What You Need to Know About Building a Deck

We’re building a playhouse for our girls and I’m beyond excited! Ok, so maybe it’s more like a tiny house at this point because of all the details Bernard and I had to think about! This space should grow with the girls, therefore, we’re opting for a modern design with a mix of neutral and bright colors. Phase one of this project is building a deck to support the playhouse. Today, I’m sharing 5 important things you need to know before building a deck.

1. HOA and City Guidelines

Firstly, check with your HOA bylaws and city guidelines to ensure your project will be in compliance. If necessary, submit all architectural information to your HOA. Also, verify with your city whether or not a permit will be required. I cannot emphasize enough how important this step is! The last thing you want is to build your beautiful deck, only to learn it’s not within compliance and must be torn down! Our DIY deck and playhouse project were both required to have a 5ft setback from our rear and side property lines.

2. Deck Foundation

tape measure extended into a hole
drilling a hole into a piece of lumber
Shown in the image – Dewalt Impact Driver and Quick grip clamp

Having a solid deck base is very crucial to a deck build. The deck foundation needs to safely and properly support your deck. This starts with knowing the depth of your deck footings, which will be set in concrete. Bernard rented a 1 man auger to dig 12″- 18″ holes for each deck post. This depth will vary based on your geographic location.

wood deck frame

The number of deck posts required will depend on the overall size of your deck. It’s recommended that deck posts be no more than 8ft apart. We dug and installed 6 pressure-treated deck posts for our deck.

3. Fastener Choice

There are several fastener options available to help you properly secure your deck. We used a combination of joist hangers, deck joist ties, and corner braces. These fasteners were all galvanized and therefore, ideal for exterior use. All deck boards should also be installed using deck screws because they have a polymer coating that provides corrosion resistance. We used a combination of the 3in and the 1-5/8in wood deck screws.

4. Board Selection

wooden deck

Our deck was built using pressure-treated lumber as well as regular lumber because of low inventory. Pressure-treated lumber is great to use on projects that will be exposed to the elements. They are usually protected from termites, fungal decay, and rotting. The lumber you choose for your deck project will determine whether or not any spacing is required. Dried deck boards should be spaced 1/8″ apart. If you’re installing wet boards or pressure-treated boards that have not fully dried, then no space is required. A gap will be created as the lumber dries.

5. Protective Finish

wooden deck

Prolong the life of your deck by applying a protective finish. There are some great products available that are a stain and sealer in one which is certainly a time saver! A protective finish not only provides waterproof protection but also mildew and UV protection as well. These products typically provide at least 3 years of deck protection so be aware that regular maintenance is necessary. We applied a clear wood sealer to the non-treated lumber we used to build the deck frame.

I’m so proud of how our deck build turned out and the knowledge we gained from this project will likely serve us in the future. I sincerely hope you found value in this post. Be sure to check out some of our woodworking projects:

Office Desk || Modern Bench || Pocket Desk || Walk-In Pantry

Save this link or pin this blog post for easy future reference. Also, leave us a comment if you have any additional decking questions and we’ll do our best to answer them. Until next time friends!

Aminah Chung


4 Replies to “What You Need to Know About Building a Deck”

  1. Do you think you’ll ever post the plans for this build? Also approximately how much this project cost you to build? We’re looking to build a tiny studio for my husband and this tiny house is absolutely stunning. 🙂 TYIA

    • Hi Danielle! This was too extensive of a build to create a plan for but we do have a lot of info saved to our playhouse story highlights.

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