Deck Building Tips
Building a deck is certainly within the skill levels of most homeowners and weekend do-it-yourselfers. There are not a lot of complicated framing issues and the power tool requirements are quite modest. However, there are a few things you need to be aware of before you even start building your new deck.
The first place to start is always at the township office. Talk to the building inspector to find out exactly what code requirements there are in your municipality. Ask about things like footer depths and setbacks from property lines. You do not want to build a deck only having to tear it down later because your footers are two inches too short or you encroached upon the property line by a foot. They will also provide you with some good tips and points to help you pass the inspection quickly which will make your building project finish faster and safer.
Next, check out some books with pictures of existing decks to get some creative ideas about what you can do with your deck. Sure, you can build a simple rectangle. But for the same amount of time and money you might be able to add a second level or curve the front of your deck or create a shape more harmonious with your landscaping. A book about decks will open up your creativity and let you see more potential in your new deck.
Then it comes time to planning your deck. This is where you want to spend the major of your time. The more time spent planning will lead to a more productive building time. If you spend a lot of time planning, you will foresee many of the problems you might run into and come up with solutions before they become big problems. This is the most crucial portion of the building process. There are many software packages available that will help you design and plan your deck. They are invaluable!
With good software, you can layout your deck quickly and see how it will look. But more importantly, software will allow you to print out a materials list that you can take to the local home center or lumber yard and get competitive quotes on your project. The amount you save on a bid for your materials might more than offset the cost of the software.