Introduction

building a simple deck tout »
If you've always dreamed of building your own deck, but were hesitant to tackle such a large, complicated construction project, we've got some good news. We asked This Old House general contractor Tom Silva to demonstrate the proper techniques for building a small, simple on-grade deck. All you need are some basic carpentry tools and the desire to invest a little sweat equity.

The deck shown here features a pressure-treated floor frame that's supported by a ledger board and concrete piers, and topped with 5/4-inch decking. And because the deck is only a one step high, no railing was required. Now just follow Tom's tips and build your own backyard oasis. It's a great way to make your neighbors jealous.
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    Tools List

    • hammer drill
      Hammer-drill with masonry bit
    • drill
      1/2-inch drill with 3/8-inch bit
    • socket wrench
      Socket wrench
    • plumb bob
      Plumb bob and string
    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • two-foot level
      Level
    • chalk line
      Chalk line
    • concrete mixer
      Concrete mixer,
      or mixing trough and hoe
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • impact wrench
      Impact wrench
    • flat blade shovel
      Shovel
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • utility knife
      Utility knife

    Shopping List

    1. 5X4-INCH DECKING LUMBER

    2. 2X8 PRESSURE-TREATED LUMBER for the joists

    3. 2X10 PRESSURE-TREATED LUMBER for the ledger, beams and rim joists

    4. FIBERBOARD PIER FORM

    5. PLASTIC FOOTING FORM

    6. CONCRETE

    7. LEDGER FASTENERS lag screws and/or carriage bolts

    8. POLYURETHANE MARINE SEALANT

    9. FACE-MOUNTED JOIST HANGERS

    10. POST BASES

    11. MASONRY EXPANSION BOLTSto fasten post bases to concrete piers

    12. SILICONIZED ACRYLIC CAULK

    13. METAL FLASHING

    14. 6D, 12D, AND 16D GALVANIZED OR STAINLESS STEEL COMMON NAILS

    15. 8D GALVANIZED OR STAINLESS STEEL FINISH NAILS

    16. 5/8-INCH ROOFING NAILS

    17. SELF-ADHERING WATERPROOF MEMBRANE

    18. CONCEALED-FLANGE AND FACE-MOUNTED DOUBLE JOIST HANGERS AND HANGER NAILS

    19. CONSTRUCTION ADHESIVE