Porch Deck and Patio

Porch, Deck, + Patio

Outdoor Projects

How to Build a DIY Wood Deck

Building a deck is not as overwhelming as you may think

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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 120 Projects

Deck-building is a project you’ll tackle in stages, no matter what design you choose. Before you begin construction, review the photos on these two pages. They outline the basic procedure you’ll want to follow when building your deck. The chapters to follow will explore each of these stages extensively.

Be sure to gather your tools and materials before you begin the project, and arrange to have a helper available for the more difficult stages. Check with local utilities for the location of underground electrical, telephone, or water lines before digging the footings. Apply for a building permit, where required, and make sure a building inspector has approved the deck design before beginning work.

The time it takes to build a deck depends on the size and complexity of the design as well as your building skills. If you're comfortable using tools and start with thorough, accurate plans, you should be able to complete a single-level deck in a few weekends.


  1. RN0730_56A

    Install a ledger to anchor the deck to the house and to serve as reference for laying out footings. Use batterboards and mason’s strings to locate footings, and check for square by measuring diagonals.

  2. RN0730_57A

    Pour concrete post footings, and install metal post anchors. Set and brace the posts, attach them to the post ­anchors, and mark posts to show where the beam will be attached.

  3. RN0730_57B

    Fasten the beam to the posts. Install the outside joists and header joist using galvanized nails.

  4. RN0730_56B

    Install metal joist hangers on the ledger and header joist, then hang the remaining joists. Most decking patterns require joists that are spaced 16" on center.

  5. RN0730_56C

    Lay decking boards, and trim them with a circular saw. If desired for appearance, cover pressure‑treated header and outside joists with redwood or cedar facing boards.

  6. RN0730_57C

    Build the deck stairs. Stairs provide access to the deck and establish traffic patterns.

  7. RN0730_57D

    Install a railing around the deck and stairway. A railing adds a decorative touch and may be required on any deck that is more than 30" above the ground. If desired, finish the underside of the deck.

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