Build a Deck: A Step-by-Step Guide from Start to Finish

Design, plan, and build your own deck with these guidelines that walk you through every step in the process, from getting a permit to buying lumber to maintaining the finished deck.



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Decks are for expansive living, so be sure your deck will be large enough to allow for seating.
PHOTO: ORION SALES COMPANY
Deck Plans Diagram 12 x 16
This 12' × 16' deck rests on a ledger and 6 piers supporting 2 paired 2 × 8 beams. Joists are 6' long, supported on hangers. Use short boards (10s and 6s), staggering joints.
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Designing a simple four-square deck and doing the elementary masonry and carpentry yourself, you can add 100 cents of every dollar you spend directly onto the market value of your home.
DEBRA TETREAULT
Deck Plan Diagram 5x10
A 5' × 10' entry deck plan.
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Ledger to Wood-Framed Wall
Ledger to Wood-Framed Wall
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Deck and Wall Details
Deck and Wall Details
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Framing Elevation
1. 2 × 10 rim joist2. Existing stone foundation wall3. 2 × 4 stud wall framed 16" on center against stone4. Double 2 × 10 beam5. 4 × 4 foundation post6. Steel post base7. 8”-diameter concrete pier8. 4 × 4 railing posts fastened to joists9. 2 × 10 rim joist10. Double 2 × 4 top plate11. 2 × 4 stud wall framed 16” on center against stone12. J-bolt anchor13. Concrete foundation wall poured against stone wall14. Rubble stone wall15. Poured-concrete pad16. 2 × 6 top rail17. 2 × 12 stair stringer18. 2 × 4 bottom rail19. 2 × 4 treads20. 14”21. 2 × 4 decking22. 7”23. 2 × 6 cap24. 42 ¾”
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Deck Structural Anatomy
Joists should cantilever no more than one-fifth their total length
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Deck Corner 1
The Well-Crafted Corner: Notched Post and Mitered Rim Joists 1. Inner rim joists butt against sides of post2. Outer rim joists are mitered at corner3. 6 × 6 post is notched to create shoulders which support rim joists  
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Framing Details for Stairway
Framing details for stairway.
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1. 4×4 railing post2. 2×6 decking installed at 45º angle to joists3. 2×4 blocking nailed to brace and between joints4. 2×10 joist5. 7 1/2" × 3/4"- diameter machine bolts.
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Deck Corner 2
The Well-Crafted Corner: Rim Joists against and outside the post  1. Inner rim joists butt against post2. Lag screws driven over washers3. Outer rim joist4. Nail through overlapping rim joist into end grain of adjacent joist 
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Deck Corner 3
The Well-Crafted Corner: Rim Joists outside the post with Mitered Skirt Boards  1. Foundation post2. Doubled rim joists installed in overlapping pattern3.4 × 4 post4. One-by cedar, redwood, or pine skirt boards cover rim joists and are mitered at deck corners. 
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