There are many ways to build a deck. One of the most common ways is to attach it to the house’s exterior walls. Many also choose to raise it above ground-level to reduce problems, such as moisture damage, insect infestation, and rot and decay. While many homeowners choose to have builders construct their composite decking, it is possible to do it yourself. It can be challenging, especially for beginners. But with the right equipment, a helping hand or two, and the proper guidance, you won’t need to hire tradespeople to build it for you. Here is how you install a raised deck attached to your house.
Design and Planning
The first step in deck building is the design and planning stage. The success of the installation rests on this step. One of the few things you will have to consider is the layout of your deck. How tall and how wide will it be? In which part of your house will you attach it?
Aside from the design, you’ll also have to choose what materials to use. For the frame, the best choices are either pressure-treated wood or resistant softwoods. Composite lumber and metal framing are also excellent options. For the flooring boards, wood is among the cheapest you can get, while PVC is very durable. Composite decking is also one of the best options, as it’s wood-like, long-lasting, and durable.
You’ll want to consider your budget and create a timeframe. Prepare for unexpected expenses, especially if it’s your first time building a deck. You’ll also want to give an adequate amount of time to finish the installation, considering factors that may affect the project.
Lastly, building a raised deck will require permits. You will have to comply with all the requirements and follow your local building codes when building and designing improvement projects such as decking.
Attach the Ledger Board
The first thing you will want to do is attach the ledger board to your home’s exterior wall. It is a horizontal board that will serve as the guide and the anchor for your elevated deck. For this reason, you’ll want to ensure to do this as best as you can. Failure to do so can compromise the structural integrity and stability of your deck.
The size of the ledger board depends on the design of your deck. You will also have to follow specific building codes when attaching it to your home’s exterior wall. For instance, they can tell you what bolts or screws to use and how deep it should penetrate the walls when adding the board to the house. You will have to remove any siding or cladding material on your wall before fixing the ledger board to the wall. Make sure that it’s level using a spirit level.
Prepare the Foundation
Next, you will have to prepare the deck’s foundation to prepare for the footings and the posts. First, you will want to outline the area according to your design. You may decide to remove the grass and weeds on the installation area, especially if the deck will be closer to the ground. Next, dig holes for the deck footing at least six inches below the frost line, which is the depth at which the soil freezes. Doing so ensures the stability of the posts. Make sure the hole is vertically straight or plumb.
You can dig the holes the traditional way or use equipment to make it easier. Next, compact the bottom layer. You can also fill it a few inches of gravel to improve drainage. Lastly, fill the hole with structural-strength cement, making sure it’s compact. Attach the metal post anchor at the top and let the concrete dry for a day or two.
Attach the Beams, Posts, and Joists
Once the cement is dry, fasten the deck posts to the metal footing anchor using structural screws. Then, start attaching the support beams. Attach them to the ledger board while sitting crown side up on top of the deck posts. You will need to cut the deck posts to appropriate lengths. Next, attach the rim joists to both ends of the ledger board. They are the outer frame of your deck. Make sure to square it before screwing it in place.
After the attaching posts, beams, and rim joists, the next step is to move on to the floor joists. Mark the joist spacing on the ledger board depending on your local code, usually 16 inches on centre. Attach the floor joists using deck brackets. You can use bracing when necessary. Lastly, trim them according to length and attach the front rim joist.
Install the Deck Rail Posts, Rails, Boards, and Stairs
After building the subframe, you’ll want to start installing the decking boards. You can either place them inside the frame or outside the rim joists. Plan the distance between each post and attach them using bracers and anchors. Next, install the decking boards starting from the side adjacent to the house. Fix them in place using your preferred fastening system.
Lastly, install the upper and lower rails on the rail posts. Then, install rail caps on the top of the rail posts, and attach the balustrades between the rail posts. If necessary, install the decking stairs. You can also get pre-made rails and stairs.