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A plan is laid out, but now you need to lay a deck with a strong foundation to provide years of enjoyment. Before you begin make sure you call 811 to have a utility company come out and mark any utility lines. Make sure you have a pencil, tape measurer, 3lb. hammer, batter boards, hammer and nails, mason string, utility knife, a line level, a shovel, wood bob, wood steaks, drill and bits and a level.
Most deck building methods consist of a foundation, beams, joists and the decking. A deck that connects to the house would connect to a ledger board to provide support for the entire foundation. For additional information on ledger boards, check out the printable instructions for this layout.
Using string and batter boards, mark where your deck will be. Place the batter boards beyond the corners of your planned deck. Use string to tie to the posts to mark the outside edges of your deck plan. Check that the strings are level and square. Measuring diagonally, make sure that the strings are square, the diagonals will be equal. Make adjustments as needed.
Next you will want to start laying the foundation. Many building codes require the sod to be removed. Once removed, use landscaping fabric and gravel under the deck. Even if you are not required to do so, it may be a good idea to prevent weeds and grass from growing through the deck. To mark holes for the foundation posts, determine your spacing. This spacing depends on the size of your beams, building codes and deck design. Use strings to line up posts. Once you know the spacing, measure in and use a plum bob to mark holes. Place a steak at each spot.
With the foundation laid out mark the height of the beams along the house as a reference. First determine where the house will sit in relation to the door. It should be below the threshold to keep water from entering the door. Measure down the thickness of the decking combined by the width of the joists. This will give you the height of the top of the beams. Then mark a level line along this point on your house. At this point, the layout of your deck is finished and ready to be built.
For part 3 of Lowe's How to Build a Deck series, watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWan7JE6UZE
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