Simple Deck Construction Advice for Everyday DIYers

It’s that time of the year when outdoor features like beautiful decks reach maximum importance. Whether you’re in the mood for a new do-it-yourself deck project or just some amazing inspiration, this is the post for you.

A low-rise deck for an inspired backyard design.

Sometimes traditional decks are the most feasible for quick construction (and other times you just a deck that is beautiful and multi-level). If you’re planning for your own build, think single level: basic railings, store-bought stringers for stairs, and when it comes to shape, go for a square or rectangle to avoid head-scratching math that will take you back to trig class in 10th grade. Familiarize yourself with your local codes before you start, and if you need a permit, have a plan in place with measurements and materials listed so they can approve you on the spot – using an online deck building program to plan can help sort out these details.

Material-wise, go with pressure-treated lumber, and splurge for delivery by your big box or local lumberyard. Remind me someday to elaborate on how hard it is to carry 16′ deck boards home in a Jeep – I don’t recommend it. You can buy deck screws in bulk, and I highly recommend these rust-resistant screws over nails when you’re installing the floorboards to the joists because during installation or down the line if they warp, they are much easier to remove, shift, and replace (2.5″ – 3.5″ is preferable length for these screws). And from experience, nails tend to loosen and pop up over time, whereas screws usually stay put.

Use your lumber wisely, and if you have a scrap from one cut, see if you can’t use it in another part of construction. Aim for minimal waste, and you’ll save a lot of money.

How to build your own deck - read these tips for an easy DIY construction project.

If you don’t think you have the right tools to build a deck in your own yard, consider this: I built my deck with a single corded drill (generally more power than cordless), a level, a measuring tape, a single circular saw, and a rental auger (a manual post hole digger would have worked just as well, in hindsight). If you have to splurge on anything, get yourself a mitering chop saw.

A beautiful backyard oasis - learn how to make your own simple deck.

If you’re looking to go an even easier route, look into using these concrete deck piers, which allow you to float your structure above the ground without post holes. In many cases, you can also avoid getting a permit, because they’re seen as temporary structures (but check your local codes just to be safe).

And if you want something dreamy, consult with these photos for great inspiration.

11 Responses

  1. Joe says:

    Something I never see mentioned on these sites and I think it is a shame is a product call Silca System that allows you to turn a standard wood deck into a "stone" deck. Anyone thinking of replacing their deck boards with a composite should seriously consider using this product. All the advantages you get with a composite board deck (long lasting and low maintenance) come with the Silca Grate and Stone (or paver or brick) covering at a comparable price. The price of the grate with an average stone or paver product included is only slightly higher than the average composite system but at the end of the day you have a stone deck / raised patio. You can even use it to match an existing stone hardscape that is on grade up on your deck, porch, or steps. Definitely something worth looking into for a beautiful "high end" look and something that deserves more media attention.

  2. Sue B. says:

    I have a composite deck that looks terrible. The builder told us a frosting that was all over the deck just needed to be removed by some horrible stuff he recommended. it had to be put on with a rubber mop and left to dry. now it is purple in places and streaked with this mess. we can't remove it. i have contacted the builder countless times and they say they will get to it but too busy now and maybe we should entertain the idea of staining the deck. everyone i have talked to says there is nothing to stain because it is made from plastic and is not porous to absorb the stain. does anyone know of a stain, paint or something we can use to change the color of this mess?

  3. wobble wobble says:

    we really need a deck put on our 1925 home. It has a cracked cement pad for now and we cant afford to redo that. So we always wanted to put a deck in and living in an envirament with a lot of mesquitos it would be nice to have it enclosed or screened in too. I always liked the pergola look but having cottage look is what we like. After the man cave was put in the horse carriage area we now need a new roof for the garage which has cedar sideing on it. And eventually would like to put up private fence where we now have chain link fence to give us privacy and not have to look at trashey mans yard who brought a big digger in to put up big pool ..had put up metal wall then he got his friends mad and left it hanging so all winter with the winds in wind tunnel we got to listen to wobble all night and day long. Its a shame I thought it was going up for his two daughters sake but knowing him it was gonna be party time for him and undiserable ex to party with. Now the guy next to him is fighting mad cause it on his property line…says if he puts pool up he gonna put slide off his deck and slide on in…some people go to far…We know a couple that moved because of neighbors now the new house has idiot neighbors in the back and to the side. Who steals someones rock collection and doesn't have grass in there yard? So they put up private fence…hopefully deer wont destroy it like the crazy man said it would ..meaning he would do something…then the nut to the left says …u have to cut the grass the same size as I cut my grass…then they chew out the wife for she was helping them out a lot with things….that's why I am anti neighbor up your u know what…cookie cutter homes in developments etc. yuk yuk yuk…I would rather a farm than that…what makes me upset is the land is being constructed ..farms bought etc …so tell me where the animals are suppose to go …hey they are in the back yard..gotta kill them there is tooo many of them..who gave them the right to kill living things…my word what have we come too….there is a beautiful historic home going to pots oh I wish I had the money to restore it but it in a little too remote area but still someone needs to get it and bring it back …oh well

  4. Andrea says:

    I'm trying to redo my deck. It was painted before I bought the house and needs some boards replaced. Was going to use one of the deck products out there but when researching NONE of them are any good. Good luck. I can't get my old paint off either. Stain on railing pressured wash off pretty well but not where painted.

  5. joanne morrow says:

    i would love to have yard crashers come and help make my parents a nice outdoor space and redo the porch and build them a deck.. how do I get them to come here?

  6. william says:

    thanks i was thinking about doing that but you all saved me thanks again

  7. LCR says:

    The reviews on that product are just horrible. Glad I read them before making the investment in time and money. Sorry you are going through that.

  8. Susan says:

    I used Deck Restore and it was a mess too and started peeling off, I got a refund but that did not cover the cost of getting it off. My brother also had the same issue. He said he let water set on his and it peeled right up.

  9. Jilly says:

    Speaking of decks, I'd like to hear from anyone who has used Behr's Restore on their deck. I'm now trying to get it off the wood and it is not going well at all. Horrible product in my opinion.

    • Richard says:

      Jilly, why are you trying to remove this product. Is the finish product not what you expected? Behr's DeckOver is a new product compared to some. Tell me more, I have plans to cover my deck.

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About Emily Fazio 

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I caught the home improvement bug at an early age, and now I'm a full-time DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects I cover on my blog Merrypad range ...

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