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Deck Plans

This comprehensive deck building checklist, with planning-stage questions and deck materials list, will get your project on the right footing.

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Spare yourself some hassle and headache, as well as last-minute deck building budget busters, by going over this project checklist of essentials. Though it won't cover everything needed for special upgrades, such as a fireplace or full outdoor kitchen, checking your plans against these points should keep your deck building project on the right track.

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Planning:

  • Does the deck comply with area building codes?
  • Is there plenty of space for planned outdoor activities?
  • Is there enough space for amenities and furnishings, such as patio tables and chairs, and for the people who will use them?
  • Will traffic flow easily between the house and the deck?
  • Is it easy to access the yard from the deck?
  • Are individual spaces for specific uses designated on a large deck?
  • Will the deck work well visually with the house?
  • Will at least a portion of the deck be shaded, if desired, during peak use times?
  • If privacy is a concern, are privacy screens planned?
  • Does the deck include storage elements, such as built-ins or access doors?
  • Do you have detailed plans of the final deck design?
  • If you plan to work with contractors, builders, and other professionals, have you reviewed and signed contracts specifying all work, materials, and responsibilities?
  • For more information go to Build a Deck.

Components:

  • Does your project list include all project components that follow?
  • Have you budgeted for all the project components?

Lumber:

  • Substructure (ledgers, joists, posts, beams)
  • Railings (rail posts, balusters, top rails)
  • Stairway parts (stringers, risers, treads)
  • Decking

Fasteners:

  • Post anchors
  • Joist hangers
  • Bolts
  • Screws
  • Nails

Finishes:

  • Stain
  • Sealer
  • Paint

Other Deck Materials:

  • Alternate materials planned for decking and railings
  • Skirting
  • Fill for under deck, such as weed-blocking landscape fabric and river rock

Labor

  • Site clearing and prep
  • Digging footings
  • Pouring footings
  • Constructing substructure
  • Installing decking
  • Building stairs
  • Installing railings
  • Finishing deck

Special Features

  • Do the final deck plans account for any special features, such as an outdoor kitchen, spa, or gazebo?
  • Will structural elements adequately support heavy features, such as a spa?
  • If plans include adding a special feature later, will proper prep work-such as roughing in utilities-be done during initial construction prep work?
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