If this is your first deck or patio project, keep it simple. Later, when you have gained expertise you can enhance your deck by extending its length and/or width, adding multi levels, steps and other features.
There are several wooden patio plans available on line or at building supply stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. Staff will help you calculate the wood and hardware you need as well as offering advice about choosing materials and building tools for this DIY project.
Don’t forget to use safety equipment including a hard hat, steel-toed work boots, safety glasses, work gloves, and ear protectors.
When choosing the wood for your deck or patio, look at options that were not available a decade ago. There are several manufactured materials and exotic woods now on the market in a wide price range. Consider the appearance, maintenance required for upkeep and the kind of weather your deck will experience.
If this is a first project, consider how costly the materials are and how tricky installation is going to be. Get yourself a good set of plans and follow them faithfully. When you are more experienced at building a wooden patio, you can add your own enhancements.
Your first challenge is installing posts to anchor the deck. Follow building instructions for how to use batter boards and masonry string lines to lay the footings. Use a posthole digger to dig holes at least a foot deep. Use tube forms so footings are level and an inch above the ground. This job will take a DIYer the better part of a day. Of course, the job will go faster and be more fun with a crew of DIYers.
The next step is to cement those posts in place. Don’t forget to leave tops of the posts open for adding the structure. Use ready-mix concrete. Place anchor bolts in the centre of each post before cement hardens and align those anchors with a board, making sure of diagonal measurements so the anchor positions are square. Allow at least four hours for cement work.
Next, you need to attach the beams to the post anchors. Doubled 2 x 6’s make the best beams. When you are attaching them to the post, anchors insert a half-inch shim between the beams at each footing. This job will take two or three hours. Make sure beams are aligned before taking the next step.
Follow deck instructions for adding rim joists and angle brackets. Attach inner joists to beam faces next. Make sure nails are hammered straight and they are flush with the boards.
Fasten decking. Make sure boards are aligned. Fasten twice in the centre of each joist and about an inch from the edge of each board.
Trim deck boards so edges are even.
Add a prefabricated railing or create one of your own.