Summer proper has arrived, and it deserves an appropriate platform. A few weeks ago, I finished this cedar-clad deck, with broad capitol steps at both ends and a built-in bench on the open side. The footprint for this deck is about 16' x 24', good for big parties or outdoor dinners. The steps, which have a deep run and a shallow rise, are a mega-stoop, designed for lounging. One might build a small cabin or 3-sided Adirondack-style shelter on a platform this size -- just buy 12-16' posts instead of 8-footers and use them to support a simple roof. 

While made for a specific site, the structural strategies and construction techniques illustrated here are broadly applicable. We built this with basic hand tools -- just a hammer, a circular saw, and a screw gun, nothing too fancy. Adapt, tweak, and twist this Instructable to your own ends. Also, keep in mind that there are dozens of different ways to build a deck; this is merely one method, explained with the amateur carpenter in mind.

And, if you find this Instructable helpful, please throw me a vote in the Great Outdoors Contest! Thanks!

You will need these materials:

200' stringline
6 8' PT (pressure-treated) 6x6s  (9 if the deck is free-standing)
7 8' PT 4x4s
Approx. 6 80 lb bags Quickcrete per 6x6 and 3 per 4x4
4 12' PT 2x12s
14 8' PT 2x12s
4 12' PT 2x10s
38 8' PT 2x10s
8 12' PT 2x4s
30 8' PT 2x4s
Assorted random 2x4s for stakes and batter boards
Approx. 65 16' x 5/4 cedar deck boards
15 lbs. 2-1/2" deck screws
5 lbs. 3" deck screws
5 lbs galvanized joist hanger nails
5 libs galvanized 3" ring-shank 16D sinkers
50 4-1/2" LedgerLok lag bolts
14 corner brackets
72 2x10 joist hangers
Box of 25 Red Head masonry anchors, if attaching to masonry building

You will need these tools:

Tape measure
Line level
4'-6' level
Speed square
Framing square
Ratchet set
Posthole digger
Circular saw
Masonry drill 

Step 1: Layout

The first step in any building project is to create a structural grid. Lacking advanced survey equipment, we will use string lines and a line level to establish an imaginary plane over the building site that represents the surface of the future deck. This plane will then become a continuing reference throughout construction, keeping the disparate elements coherent to one another.

We wanted our deck to be centered on the door in the side of the adjoining building. I established a level ilne by measuring 1-1/2" down from the underside of the lintel beneath the door (to accomodate the deck boards), setting the level, and tracing a line. We bolted two 12' 2x10s (cut to 141") to the wall, aligning the top of the boards with that level line and one end with the center of the doorway. Adapt these measurements to match whatever building you may be attaching to; if attaching into masonry, use expanding-sleeve masonry bolts (RedHeads) every 12" to secure the 2x10s. If attaching to wood framing, use a pair of 1/2" lag bolts every 16", connecting with studs whenever possible. 

At one end of the 2x10s, pound in a 3" nail. Tie a string line to it and stretch it out, roughly square, about 20'. On either side of the string, pound in two 2x4 stakes, about three feet apart. Put the line level on the string line and pull taut against one of the uprights. When the line level bubble is dead in the middle, trace the string's location onto the stake. Screw a piece of 2x4 level across the pair of stakes, with the top of the board aligned with the pencil mark.

The resultant H-shaped arrangement is called a batter board. The top of the cross bar should, theoretically, be level with the top of the 2x10 rim joist attached to the building. Pull the string line tight again, with a helper holding the framing square against the rim joist. Once the string seems square to the building, make a mark on the 2x4 cross bar on the batter board. Put in a screw and tie off the string.

Repeat at the other end of the rim joist. Measure along the strings to make sure they are an even 23'6" apart, all the way along their length. Make a mark on each string at 186" out from the wall. Measure from that mark to the opposite corner, where the other string meets the rim joist. If the strings are square and parallel, those diagonal measurements should match. 

Establish the outer string line at the 186" mark, measure diagonals to ensure it is parallel to the wall. Pull two centerlines, shifted 5-1/2" off of perfect center to accomodate the width of the 6x6s. You should now have a grid of strings, all level, with six points of intersection. 
Beautiful, I love it! <br> <br>I'm just concerned by your wooden posts seating directly into the concrete, I'm afraid the wood will rot after a few years... And wouldn't the contraction/expansion of the wood crack the concrete? <br>I would have used metallic plates to bolt the posts on the concrete after it had dried, or at least put a couple of layers of tar coating on the bottom of the posts if I was to sink them in concrete. <br>Well, just my 2 cents, I'm saving a link to this instructable for ater use! Great job! :)
Isn't life soooo much easier with impact drivers and ledger locks. They are super expensive but worth the cost if you're in business trying to make time! <br>Nice instructable!
Five things: <br> <br>The scre jig is a great idea. <br> <br>Why didn't you use cedar for the framing, too? <br> <br> <br>Great work on layout and assembly. <br> <br>You should have a handrail on both ends of the stairs. <br> <br>The handrail should be graspable from the top to the bottom fo the stair, and should extend one tread plus one foot past the top of the stair. Fully graspable means that the support should be on the bottom. Such support brackets are readily and cheaply available at all big box stores. <br> <br>Oversized aggregate in the concrete will lead to cracking and possibly disinigration of the footing. I know this is done by residential home builders, but it's still a bad practice.
Price check cedar 2x10's and you'll see why it's almost never used on the framing! Also it's just not necessary. The structure is almost completely concealed as far as aesthetics go. Pressure treated lumber lasts a long time albeit with more chemicals but not as much as years past. You'd be hard pressed to find a deck that's not built with pressure treated lumber. <br>Having said that, it sure would be cool to build with just cedar though!
Very nice. I'll have to revisit this one when I have the money to put a deck on my house.
Well executed. Like the design and description of work.
What a project! What an improvement too.

About This Instructable




Bio: Furniture hacker. Author of Guerilla Furniture Design, out now. Find me on Twitter and Instagram @objectguerilla.
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