Build A Deck In 7 Steps

Whether you’re tearing down your old deck or installing one for the first time, there are multiple steps to keep in mind throughout the process. At first, the project may seem daunting, but with these steps, you’ll be lounging on your new deck in no time.

Below we will outline the tools you will need, what material you can choose from and seven steps to building your dream deck.

First Pick The Right Materials

When building a deck, you need to think about the materials you want to use. Should you go with wood? Vinyl? Composite? Each has its benefits and potential drawbacks. Only you can really decide the best deck material for your project.

Here’s a list of a few commonly used decking materials:

Pressure-treated lumber: Popular for its affordability and durability, this decking material is ideal for those who want a wood look without paying the price for natural wood. Pressure-treated lumber is also easy to work with, unlike natural wood.

Composite: Generally, a slightly more expensive option to pressure-treated lumber. This material is made out of natural wood fibres and durable resin. Composite decking is known for its durability, and you won’t have to worry about maintenance. With many colours and styles to choose from, you won’t need to spend time sanding or staining. Keep in mind that composite decking can get extremely hot in direct sunlight and can become slippery when wet.

Cedar: This option is resistant to insect damage and decay. Popular for its texture and look, cedar is lighter and easier to work with than pressure-treated wood, but it is also more expensive.

Tools You Need

  • Tape Measure
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Impact Driver
  • Level & Post Level
  • Shovel

Materials You Will Need

  • Concrete Forming Tube
  • Batter Boards
  • String
  • Post-Hold Concrete
  • Joist Hanger
  • Deck Crews
  • Posts
  • Joists
  • Deck Railing & Boards
  • Deck Stair Stringer
building a deck

The 7 Steps To Your New Deck

Plan Out Your Deck:

Draw out what you envision. Think about how big you want it to be, and where you want to build it. What kind of furniture pieces do you want to add? Take a walk around your neighbourhood to get inspiration or save images you find online that speak to you. Lastly, always be sure to call Alberta One Call to have an inspector identify and mark any underground utility lines. Also, make sure to check if you need any permits from your local municipality before you begin any work.

Build The Framework:

First, you will need batter boards and string to measure out from your house to the farthest post’s outside edge. This will act as a blueprint to measure how the frame will look and where the deck’s corners will be.

Ensure you measure the strings with a line level, as they should be stretched out tightly. Next, get a tape measure and either spray paint or flag to mark out where the post holes will go. Depending on where the frost line is, dig the holes for the footings and cut a level line on each form to the appropriate length, leaving a few inches above the ground. Once you have levelled the concrete tubing forms, backfill the dirt.

Prepare The Post Anchors:

Following the concrete mix instructions, pour cement into the footings and insert the post anchor bolts into the footer’s center, approximately 1-inch above the surface. Note that you will need to leave sufficient time for the concrete to harden fully. Once it has set, attach the post anchors.

building a deck

Setting Beam Height:

Measure the distance from the house to the ground, then subtract an inch off the far post to determine the height. This 1-inch difference is to allow for proper water flow. Next, place the beams and use brackets to secure the posts to the post anchors with nails.

This is a good time to double-check that the beams are square before securing them to the post. The joists should be placed every 16-inches. Using a measuring tape, mark off each spot before nailing down the joists. Using a power drill, attach the rim joists to the beams’ ends, and then the joist hangers to the beam faces.

Installing The Deck Boards:

At this point, your deck will look like it has a solid structure. Now it is time to install the boards. Line up the edge of the first length of the decking board with the beam’s outside edge. For every board, drill two screws every 16-inches into the joists. Depending on the material you’re working with, allow for a sufficient gap between each board. Again, double-check every few boards to ensure they are straight.

Adding The Railings:

Check with your inspector what railing height is allowed. Space out each post evenly before drilling them down. When working with wood, you will need to measure and cut each piece.

If you bought a pre-assembled railing kit, you still have to space them out and drill it in place.

Time For Stairs:

We’re almost done! If you want stairs coming off your deck, you will need to pour a concrete landing pad for the bottom step. Measure the height in inches, then divide the measurement by 7 – which is the ideal height for each step – to calculate how many steps you will need. For example, 63 ÷ 7 = 9, which means you will have nine risers. Cut the stair stringers, then nail down the deck boards the same way as step 5.

Congratulations! You have finished building your deck. You can add the final touches with accessories, furniture pieces, or a barbeque. Once you’ve customized it to your liking, you can now kick back and relax on your beautiful new deck.


Do you want to add a more personal touch to your outdoor living space? Contact Landscape 360 today to request an estimate.