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Your Guide to the Deck Building Process

August 25, 2015

brown deck

Whether you’re moving into a new home or have been in your home for decades, you realize that your outdoor space would be more enjoyable if you had a deck. Not only do decks add value to your home, but they also offer unparalleled function and style, helping you get closer to nature. So you’ve decided that you want to add a deck. How do you get started? No worries, as deck builders for Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania, we know what it takes to build a stunning deck and are happy to share with you the essential steps.

Designing Your Deck

When starting a major construction project, planning is key. You’d want to work with your contractor to determine where the deck will go, how big it will be and what functions and features it will have. Will you have a grill? Will you incorporate a pergola or gazebo into your deck? Will you need access to a pool or a hot tub? All of these questions should come up fairly early in the design process if you are working with an experienced Maryland deck builder. Deck design is largely influenced by your lifestyle and overall goals for your outdoor space. A smart contractor understands what guides you toward the right decisions.

Pulling the Permits

Before your contractor can start the work, he or she will have to apply for appropriate permits and make sure your local building codes, HOA bylaws and any other applicable laws and regulations allow for construction of the deck according to your plans. This is a very important step, because not obtaining timely permits and approvals may later cause you to tear down your deck completely or not get a return on your investment when you are ready to sell.

Deck Construction

You have your design and permits, and your contractor has their marching orders. The next step is to plan the placement of all joists, beams, posts, and footings. Proper preparation is key when building a deck. Your contractor will mark the elevation of the finished deck surface ensuring there will be enough space for all of the decking materials.

Digging Footings

Your contractor will use either a post-hole digger or a power auger, digging deep enough to comply with your city’s municipal code. Once the footings are ready, concrete is poured to provide a stable base for your new deck. A plumb bob is used to find the center of the footing and J-bolts are sunk into the wet concrete as it cures.

Setting the Beams

The next major step will be to set the beams and posts onto the concrete footings. These large support beams are secured via the J-bolts that were incorporated earlier. The beams are then cut to the level of the bottom of the deck. Once level, joists are laid across the beams, starting the platform that will become your new deck.

Installing Joists and Decking

Once the posts are in place and the first joists are secured, the intermediate joists are secured to the deck. When the appropriate amount of joists are installed, your contractor will lay down some plywood to create a working surface. Decking is laid out onto the joists, typically parallel to the house, and ends of boards fall on intermediate joists.

Deck Railings

Most towns have guidelines when it comes to installing railings. These guidelines can include:

  • Required railing height
  • Max distance between rail pickets
  • Max height of the railing
  • Max distance between railing posts

Your contractor should know your specific municipal codes and accommodate them during the building process.

Finding The Right Contractor

All of the aforementioned steps should be performed by a licensed contractor to ensure the safety and durability of your deck. As a deck building company in Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania, we’re dedicated to making your vision a reality. Call us or visit us online to get a free quote.