Home Home & Garden Creating an Affordable DIY Deck: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating an Affordable DIY Deck: A Step-by-Step Guide

by Syed Qasim
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A Message from The Super Deck

This splendid DIY deck stands as a wonderful addition to backyard. An avid blogger sharing her insights on DIY projects, design, and entertainment, embarked on the journey to craft this unadorned deck, transforming her backyard into an ideal spot for outdoor gatherings.

Despite her lack of specialized deck-building expertise, her fearless determination and DIY spirit allowed her to craft this modest yet robust deck without breaking the bank. You can follow her detailed guide to create a similar DIY deck in your very own backyard.

Creating a Budget-Friendly DIY Deck: A Remarkable Project

This has to be one of my all-time favorite DIY undertakings, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible support from The Super Deck. With their helpful staff, an array of essential tools, and a wealth of inspiration found on their page, The Super Deck truly stands out as the one-stop destination for all your needs when embarking on a substantial project, such as constructing your very own budget-friendly deck!

To start with, this is a feasible DIY project! I’m not a professional carpenter or contractor, yet this undertaking is quite manageable. (Just be prepared for the time it takes to screw in 768 screws!) However, if you’re feeling adventurous and have a few extra hands, constructing your very own deck is entirely achievable.

Why should you consider building your own deck? In my case, it boiled down to acquiring new skills and substantial cost savings. There’s an immense sense of accomplishment in standing on a deck that you’ve crafted with your own two hands, not to mention the unbeatable bragging rights. But even more importantly, you can keep a significant amount of money in your pocket. Hiring someone to build a deck of similar size with standard materials could set you back between $6,000 and $8,000! In contrast, my deck came to under $900, as my expenses were limited to lumber, cement, and screws. Impressive, isn’t it?

Let’s embark on the journey of building a deck!

Step 1: Design Your Deck Layout!

To create an affordable and straightforward low-level deck, take a cue from my approach. Start by utilizing 2 x 6 pressure-treated beams spaced 24 inches apart on-center. Ensure that you position the support for these joists using concrete deck piers, and they should be situated at intervals of no more than 8 feet.

Step 2: Install the Deck Footings

I aimed for the lowest possible height for my deck to avoid the need for stairs. To achieve this, I excavated the cement deck piers near my house by a few inches, while those farther away required no digging. It’s crucial to work on one deck pier at a time, meticulously measuring and ensuring perfect distances, leveling each pier to match the others.

Here are some helpful tips:

1. Place gravel at the base of each footing to prevent sliding.

2. Use a long level on top of your joist beams to guarantee a perfectly flat deck.

3. Keep the deck piers unburied until you’ve positioned all of them in your backyard, just in case adjustments are needed.

4. Avoid having your wood in direct contact with the ground, so ensure the wood-slots aren’t too low in the ground to prevent this from happening.

Step 3: Measuring and Installing the Joists

Begin by measuring and cutting each joist individually. This approach ensures precision, especially when accounting for slight variations in the distances between your cement piers. For larger decks, like the one I constructed, you might need to connect two joists to a single deck pier in order to cover the entire span. I must mention that the Ryobi miter saw I used was exceptional for handling these substantial joists. It made smooth cuts, and the built-in laser guide added an extra level of convenience. I have a great appreciation for that saw!

Step 4: Properly Positioning the Deck Piers

Before proceeding, it’s important to apply grass and weed killer or lay weed barrier cloth across the entire area where your future deck will be situated. This preventive measure ensures that no troublesome weeds will grow through the deck once it’s completed.

Step 5: Preparing the Deck Wood

In my case, I opted for 2 x 4 Douglas Fir wood for my deck’s simple frame. This choice was driven by its cost-effectiveness and remarkable strength. If you have access to a wood planer, I highly recommend using it. Planing the wood ensures uniform height and imparts a smooth, attractive finish to those rough 2 x 4s. Keep in mind that you only need to plane one side, the side that will be visible.

