Building a DIY Deck: What You Should Know

Constructing your own DIY deck is a doable task, but it takes research and skill. Here are a few things you'll need to know before tackling this project.


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There are thousands of DIY decks built each year, some by novices, some by experienced home DIY pros. Unlike a paver patio, a DIY deck is a more complex project that involves careful consideration of materials and construction. Here's an overview of key terms and questions to ask before thinking about building your own deck.

Do you understand construction language?

As you research DIY decks, you're likely to run across some common terms. They include:

  • Decking: Decking is installed over a frame.
  • Joists: Joists are horizontal pieces that help to support a floor or ceiling. Rim joists are the outermost joists in a frame.
  • Cap rail: A cap rail adds a decorative finish to the tops of rails.
  • Beams: Beams support a deck horizontally.
  • Posts: Posts support a deck vertically.
  • Footings: Footings are the way a deck supports a base and its load.
  • Face: A board's wide surfaces.
  • Edge: The longer sides of a board.
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