Building A Deck
|Building a deck is a great way to add
outdoor living space to your home. Your deck can be as
detailed or as simple as you want it to be. Decks today can
be tiered, with a several areas designated for children,
entertaining, and serenity.
|4 foot level or
|Decks are made up of 6 basic parts:
Footings,posts, beams, joists, decking, rails.
Footings are the foundation of your deck, usually
consisting of concrete pads or piers that support your
Posts are typically 4x4 or 6x6 vertical members that
support your beam. Keep in mind if your deck is very high,
you may want to use the 6x6 posts; not only for strength,
but smaller posts may look spindly when supporting a deck
from a height above 6 feet.
Beams support the joints. The size of the beam
depends on the height and width of the deck.
Joists are the framework that supports you decking,
much like the ribs of a ship.
Decking is the floor of you deck.
Rails are the “fence” around your deck.
|Before you start, there are a few
things to keep in mind:
Check your city and state building codes. You most likely
will have to get a building permit before you begin. Most
codes call for your railings to be no less than 4” apart for
child safety. If you live in a cold climate, you may have to
pour frost footings. This is not as hard as you may think it
is. Details to follow in our instructions.
|Materials: You will have to decide
what materials you want to use for your deck.. There are
many options available in today’s lumberyards, including:
Treated Pine: Treated pine is a strong, inexpensive
option for your deck. It won’t rot or break up, but you
should put on a sealer or stain to increase the life of your
deck. You should use an oil base semi- transparent stain to
withstand foot traffic. Solid stains will eventually peel if
you use them on the floor of your deck. Check the label
before buying stain to make sure it will hold up to heavy
Tip: It is recommended that treated pine be left untouched
for a few months unless it is marked KDAT (Kiln dried after
treatment). New treated pine may not be dry enough to accept
stain or sealer. To test your wood, apply stain to a small
inconspicuous spot on your deck. If the stain in not
absorbed within 15 minutes, your wood may be too wet. You
should purchase your treated lumber a few weeks before you
plan to build your deck to give it time to dry out enough to
accept screws or nails. Wood will eventually crack if it is
nailed or screwed when the wood is wet.
If you are using treated pine, be sure to ask at the
lumberyard for special joists. Some metal may corrode when
it come in contact with
the chemicals used is treated wood.
Cedar: Cedar is a softer wood than pine, and it it
not as strong, but it will last a long time, as it has a
natural resistance to decay. The downside is your screws or
nails may eventually loosen. Again, check your wood before
you stain to make sure it is dry enough. If you want to use
cedar for your decking, you must use a stronger wood, such
as pine for your framework.
Redwood: Redwood is a smooth-grained wood with a
natural resistance to insects and decay, but it is quite
expensive. Like cedar, you only want to use redwood for the
deck. Use treated pine or other lumber for framing.
Composite decking: The new composite decking comes in
a variety of styles and colors. This decking never needs
stain and weathers well, It is more expensive than wood, but
the low maintenance may make it worth your while. We
recommend running your joists 12” on center instead of the
normal 16” on center to make your deck stronger. For a 12
foot deck, this will mean you will need 1 extra joist, and
you will have a stronger deck in the long run.
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