Building a Deck

Building a Deck

SKU# 070595

Expert Advice from Start to Finish

Scott Schuttner

Paperback

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Details
  • Product # 070595
  • Type Paperback
  • ISBN 978-1-56158-479-6
  • Published Date 2002
  • Dimensions 9-1/4 x 10-7/8
  • Pages 192
  • Photos color photos
  • Drawings and drawings
The definitive guide to building the most popular exterior construction project there is, Building a Deck walks you through the entire process of creating a quality, custom deck: from the planning stages, through construction, to the custom details that can make your deck one of a kind. This is pro-level information carefully explained and presented so that a serious do-it-yourself can tackle building a deck with confidence. In this edition of Taunton's Build Like a Pro series, home builder and carpenter Scott Schuttner shares his tried-and-true techniques as well as a host of alternative methods, all in step-by-step detail, to create a clear and thorough resource for serious do-it-yourselfers and professionals alike.

This book will bring you:
  • valuable advice on the practical side of building and design issues that will save you time and money
  • in-depth information on the trickier parts of the construction process, such as building foundations in severe climates, special structural considerations, and customizing the deck
  • professional tips and trade secrets for nearly every step of the process
About the author
Scott Schuttner is a home builder and carpenter in Fairbanks, Alaska. He is a frequent contributor to Fine Homebuilding magazine and is the author of Basic Stairbuilding and Building and Designing Decks, both published by The Taunton Press.
Table of Contents
Contents

Introduction

How to Use This Book

1. Decks
Producing Plans
Design Considerations
Estimating Size and Cost

2. Building the Foundation
Choosing a Foundation
Sizing Footings
Layout
Excavation
Forms for Footings and Piers
Pouring the Foundation

3. Framing--Ledgers, Posts, and Beams
Planning the Ledger
Attaching the Ledger
Flashing the Ledger
Designing and Sizing Beams and Posts
Installing Posts and Beams

4. Joists
Laying Out and Installing Joists
Joist Details
Special Framing Techniques

5. Decking
Choosing Decking
Fasteners
Installing Decking
Finishing the Decking

6. Railings
Designing a Railing System
Installing Posts
Building a Balustrade
Railing Options

7. Stairs and Ramps
Stair Location and Configuration
Stair Layout
Laying Out and Cutting Stringers
Stair Railings
Landings and Ramps

8. Special Cases and Custom Details
Benches and Planters
Lighting
Trellises
Building a Roof Deck
Ground-Level Details

Appendix

Resources

Photo Credits

Index
Introduction
I've been a carpenter for years, but still enjoy building decks more than any other type of construction project. I like working outside in the sunshine, as well as the fact that no one is inconvenienced by dirt, dust, or disconnected plumbing (unlike in remodeling). There's a low stress level, because I get the chance to do some nice finish carpentry without the exacting demands of interior trimwork. And even though there are some strenuous parts -- digging holes and hoisting beams, for instance -- they just make me stronger and healthier if I do them safely.

Compared with whole house projects, decks provide instant gratification. Over the course of just a few days, things change radically, as we move from doing the dirt work to laying the decking (my favorite part). A few days more, and we get to create a beautiful railing. And not long after that, the entire deck comes alive with a newly applied finish.

But as with all construction, there is a practical side. Almost inevitably I'm asked, "How can we lower the cost of this project?" My first suggestions are to make the deck smaller, use less costly materials, or eliminate fancy options, but these are not always the right solutions. Another suggestion is that the homeowners help out, providing some of their own labor, or "sweat equity." This will help lower the project cost, but as I remind the owners, they save dollars only in direct proportion to the amount and type of labor they are replacing. There's no magic.

Of course, if the homeowners are willing to help with some of the project, perhaps they should do the entire project themselves. Now they have eliminated all of my hefty overhead (and my smaller-than-you-would-guess profit), most labor costs, and administrative and design fees. Granted, it is now necessary for them to provide all of these services, and of course, there's also a lot more responsibility, but the potential rewards are greater too.

That brings me to you. Do I think you can do it yourself? Without a doubt! If you have the time and inclination, deck building is a great project for people with all different levels of construction skills and experience. The biggest requirement is desire. And the rewards aren't just financial. Like me, you may find you enjoy building a deck for one (or all) of the various aspects of the job, from the mental challenge of the design work to the physical challenge of pounding nails in by hand. Plus, now you get the sunshine and exercise.

Any new adventure begins with a little trepidation, but that can be overcome with a bit of guidance. That's what this book is all about. What I want to give you is the benefit of my experience as a builder. When I'm building, I use certain methods that have worked for me in the past, and I'll be sure to point these out to you as tried and true. But as I've learned over my years as a builder, there are lots of different ways to achieve success, so I'll suggest plenty of alternative methods as well. I'll also give you the inside scoop on things that don't work so well. I won't gloss over the difficult details; my goal is for this advice to be clear, definite, and thorough.

I'm guessing that you've done enough carpentry to give this a try. I'm not going to kid you and suggest that the process won't take time and effort, but if you work slowly, safely, and carefully, you can achieve the same results as a professional builder. The process may take a little longer, but I think you'll enjoy it each step of the way. And long after the project's completed, you'll enjoy the fruits of your labor. To me, that's what carpentry's all about.
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