet apart. Be sure to draw every detail of concrete pilings that will hold support posts. Sketch metal post anchors, for example, to fit the bottom of support posts where they join the pilings.
Make a list of needed materials. Count the number of support posts, floor joists, decking boards and boards for railings. Plan to use 2-by-12-inch floor joists made of pressure-treated lumber and decking made of 2-by-6-inch boards, for example. Buy support posts made of 8-inch square post material that is pressure treated. Figure all lumber needed for built-in benches, nails, screws, gate hinges and items for a roof covering, if one will be built.
Estimate the final budget and plan a building schedule. Visit a home improvement store to get a cost estimate of materials needed. Talk with someone who can offer any last minute suggestions for the construction process. Discuss practical aspects of routing electricity or plumbing to the deck. Plan the scheduling of soil excavation, concrete delivery, materials delivery and other time-sensitive issues before actually starting construction.
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