Is it Hard to Build a Deck Yourself?

A deck is a great way to enhance your home and outdoor living space. Whether it’s a small addition off your family room, or a large patio that’s perfect for entertaining friends and family, decks are one of the most popular do-it-yourself projects for homeowners.

Whether you’re new to do-it-yourself projects or you’re a seasoned professional, you may wonder is it hard to build a deck yourself? The answer is that it depends on several factors, including your skill level and budget.

Fully Understand the Construction

First, make sure you understand all aspects of building a deck from beginning to end. That includes understanding what materials will work best for your climate and location, as well as planning for the amenities you want to include on your new structure, such as a grill or hot tub.

Determine your budget

When it comes to deciding whether or not you can build a deck yourself, the size of the project matters a lot. If you need a larger deck than you can afford, it’s probably time to seek out a contractor.

Plan for Safety

The basic support structure for a deck must be squared up and tied together in order to safely hold the weight of people and furniture on it. This is especially important if you have plans to host large bashes, such as barbeques or parties.

Decide how deep you want the deck to be off the ground (according to your plans), and measure it with a string level to find out the height you need to drive timber stakes into the ground at the corners of the deck. Wrap the string after each stake and check to ensure the heights are identical.

Mark out the Location and Horizon set outs

Next, mark out the dimensions of your deck in pencil on the wall of your house or a piece of wood if you’re building on concrete. Then create rough layouts using the timber or composite you’re going to use for your deck.

Install a Ledger Board

Once the location is established and the horizon set out, install a ledger board to the back of the house or building. This will be the base for securing your deck to the house, and it’ll keep the top boards of the deck from sagging. It will also serve as a guide to nailing the top decking boards in place.

Lay a Batter Board Outside Each Corner

Once you have the ledger board in place, attach a batter board to each side of the ledger board by stretching a string line at right angles to it on each side (see Photos 6-8). The strings will form a guide to help you align the batter boards to each other and nail them to the ledger board.

Assemble the Posts

If you’re building an attached deck, assemble the posts with foundation-grade 2x4s and 2x6s, dropping them into their holes below their future cut-off level. Then, lay temporary 2x10s alongside each post to help position it.