Decks & Patios | | | | |
Flowers and Plants for Your Outside Deck
When You're Looking for New Patio Furniture
Installing a Brick Patio
Building a New Deck
Japanese Beetles
Your Guide to Pest Control

Building a New Deck

A deck is to a porch what a penthouse is to an upstairs apartment. This is one of the most magnificent ways to walk outside your house and enjoy the view of your property and beyond. Some people, depending on how big the deck, have chairs, plants, even a grill or jacuzzi for the enjoyment of their guests, their family, and themselves. If you would like to enjoy your own deck, here are the necessary steps.

First, determine where you plan to put the deck.  Off one of the already-existing doors is the logical place, but wherever it goes, make sure the area is clear of excess debris. The ground where your deck is to sit must be flat and clear. Here's how this will work: First we want to establish the deck's outer perimeter. You do that by measuring from each end of the ledger a foot and a half beyond the deck's outer edge. Hammer batter boards into the ground. Now run strings from each end of the ledger, making sure they stay taut. Connect them to the batter boards in order to establish the deck's sides. Now take a third string and run it between the batter boards in order to establish the deck's outer edge. You square your layout by measuring the opposite diagonals.  If the measurements are not equal, we adjust the batter board - to - ledger strings until they are.

Once you've established the deck's area, you have to double check to make sure there are no rocks or debris there. This is of critical importance.Once you're sure it's nice and clean, attach a ledger to the deck in order to determine the floor level. Secure the ledger in place with bolts as you fasten it to the wood. It's wise to tuck aluminum flashing under the siding so that water cannot get behind the boards. As you tuck the flash under, bend it down over the ledger; bend it down again in front of the ledger.

Next, it's time to make way for the footings--and this is a job that will be easier with at least two people. Dig holes about three feet deep for these.  It's best if you use a post-digger for this job (If you don't have one, you can rent them for somewhere between $45-$60 a day). Some people prefer filling the holes with alternating layers of dirt and gravel, but it's probably easiest to pour in concrete. One person holds the post steady as the other person pours and mixes.

Once the posts are stabilized, you need to secure the beams to them. Decide how high you want the deck to be (which is how high the beams will come on the posts). Mark all sides of the posts. Now attach the posts to the beam. After this, you need to attach the joists. You place the joists on two-foot centers and then attach them to the beams and ribbon joist.

The next step is installation of the deck board. This will require zinc-coated sixteen-penny nails. Separate the boards with a spacer (A small finish nail will work nicely). Set the boards end-to-end on the joists. Now nail the boards into the place. If there is overhang of the boards, you can trim this or add a fascia board.

The deck is almost completed now, but you need to install the railing. First install the railing posts, spacing them as far a part as you want. The railing, which can be picked up from a home-improvement store, will easily attach by just following the included directions.

And the last step is well, the last step...and the first one. You have to install the steps to get from the ground to the deck. Measure the height off the ground, and then decide how steep the stairs should go. If you don't want them very steep, you'll have to start them further out from the house. But if you don't want steps out very far, then you have to compromise by allowing for a certain "steepness." It's one or the other.

But regardless, if plan ahead and take your time, your new deck will give you years of enjoyment.

Houston Limousine

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