How to Build a Deck: Part 2

The second video in our 5-part series covers measuring and laying out the site, installing the ledger, pouring footings and setting posts.

Let’s go over some of the tools you’ll need to get started. Remember, if you’re missing any of the required tools, visit the Tool Rental Centre at your Home Depot store.

Ok, now we’re going to head out to the building site to start constructing our deck. We’ll be constructing a single-level deck on the back of the home. The deck will be built at the exterior door level. The height of the deck will allow the ledger to be attached to the concrete foundation of the house.

Measure and Locate Footings

Start by measuring and locating the footings, then mark the centre of your outside post location. Using your plan, batter boards and mason’s line, you will create the outline of your deck. Locate your footings at the intersection of the mason’s lines; once the locations of your footings are determined, it’s time to dig them out.

Position Footings

Before you start digging, be sure to check with your local utility companies to make sure there aren’t any underground lines. The depth of your footing holes depend on local codes, but should generally be below the frost line for your area. If your hole is not deep enough, your deck will susceptible to frost heave. You can dig the holes with a shovel, post hole digger or a gas-powered auger.

Concrete can be poured into the holes, with or without sonotubes. Posts can sit on top of the concrete footing on post bases. This is the method we will be using on our deck.

Set Posts in Concrete

Local codes dictate which of these methods can be used, so be sure to clarify this before you begin. Be aware that most locations require that a building inspector checks out the empty holes before you fill them. Now it’s time to mix and pour your concrete. After you’ve done that, insert sonotube forms to make a platform for your cradles. After you’ve smoothed your concrete, locate and place your saddles. Once your cement is dry, install your posts on the cradles with screws, but leave the lag bolts until later.

Installing a Ledger

If you plan to attach your deck to your house, you now need to install a ledger. The ledger is actually a header for the joists. It sets the height of the deck and transfers the weight of the deck to the foundation of the house. Using your plan, measure to determine where the ledger should be attached to the house. Snap a chalk line to mark the position of the top of the ledger. Cut away any siding where necessary.  If you cut away siding, you will need to install flashing.

Measure & Mark Ledger Position

For the ledger board, we’re using 2 X 8 lumber. To attach the board to the house, drill holes through the wood into the masonry using a masonry bit, then use masonry anchors to attach the ledger.

In our next video, we move on to the framing step when our project continues.

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