Wood Deck.

How to build a wood deck

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Building A Wood Deck

Building a wood deck can be a great improvement to your landscape. It will give you many years of enjoyment for you and your family. Step by step instruction on building a wood deck.

 

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Raised garden bed  

 

Raised garden beds are functional and easy to build and maintain. Where you build your raised garden bed on your wood deck are in your yard. If your yard has poor soil, raised beds are an idea to add ornamental or vegetable gardens to your outside home.

 

 

 

 How to build  a wood deck.

 

     Checking with your building inspector before any deck building.

 

Local codes may require different solutions for your deck to even the most common situations. Check with your inspector in advance to avoid problems that may be expensive to fix. Among the things you should ask:

1. How close can your deck be to your property line ?

2. What are the span and lumber requirements for posts, beams, joists, and decking?

3. How deep must your footings be to support your deck. In areas where the ground freezes, this will depend at least partly on what your frost line is.

4. If your wood deck will be raised above the ground, will deck bracing be required ?

5. What are the codes for deck railings ? These include how high the deck railing must be, how the deck railing is fastened, and how big any gaps in the deck railing can be.

6. If flashing is required, which type and method of installation is preferred ? Must the joist be slipped under the flashing or can they be butted against it ?

 

 

 

 

 How to build a wood deck.

 

  Laying out the footings for your wood deck.

 

The footings will be the least visible element of your wood deck, so there is a temptation to build them quickly. But if the footings aren’t set accurately, the rest of the job could be a colossal pain. So take the time to check and recheck every step of the way.

 

1. Locating the deck ledger

 

The ledger board is usually the primary reference point for the whole deck. You may even want to install it first. In any case, to lay out the deck you first need to mark the ends of the ledger. For the time being all you should be worried about is its position from side to side. Once you have marked the ends of the ledger on your house. Use a level to bring the line down to a place on the house near the ground so that you can use it for laying out the deck. If your yard slopes appreciably downward from the house, place this mark near the ground, If the yard is fairly level, make the mark a foot or so off the ground. Attach a screw or nail to this spot so that you can tie a string line to it. If your house is masonry or concrete at this point, drive a stake firmly into the ground and attach a screw or nail to it.

 

2. Assembling batter boards.

For each outside deck corner you will be locating, construct two batter boards. Make the boards from 2 +4 by attaching a 36 inch crosspiece squarely across two stakes. Although they are temporary and will be used only to hold string lines, the batter boards must be sturdy.

 

3. Laying out posts for your deck.

Measure from the ledger to determine where your posts will be, and roughly mark lines using a string. You want this line to run through the center of the posts, meaning that you have to take into account thickness of beams and outside joists; a two-by is 1 ½ inches thick, and the center of a 4=4 is 1 ¾ inches from each edge. The drawing shows the most common situations. Pound a stake into the ground at the (again, rough) intersections of the lines.

 

4. Establishing corner footing for your deck post.

Firmly pound two batter boards into the ground 16 inches or so beyond the stake in each direction. Run string lines from the ledger to the batter boards and from batter board to batter board in the other direction. On the ledger, the string line will usually be run 1 ¾ inches in from the outside edge of the ledger. Pull the string taut, and wrap them around the crosspieces several times so they will not move. Check the post line again to make sure it runs through where you want to locate the center of the post. Pull up the stakes from the ground. Now check for square using the 3-4-5- method, measure along your house or ledger board, if you’ve already installed it, and mark a point 3 feet in from the nail holding the string. Now measure along the string and use a piece of tape to mark a spot 4 feet from the house. Make sure you remember which edge of the tape is the right one. Finally, measure the distance between the two marks. If this is exactly 5 feet, then you have a square corner. If not adjust the string line until it comes out right. Repeat this on the other corners. If you have the room you can be more accurate by using multiples of 3,4, and 5; 9,12, and 15 feet, or even 12,16,and 20 feet.

 

5. Checking lengths and diagonals.

Double check for square by taking three pairs of measurements; the two lengths of your rectangle should be equal to each other, as should the two widths and the two diagonals. All this measuring may seem bothersome, but it is an effective way to double check for something that is extremely important. Once you have established that your lines are square, attack them securely to the batter boards, using a screw or nail to make sure they cannot slip sideways when someone bumps into the string.

 

6. Marking for deck post holes.

Use a plumb bob to mark the spot on the ground that will be the center of each post. For the corner posts, bring a plumb line down from the intersection of your lines. Hold the lines until the bob stops swaying, and mark the spot with a small stake. For postholes not located at corners, measure along the string, taking care that you do not move the string as you measure. Use pieces of tape to mark the string line.

 

 

 

 

 

     Digging postholes for your wood deck.

 

This is usually the most physically demanding part of building a deck. Once the marker stakes are firmly established, remove the string lines but not the batter boards. You’ll be putting the string back in place later, so leave clear marks on the batter boards showing exactly where they should be reattached. As you dig, its easy to lose track of where the center of the hole should be and often rocks or roots cause the hole to shift to one side. So carefully dig up the circumference of each hole before you start digging so that it will always be clear exactly where the hole should be. Whether you are using the auger or a clamshell style posthole digger, if you run into a rock, you’ll need a wrecking bar to break up stones or pry them loose. If you run into roots chop at them with your posthole digger or shovel.

 

 

 

 

    Footing without concrete

 

Long lasting decks have been build without any concrete support. This is usually done by setting extremely rot resistant posts directly into postholes with 3 inches of gravel in the bottom and then filling the holes with more gravel. If the deck gets rained on the gravel will allow the posts to dry out.

 

  Poured- concrete footing

 

No frost line. In stable soil, you can simply dig a hole that will act as a concrete form. For areas with little frost, a hole that is 12 inches in diameter and 8 inches deep will yield a substantial footing. Fill the hole completely with concrete. Extend it an inch or two above grade. Below the frost line. If you live in an area subject to freezing and thawing, you can dig a cylindrical postholes that extends several inches below your area’s frost line and fill it with concrete. Flare the bottom of the hole a bit for stability. Pre cast pier on concrete. You can also purchase a pre cast concrete pier and set it into your bed of fresh concrete.

            

 

 Positioning the deck posts for your wood deck.

 

The beams will either sit on top of the posts or get lag-screwed or bolted to them. Both methods are strong. If you are an accomplished carpenter, the on top method is quicker because it avoids a lot of drilling and fastening. However, it is less forgiving of mistakes because you must cut the top of posts accurately before you install the beam.

 

1. Plumbing post and attaching bracing. This is definitely a two person operation, one person checks

the level and, once the post is perfectly plumb, tells the other to drive in a screw attaching the brace

to the stake. Do the same for the other brace. Once the post is plumb, drive in more screws for stability

 

 

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