This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in August 2012.
You’ve probably spent a lot of time on your deck this summer, and if you’re not already stoked with the condition/shape/color or what your deck brings to the backyard, you’ve probably spent a considerable amount of time wanting/wishing/scheming for something a little different. DIY Network has a lot of great ideas for sprucing your existing deck and inspiration for starting new, and I’m here to contribute my own before and after tale.
In addition to building my own DIY flagstone patio, I also designed and built a wooden deck off the back of my house a few years ago. It wasn’t easy, but it was really worth the time we invested getting it right. We weren’t working in a clean lot – there was a large dilapidated deck attached to the house already, and I set out to replacing it with a two-tier, wrap-around pressure-treated structure that makes better use of the space in the yard, and gives us a much bigger space to enjoy as a family.
There are several good online resources for planning a new deck; my only experience was in using the Lowe’s Deck Designer to both design and help scope the amount of materials that I’d need to be purchasing. With the exception of having to take considerations for local codes (notably pertaining to our New York frost line, railing details, and how close we could build to the property line), our project was scoped out quickly, and helped guide our local store when it came time to order and have lumber delivered.
Demolition of the old deck was a project in and of itself, and construction of the new one consumed several weeks of our lives. As amateur-DIYers, we spent a lot of time sketching, measuring, re-sketching, and remeasuring our construction plans by hand instead of relying fully on our Lowe’s guidelines. We used our best judgement in several instances when it came to attaching extra ledger boards to the house and installing the joists closer together to lessen bounce over longer spans. We used our own tools when possible, only having to rent a power auger, and took our time to make sure that everything came together perfectly.
Designing and building my own deck was a completely rewarding experience on many levels, and left us with an amazing 275 sq. ft. of outdoor living space. The whole project cost all-in was under $2,000, which was markedly less than we might have paid a contractor to do it even if a professional could have finished it on a faster timeline.