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.
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.
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.
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.