How to Plan for Building a Deck

Get ready for your deck project with these helpful tips on how to plan the building process.

Building Deck

Building Deck

A man is planning and installing wood for a deck.

Photo by: EJ-J

EJ-J

By: Sean McEvoy
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Building a deck can be a daunting task, especially if it's your first time. However, with the right expert advice on how to plan for building a deck, your project can run smoothly and ultimately provide you with a relaxing and beautiful outdoor space to enjoy.

Your first task when planning to build a deck is to decide whether you're going to take on the project yourself, or hire professionals to help plan and build your deck. The general wisdom on decks is that they provide a "moderate-to-hard" challenge for even the handiest homeowners, so if you're slightly daunted by home improvement projects, you might want to hire a contractor to build your deck.

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Once you've decided the all-important "DIY vs. contractor" question, you'll need to determine what kind of deck suits your needs best. Can you simply build a deck on the ground? With only one step up, this kind of deck won't require stairs or protective railings. Are you looking for something more elaborate like a raised deck with stairs, or even a two-story behemoth with entrances on two different floors? You'll need to decide what type of deck you want to build before you proceed.

Whether you or someone else will be doing the actual building, you can generate a detailed deck building plan by utilizing many widely available digital deck planning tools. For example, many home improvement companies provide free-to-use deck design software, which will allow you to design a virtual deck before the first hammer is raised.

Deck calculators can also be a helpful resource as you begin planning to build a deck. These handy tools allow you to determine how much of any particular material you'll need for your deck based on its size, plus the approximate cost of the individual materials and the full project.

Planning for your deck project can seem overwhelming, but by answering a few key questions up front and making use of helpful digital tools, you can ensure that your deck will be ready in no time and built to your exact specifications.

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