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Home Building A Wood Deck
Building A Wood Deck PDF Print E-mail

In this article, you will learn about:

Where to Start
Material Choices

Would you like to have a nice, spacious and beautiful wood deck overlooking your backyard?

Wood decks provide a place for you to keep your BBQ grill, lawn chairs and umbrella, and to entertain guests, have cook outs, and spend time with the family.

Building a wood deck is a satisfying job for a homeowner who wants a chance to improve his home in a practical manner.

Through elbow grease and sweat equity, you can put a little of yourself back into your home.

Before you get started…

Before you get started, you’ll need to gather the correct tools, check local building codes, and look for any restrictions imposed by your homeowners' association.

The tools you’ll need include a hammer and nails, a straightedge, a tape measure, a pencil or marking device, a level, a framing square, a circular saw or table saw, and a hand saw. You’ll also need a good set of plans or instructions.

By checking local building codes, you’ll know what specifications, permits and inspections are required for the construction of a wood deck.

Your community’s homeowners' association may also require you to submit a detailed plan for approval.

First and foremost, to begin building a wood deck you will need a plan. You must consider the space, attaching the deck to the house, access to the deck, slope of the surrounding yard, and existing structures or trees that may be in the way.

Material Choices

When your plan for building a wood deck is complete, it's time to decide on the material that will best suite your needs.

You can choose from Pressure-Treated Wood, Redwood and Cedar, Tropical Hardwoods, Wood Composites, Vinyl, Aluminum, and Concrete.

Whatever material you choose, your local lumberyard can use your drawing to approximate the amount of material that you will need and deliver it to you when you are ready to start building.


When it comes to building the deck stairs, in addition to the codes you must follow, keep comfort and safety in mind.

Whenever possible, build deck stairs with a six inch rise. Rise refers to the vertical distance from one tread to the next tread. Run refers to the horizontal depth of the tread.

Deeper treads add safety when the stairs are wet or during winter weather when they may be covered with ice or snow.


Next, decide on the material for your deck railings. Materials available for deck rail design include natural timber, metal, and plastic for transparent railings. For more information on these types of railings see our article on Deck Rail Design.

Most traditional homes have natural timber railings. Natural timber is an easy material to work with, even for the less experienced craftsman; it can look exceptional when finished and treated to be weather resistant. Most do-it-yourselfers who are building deck railings choose natural timber as the material to work with.

When you plan carefully for building your wood deck, you will end up with a beautiful, practical wood deck to use long in the future.