Construction tips 101
How to Build a Deck from "A" to "Z"
Building a pressure treated wood deck can be fun and exciting for the homeowner, but only if the builder knows what they are doing. Lets look at some simple solutions for all too common mistakes made during the deck construction.
Footings being the most important part of the decks structural abilities, must always be erected in compliance with your state and local regulations. Knowing the frost depth requirements for your area will help make sure that your deck is built properly, and will not be effected by the moving power of frost. Also make sure that your footings are properly sized for the post size being used. Typically a footing width should never be less than twice the thickness of the post. Anchor the posts to the footings using an approved anchoring device found in most home supply stores. In my area the footings are required to be 42" deep from grade, and at least 12" wide, so make sure that you check with your local official.
The deck plate must always be bolted to the house box beam, and it is important to make sure that your lag bolts are connecting to solid wood or masonry. There are a number of bolting methods on the market today, so be careful to fully understand the manufactures requirements. Some homes have floor systems that use a truss type floor system and may not have sufficient wood for proper attachment so investigate thoroughly. Joist hangers or a ledger strip should always be used on the joists, since nails will weaken over time.
And railings should be through bolted at the intersections of the deck, to properly fasten the railing to the deck. many times the railing posts will not be properly secured causing a health and safety risk for the occupants. The required opening width for my area is 4" maximum, so balusters should be placed the appropriate distance apart. By finding the center point between the posts, place your first baluster and use a piece of 2x4 spacer to set the remaining balusters. This will assure a proper spacing and allow for an even looking railing.
Stair risers must all be equal, and must not be higher than 81/4", or a trip hazard is developed. Check with your local official for your areas regulations before beginning. Treads should not be less than 10", and installed level. A railing should also be installed on all open sides, and a graspable railing placed on at least one for the standard stair. The landing should be solid, preferably of masonry or stone.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your questions and comments.
Also check out my book on lulu.com How to Build a House from "A" to "Z"