Step 6 involves waterproofing the underside of your deck planks.

Since Douglas Fir isn’t the typical choice for decking wood, this additional step is essential to prolong its lifespan by preventing rot and decay. It’s worth noting that Douglas Fir may not be the best choice for all climates, but in dry climates like Utah (where I reside), it should work well if you waterproof the wood’s underside. No need to waterproof the top because we’ll be staining and sealing that side. I personally used Thompson’s Water Seal and a paint roller, but be sure to follow the instructions on the container.

Step 7: Now it’s time to lay your decking planks.

Constructing your deck isn’t as complex as rocket science, but it does require some time and attention. In some cases, you might encounter slightly warped boards, necessitating the help of another person to hold them in place while securing the initial few outdoor deck screws for each board. Use ¼ inch tile spacers between the boards and ensure you fasten them with two screws per joist. I found the Ryobi impact drivers particularly useful for driving screws into the tough wood.

You might also find it necessary to employ a jig saw, such as the Ryobi jig saw, to cut around drain pipes or fencing along the edge of your deck, just as I did.

Pro Tip: Consider crafting a straightforward template from transparent material to precisely guide your screw placement, ensuring they align flawlessly.

Step 8: Adding End-Caps

Adding end-caps is a breeze – simply attach 1 x 6 wood sections to the ends of your deck to provide it with a polished appearance. I used pine for this purpose since I couldn’t locate Douglas Fir in the required size.

Step 9: Preparing for Staining

Go over each screw meticulously to ensure they are flush with the wood or even slightly indented. If the screws protrude, they could pose a tripping hazard or snag someone’s shoes.

Next, give each screw a light sanding to address any splinters that naturally occur when working with wood. Additionally, sand the edges of the recently added end-caps to smoothen the corners.

Step 10: Staining and Sealing Your Deck

I applied a weatherproofing stain/seal to my deck, and I’m thrilled with the results. As you probably know, I have a soft spot for the color white, so I decided to go with an opaque white stain for my deck. I applied three thin coats to achieve that bright and clean white finish.

It’s essential to allow ample drying time between coats and a couple of days for the stain to cure before placing any heavy items on the deck. To make the job easier, I recommend using a paint edger instead of taping off the side of your house, as tape doesn’t adhere well to the rough surface of the deck.

Step 11: Embellish Your Freshly Built Deck with Enthusiasm!

This is where the magic unfolds, and the Home Depot products I used played a pivotal role in bringing this project together. For a comprehensive guide on creating a warm and intimate outdoor space in your backyard, explore my recent deck reveal featured on The Home Depot Blog.

I incorporated Edison bulb outdoor lights and charming rattan lights to introduce variety, along with beautiful plants in terra cotta pots. The copper Weber grill not only adds elegance but also a touch of sophistication to the area, complemented by matching white and copper lanterns.

The heart of the entire setup lies in the striking deck furniture and the overhanging umbrella. The umbrella stands as a sturdy and versatile addition, allowing you to adjust the angle for those scorching summer afternoons. The quality of the Hampton Bay Mill Valley Collection has left me thoroughly impressed. It’s steel-reinforced, weather-resistant, and surprisingly comfortable. I wholeheartedly endorse it!

Was it worth it, you might wonder? In retrospect, embarking on this DIY deck project was an incredible journey, and the cost savings alone make it worthwhile. I didn’t compromise on quality, and the result is a splendid deck ready to be enjoyed throughout the summer, achieved in just a couple of days.

Admittedly, purchasing a substantial amount of lumber for a project I’d never attempted before was a bit nerve-wracking. I had no prior experience with a miter saw, and I’ve probably screwed more screws in 48 hours than in my entire life. However, every anxious moment was justified because I now possess a stunning deck at a fantastic price, not to mention the valuable new skills I acquired along the way. Building this DIY deck wouldn’t have been possible without the support of The Super Deck, and I’m immensely grateful to them for inspiring me to take on this challenge.

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