DIY: Building A Deck

Hello and welcome to my first hubpage on building your own deck. Over the next few months I'll be adding more pages sharing my knowledge on how to go about various home DIY projects.

Please Note: I'm not a qualified builder, the guidelines I'm offering are simply that, guidelines. As building codes and restrictions change in differenct parts of the world, please consult your local council guidelines before getting started and seek professional advice where required.

I hope you enjoy my hub. If you have any comments to share, or would like me to create a hub on a particular DIY project, please rate my hub and visit my website for more information on how to build a deck

The Look Of Your Deck; Decking Timber

When it comes to the final finish of your deck, there are various options, you can go with a traditional pine look, imported hardwood, painted timber, fiber cement sheeting or synthetic decking planks.

Think about what look you're trying to achieve as well weather conditions in your area, upkeep and the functionality of your deck. While building your deck yourself can save money on builders fees, you will want to set yourself a clear budget at the outset. This may be the deciding factor in the surface you choose (imported timber can cost up to four times the price of traditional pine.)

If your budget is tight, a little planning can literally save you hundreds of dollars. While I never recommend using lower grade timber (as this contains more knots, is often buckled and weaker), keep an eye out on local timber prices. Catering to the home DIY'er is a fierce market, you can often take advantage of "1 day only" timber specials or pick up excess timber lots at for a cheap price.


Before you start, make a clear plan of what you want from your deck in terms of shape and size. Check with your local council or builder as you may need to get building consent or have regulations that need to be followed.

Now it's time to get started on construction. Setup your string-line from the house to guide you on the dimensions and height of your deck. Dig your post holes in the corners and at 1800 millimeter centers, setup pegs to hold the posts in place and pour in 1-2 bags of 20KG ready mix concrete into each hole (see pack for instructions). Ensure the posts are in position with your string-line and flush by using a spirit level.

While you are leaving your concrete to dry you can attach your ledger-board to run along the length of your house. This entails either securing a length of treated timber to your house (see your local building guidelines as specifications vary) or setting up an extra bearer and line of posts if you're unable to nail or bolt into your exterior cladding.

After the concrete has dried, remove the stabilizing pegs and secure your treated timber bearers by sitting them on top of your posts and nailing down or to the side of each post with galvanized bolts.

Cut to size your treated timber joists and secure into position with joist hangers. The joists should be no more than 350 - 400 millimeters apart.

Laying The Surface Of Your Deck

Two things to think about before getting started are:

Rather than pre-cutting your timber to the exact millimeter, cut the outside lengths a little longer than required. This way you can simply trim along the outside when complete, ensure the edges are perfectly even.

Staggering your decking timber will avoid untidy looking rows of joins.

You should start laying the along the house side of your deck, leaving a 5 - 6 millimeter gap for rain to drain off. Between each length use a nail or pencil head to keep a consistent 2mm gap. Position your lengths to meet over a joist so you can nail the ends of your timber down (pre-drilling will stop the timber from splitting, particularly if you're using hardwood.) A good way to ensure consistency in the gaps between each length, is to smack a nail into the joist beside each length of timber. Once you've laid your first length, hammer in a thin nail (remember you're trying to keep a 2mm gap) hard against the outside of the length, push the next length hard against the nail, hammer in another nail, then hammer in down your decking timber. This may be a little extra work, but is worth-while to avoid inconsistent gaps.

Now you've finished the structural side of building your deck, all that is left is the finishing touches. You may want to paint or oil your deck to fit in with the look of your house and to protect the timber from the elements.

Add some outdoor furniture or a barbecue, and get ready to enjoy your DIY outdoor entertaining.

Visit my website for other DIY jobs, including instructions on how to build firepit.

Comments 1 comment

deck fasteners 8 years ago

What about hidden deck fasteners? They help with keeping your gaps consistent and prevent stubbing your toes over nails that pop up in the future. Have you ever had experience with these?

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