How To Build A Simple Deck

Build A Simple Deck

The decking is 5/4 inches thick and topped by a concrete pier and ledger board. The decking shown features a pressure-treated floor frame. The deck was only one step in height, so no railings were required. Just follow Tom’s advice, and you can create your own backyard oasis. This is a great idea to make your neighbors jealous.

The anatomy of a deck

A deck that is built on grade, just above ground level, does not require railings, posts, or steps. It has the same structural components as any deck: joists. beams. and piers. The first step in building one is to determine the size of the framing materials.

Tom Silva follows these simple rules: For rim beams or rim-joists, the nominal width of the boards (in inches) must match the span in feet. Two 2x10s are needed for a 10-foot rim joist. The ledger can be made with a single board of the same width. Tom adds two to the span of an interior beam. For example, a beam spanning 8 feet would require a 2×6. Round up any odd numbers or fractions by the next even number.

How To Build A Deck

Step 1: Attach the ledger.

Cover the exposed sheathing with a self-adhering waterproof membrane. Cover the exposed sheathing using a self-adhesive waterproof membrane.

Mark the exact position of the top of your ledger. By code, the step to the finished decking which sits on top of the ledger must be between 4 and 7 3/4 inches from the door sill. Snap a chalk-level line.

For every 2 feet in ledger length, cut a treated wood spacer that is 2 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches thick. Align the top edge of each spacer to the chalk line, and secure with 6d nails.

The ledger should be aligned with the tops of the spacers. Nail it to the wall with 16d nails at each spacer. The joints between the ledger boards must fall on spacers.

In a zigzag fashion, drill a three 3/8-inch pilot through the ledger into the rim joist of the house at each spacer. Insert a 1/2-inch lag screw in each hole and tighten the screw against a washer with an impact wrench or a socket wrench.

Step 2: Protect your ledger.

Cut a 6-inch wide strip of the waterproof membrane that is the same width as the ledger.

Fold the membrane along its centerline to create a right angle. It is applied over the joint between the ledger and house so that one leg covers the top of the spacer blocks and the ledger, and the other leg extends upwards.

Cut a metal flashing strip at least 6 inches in width and the length of the ledger. If you need more than one flashing, simply overlap the ends of each strip by 3 inches before covering them with siliconized acrylic caulk.

Fold the metal in half lengthways to create a right angle. It is then applied over the waterproof membrane. Every 8 inches, drive roofing nails into the top edge of the flashing.

Use joist nailers to fasten the double-flange concealed-flange joists at both ends and flush with their bottom edge.

Step 3: Install piers and footings.

Install batter boards and mason’s strings, and mark the footings at the deck’s corners. Also, determine the locations of the footings at eight-foot intervals on the rim joist. Mark each location and then remove Mason’s strings temporarily.

Dig a hole at each footing position that is large enough to accommodate the footing form and deep enough to extend beneath the frost line.

Position the footings and piers in each hole. Gently backfill.

Run a straight line from the top ledger to each pier tube. Measure down from this line 1/16 inch for every foot the pier is away from the house, plus the heights of the post base and rim joist. At this point, mark the form. Repeat this process for each pier. Trim the pier tubes to these marks.

Adjust the position of the piers if needed. Pour concrete into the voids, and use a shovel above to remove any air pockets. Let the concrete cure for a week.

Step 4: Install post bases and side rim joists.

Mark the location of a post base and place it on top of a pier. Make sure it does not interfere with the joist hangers. Remove the post base, and use a hammer drill equipped with a bit for masonry to bore into the pier. Reposition the post base. Insert an anchor bolt and tighten using an impact wrench. Repeat this process for each pier.

Double-sided side rim beams and joists are made from 2x pressure-treated stock. Nail them together with 12d nails in a zigzag design, spacing them every 16 inches. Glue up the joists and beams with construction adhesive.

Fit the side rim joist in the joist hanger on the ledger at the other end, square the corners, and nail the hanger through with 16d nails. Rest the opposite end of the joist on a corner pier. Repeat the process with the opposite side joist. Remove Mason’s string as needed.

For the deck’s rim joist, use 2x pressure-treated stock. By varying the length of boards, stagger butt joints. Make sure that joints are in the middle anchors.

Step 5: Install the front rim joist, beams, and interior joists.

Attach double-joist hangers with concealed flanges to the inner ends of the rim joists. Fit the inner 2xs to the post bases.

Install a side rim beam into the front hanger and square up the corner. Hanger’s nails are used to secure the front rim-joist two times on the base of the posts. Drive six 16d screws through the front rim beam and into the side rim beam. Repeat the process with the second side rim beam.

Fix double-joist hangers flush to the bottom edge of each rim joist or ledger every 8 feet along their front edges.

As described above, nail each beam.

The doubled front rim beam is completed by nailing and gluing the outer two xs to the interior two xs.

Install two joist hangers 16 inches apart along the beams. Once inserted, the joists should be flush against the top edge of the rim joists and beams.

Step 6: Installing the front rim joists, beams, and interior joists.

Fit and nail the joists to the hangers.

Tip: Install the joist crown-side-up if it has a slight curve along its edge.

Step 7: Attach trim and decking.

Paint-grade trim boards are as wide as rim joists and should be nailed to the outside face with two hot-dipped galvanized nails or stainless-finish nails every 12 to 16 in. Any joints along the run should be taped; miter the corners.

Add 1 inch to the length of the deck boards. This is the length of the deck boards.

On the side rim joist, squeeze a small bead on top of it. This adhesive is what holds the decking into place. Place a deck board straight in the adhesive so that its long edge extends 1 inch beyond the trim board. Each end of the board should be secured with an 8d finish nail.

To maintain a consistent spacing, tack 8d finishing nails into the joists along the first board. Apply adhesive to the top of each joist. As before, lay and nail the second deck board. Continue to glue and nail until the deck is completed. Add more nails if the board is not flat or straight.

Replace the siding of your house to within 1/2 inch to 1 inch from the decking.