Before installing a deck

Deck building can seem to be a complex do-it-yourself project. It is however, well within the scope of most novice builders. It is definitely a demanding job both physically and mentally, but is ultimately very rewarding. Before you start this project, be sure you have used all the proper materials and construction techniques, and make sure everything is level, plumb, and properly built.

As always its important understand, develop, and adhere to proper safety practices for each project. These include:

  • Always use the appropriate tool for the job.
  • Keep blades and bits sharp. A dull tool requires excessive force and can slip.
  • Use safety goggles, ear protection and glasses should be worn when using power tools
  • Unplug power tools when making adjustments or changing attachments. Also unplug them once you’re finished with a task and store them away from the work area. Watch power cord placement so it does not interfere with the operation of the tool. And be sure your tools are properly grounded.
  • Tie loose hair and clothing so that they do not get caught in power tools.
  • Be careful when carrying long boards at the site.
  • Be careful to avoid back strain when lifting or digging. Bend from the knees when lifting large and heavy objects.
  • Wear heavy-soled, sturdy work boots.

Preparing the Site

Once you’re done with your deck design plans, assemble the necessary tools and supplies. You’re then ready to prepare the site.

  • Measure out a rectangular area and make marks on the ground to indicate where the deck will lie. Measure diagonally from corner to corner, both ways (i.e., upper left to lower right, and upper right to lower left) to ensure that your rectangle is true. These measurements should be equal.
  • Then remove any grass or weeds from this measured area with a shovel.
  • You will be applying mulch over this space to suppress weeds before closing off this working space with decking.
  • Level the working space as well as possible as this will be important later in the project. You need to make sure it is level for the concrete piers – which need to end up at the same height.