Dream Decks and Patios

How to Build a Backyard Deck

Host Steve Watson helps a homeowner build a backyard deck.

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After: A new deck adds a fantastic area for outdoor entertaining.

Materials and Tools:

six 12-foot long 2x8 pressure-treated boards
30 8-foot long 2x8 pressure-treated boards
70 joist hangers
eight 3-1/2" saddles
chalk line
circular saw
cordless drill with battery and magnetic screw tip
line level
measuring tape
palm nailer
post hole diggers
power miter box
safety glasses
string line

Figure A


1. Lay out the perimeter of the deck using a mason string line and stakes. This project was 12 feet wide by 24 feet long. Level the strings so you have a base line to measure off.

2. Dig a total of eight holes for your concrete footers. Dig a 12-inch diameter by 24-inch deep hole at each corner and at eight feet from each corner along the long side.

3. Drop in a 22-inch long piece of 10-inch diameter Sonotube and level the tube. Measure down from the string line to set the height of your tube. It is essential to keep the tops of the Sonotubes level, because we will be setting the band boards directly on the concrete. There will be no posts.

Figure B

4. Pour three bags of quick-set concrete in each hole and add water to mix the concrete in the hole. You don't need to mix the quick-set prior to putting it in the hole. Level the concrete to the top of the tube and set a metal saddle in each footer.

Figure C

5. Wait 30 minutes for the concrete to set up. While you're waiting, pull the string line and start cutting the joists to length.

Figure D

6. Set the band boards starting along the short end by cutting a 2x8 to 12-feet long. Run an 8-foot 2x8 down one side, from the corner to the first saddle. Then do the opposite end the same way. Cut the third 2x8 along the side to fit between the first two 8-foot 2x8s. You should have a 12-foot 2x8 on each end, and a run of three 2x8s up each side and the perimeter should be 12 by 24-feet.

7. Set your double inner beams into the saddles you set earlier.

Figure E

8. At this point, nail your end bands to the double inner beams.

Figure F

9. Set the same on your next set of saddles. Now you should have a 12-foot end band, two 12-foot double inner beams and another 12-foot end band. And you should have 22-feet of 2x8 (in three sections) along each side.

Figure G

10. Now, add the 8-foot joists between the inner beams on 16-inch centers. Don't forget the joist hangers.

Figure H

11. Now add the decking. Let it run about 2-inches long on each end. After all the decking is down, snap a chalk line and cut off the ends with a circular saw. Be sure to use your spacer blocks to leave a 1/4-inch gap between boards.

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