Step 1: Attach the Ledger

Tom Silva attaching the ledger of an on-grade deck
Photo: David Carmack
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Remove the building's trim and siding to 1 foot above the top of where the ledger will sit. Cover the exposed sheathing with self-adhering waterproof membrane.

Mark the exact location of the top of the ledger. (By code, any step down to the finish decking, which sits atop the ledger, must be 4 to 7¾ inches below the door sill.) Snap a level chalk line.

Cut a 2-inch-wide, 1½-inch-thick treated wood spacer for every 2 feet of ledger length. Align the top of each spacer with the chalk line and fasten with a 6d nail.

Align the ledger with the tops of the spacers and nail it to the wall at each spacer with a 16d nail. (Joints between ledger boards should fall on a spacer.)

Drill a 3-inch pilot hole through the ledger and into the house‚Äôs rim joist at each spacer, following a zigzag pattern. In each hole insert a ½-inch lag screw and tighten it against a washer using an impact wrench or socket wrench.
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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