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Thinking of building your own deck?

Yea right! If that were all it takes I would be building decks for a living. But with good planning and knowledge of using power tools you can do it. The most important element of building a deck or for any project is the planning, if you plan poorly or quickly your project will turn out horrible, if you take your time and plan properly you will impress yourself with the outcome. To start: First check local building codes, regulations and zoning restrictions. These may restrict your options. So will any deed restrictions and the location of a septic tank.

Next, decide where you want to locate your new deck, off the kitchen, living room or family room makes a big difference, indoors and out. Decks on the north and east side of your house will get less sun and more cooling breezes. Take time to study sun and shadow patterns, see how they vary with the seasons before settling on a site. Terrain will dictate whether you should build a grade-level deck, which stands on its own just a few inches above the ground, or a higher raised deck and don't forget about stairs! How big should your deck be? Measure your patio furniture and add enough room for pulling out chairs and walking around. A minimum of 5 feet by 6 feet allows two people to sit and relax beside a table, but itís cramped if anyone else comes along.

If money is a problem, start small and add on as your family and budget grows. The amount of time it takes to construct a deck depends, of course, on how big and elaborate it is. You can expect to spend a weekend digging and pouring footings, a second for erecting posts, beams and joists and a third for installing stairs, decking and railings. Youíll need a helper for parts of the framing process, so there goes the one weekend idea! How about a deck building party? So I decided to get my wife involved (makes points guys) we started positioning our lawn furniture in and around where we were planning on putting the deck that by itself took a whole weekend! Then I took a trip to my local tool store and asked them for their advice on which tools I would need for the project, and then to my local building supply with the dimensions of the deck, all this was to see where the price was going to be about. So. itís a year and half later I still do not have a deck, I'm probably going in the direction of hiring a contractor.


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