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:
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:
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.