Tips and Tricks for Building a Multilevel Deck

Increase your outdoor space with a multilevel deck. We have tips for laying out the site, installing beams, trimming the edges, and more.

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If you don't have a ton of horizontal yard space, consider building vertically. A multilevel deck is a great way to increase your yard's function and enjoy the great outdoors. 

Building a multilevel deck is trickier than building a single-level deck. Our expert tips will guide you through every step of the process, from laying out the site to adding final touches. Read on for the resources to make your multilevel deck dreams a reality. 

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How to Lay Out the Site

Once you've picked a location for your deck, the next step is to lay out the site. This multi-step process is crucial to get right, as it lays the groundwork for the rest of the deck. Get started by installing a ledger for each level. Then, you'll need to build batterboards, run string lines, check for square, and mark footing locations. We walk you through the entire process here. 

How to Lay Beams and Joists

Your multilevel deck really starts to take shape once you lay the beams and joists. Both steps are fairly time consuming (expect to spend six hours installing beams and four to five hours installing joists), but it's crucial that you don't cut any corners. Beams and joists are extremely important for overall deck safety and stability, and we'll show you how to properly install both for a two-story deck. 

How to Deck with a Center Strip

Once the beams and joists are installed, it's time to start laying the deck. We use the center strip method to ensure a uniform space between boards. Expect to spend about 8 hours cutting and laying boards for a 300-square-foot deck. You can view the full how-to here. 

How to Trim the Edges

Adding decorative trim to your deck is optional, but it makes a strong style impact. Plus, installation is super simple. Just cut the trim and attach it to the edges of the boards. See the full 4-step process here. 

How to Build Deep and Wide Stairs

Deep and wide stairs are ideal for the lower level of your deck. They add an elegant touch and make a graceful transition to the yard below. You'll use stringers attached to a crossbrace and a toe-kick to install the stairs, and we'll show you exactly how to do it here

How to Install Railing

Railings are important on any deck, but especially one with multiple levels. This tutorial walks you through the process of building and installing railings. You'll learn how to evenly space posts, attach posts to joists, reinforce the top rails, and more. 

How to Add Skirting

If the first level of your multi-tiered deck is high enough that you can see under it, consider skirting to cover the footings and framing. This decorative touch not only looks pretty, but it also makes under-the-deck storage a cinch. Learn how to install skirting here. 

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