newly constructed wooden deck

How the Deck Building Process Works

Decks make for an excellent addition to any home’s exterior. When you build a deck, you unlock new space to host family gatherings, grill some burgers for dinner, or simply relax after a long day’s work. If you’re just starting to look into building a deck, you may be overwhelmed by the whole process. We’re here to help. Building a deck is actually simpler than it may seem when you work with an experienced deck contractor. Here are the 4 steps to building a deck.

Design & Materials

The first step you’ll be taking with your contractor is to plan out the design and materials of your future deck. As you design your deck, you’ll want to plan for all of the ways you will use your outdoor living space.. This means you need to think about the type of furniture you’ll purchase for your deck, including extras like a grill or fire pit, when determining the layout of your deck. Think about the amount of foot traffic across your deck, where you’ll want stairs, and how many people you’ll have on your deck at once. Your contractor will design a layout with all of these aspects in mind and you could even come up with some ideas using an online deck designing tool to help their final design.

After the design is complete, you’ll need to choose which materials to construct your deck out of. You’ll essentially be making a choice between wood or plastic composite materials called vinyl. There are many options within those two broad categories, such as hardwood or pressure-treated wood, but wood vs vinyl is the biggest decision. Wooden decking will require more maintenance than plastic but it’s cheaper and can be stained to any color. Plastic vinyl decking is more durable but also more expensive and limited in color options. Discuss the pros and cons with your contractor and then they’ll purchase the materials to begin construction.

Acquire Building Permits

For most people building decks, you’ll need to acquire a building permit. Check with your contractor or local zoning board to know for sure. In Pennsylvania, we’re subject to the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (UCC) and further local regulations. The UCC requires a permit for any deck that is greater than 30 inches above the grade at any point. Local regulations can be more stringent. Most permits also require an inspection once construction is completed. When you acquire your permit from your local zoning board, ask them about scheduling the inspection as well.

Site Preparation

After the materials have been bought and your permit is secured, your contractor will prepare the site. They’ll begin by marking off the area which will be covered by the deck and you’ll have one last chance to make any adjustments before construction begins. Then your contractor removes the topsoil and compact the ground. This ensures a strong foundation. Then, they’ll lay landscaping fabric and gravel base over the area and cast or lay concrete deck footings to place the posts.

deck construction in progressConstruction

With the strong foundation laid, your contractor will begin constructing the actual deck. They start with the posts and ledger. These are your connections to the wall and ground to which the frame will be attached. The frame starts with the rim joist, then interior joists are attached, and finally the perpendicular beams are installed. Railing is installed after the frame is complete, along with any stairs that are a part of your design. Lastly, the finishing touch to your deck is the decking itself, laid along the frame and steps with a slight overhang.

Start Building Your Deck Today

Now that you understand the process to build a deck, are you ready to start? Contact Deer Ridge Construction today! We’ll help you every step of the way, from design through construction.

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