Over and over again you think about what it would be like to have a big deck in your yard. It's common that this idea is put aside until maybe next year because you simply don't have time for it. The process of building a deck can be a very intimidating project for a homeowner, but if its going to be attempted you might as well be prepared. Deck building is all about attention to detail and careful craftsmanship. As you begin the process you will need to learn the basics. For example, you need to get familiar with all the different supplies that will be included in deck building. Whether that be fasteners or what kinds of boards to use. Take your time during the process though because that will help insure your deck will be done correctly and will last longer. All decks are unique in their own way, so always leave room in the budget for surprises and if you don't end up using that extra money you can always purchase new deck furniture or a grill perhaps. Since all decks are unique there is no specific way to build a deck, use your creativity. Although there are a few pointers that will help you build a better deck. Here are a few tips to help you get started!

  1. Take advantage of what is given to you..  Pre-cut deck parts are a great example, often there will be pre-cut items at the local home improvement stores. Purchasing items like stair stringers and spindles will save you a big headache and speed up the deck building process as well. 
  2. Choose your lumber carefully..  Most decks are built with pressure-treated lumber, but this doesn't mean you have to follow suit and since every deck is unique the choice is really in your own hands. Composite wood can be a little more expensive but will often be more worth your while in the end due to the warranty of at least 20 years that it carries. 
  3. The base for your posts.. In the past it has been common that posts were just put in the dirt. However this has proven to be a bad practice. It is now recommend that you place a level concrete pad for the post to sit on and then seal the post end and use bases to prevent any moisture wicking that would otherwise occur.
  4. Flashing..  To protect your deck it important you use flashing so that there isn't water getting between the deck and the structure it is attached to since this could lead to rotting. Use ledger flashing across the tops of the boards that are in direct contact with any building and than apply flashing tape so that it is half on the building and half on the ledger. This flashing will redirect the water away from the space between the boards and building. 
  5. The hidden parts..  It can be easy to forget about the parts of the deck you can't see but it is important to take care of those parts as well. Protect those places that are otherwise "invisible" by sealing joist tops with flexible flashing to keep your deck from rotting or having any other moisture problems.