Building a Small Deck




Introduction: Building a Small Deck

About: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check out my site @

I'm turning a small shed into a workshop, and I wanted to extend the square footage and build a nice deck. I'm using pressure treated lumber and some basic tools to accomplish this job. Make sure to watch the video that goes over all the steps in more detail!

Step 1: Preparation

The shed measures 10 x 14 ft, so I decided to make the deck on the whole front side, measuring 10 x 6 ft. The first thing I did was to bring in some gravel that I placed all around the area where I wanted the deck, and I made sure I had extra to pack down the posts in the holes.

Tools needed:

  • post hole diggers
  • tamper
  • shovel
  • measuring tape.
  • drill
  • speed square
  • ratcheting set
  • circular saw
  • hammer
  • jig saw
  • level

Step 2: Marking

Next I needed to mark out where exactly the deck will to go. I secured some plumb boards to the house down to the ground so I could get a measurement from somewhere, and then I layed out 2x4 boards as temporary place holders. To make sure my angles were square I used the 3, 4, 5 method. So I put a screw in the corner, and then measured 4 feet on one side, 3 feet on the other, and made sure the hypotenuse was 5 feet, and I did that all around at each corner, and spray painted the boundaries, and spray painted exactly where the posts will go.

Step 3: Digging

For this size shed, I'm adding two posts, which means I need to dig two holes. I first cleaned up my post hole diggers and then dug out about 21 inches deep, however check with local codes for your area, and also call your city to mark out any utility lines. Once the holes were dug, I added a few inches of gravel, tamped it down, then placed the post in the hole, made sure it was plumb and secured all around with additional gravel which I tamped down.

Step 4: Ledger Board

Next up I secured a ledger board to the side of the house. In order to do this, I first had to remove the door and part of the siding (which I'm planning on re-doing anyway). Once the area was cleared, I secured this 2x8 pressure treated board to the studs using exterior nails and some heavier bolts to make sure it is nice and secure, because this board is what will carry a lot of the weight of the whole deck.

When securing the ledger board, make sure you take the additional height of the deck boards into account, so you don't secure it too high.

Step 5: Hangers

Once the ledger board was secured I marked out where I needed the joists, and then hammered in hangers at those locations. I will notch out space within the posts for the side joists to attach to, so I secured the joist first with a clamp and made sure it was nice and level, and then I could mark out exactly what section needed to be carved out in the posts.

Step 6: Notching Out

To notch out the section of the post, I used a circular saw which I made multiple passes with on two sides. Then I used a chisel and a hammer and removed the carved out section. After this I was able to fit the joists into the posts, which creates a far stronger connection, as opposed to simply securing it with metal fasteners.

Step 7: Assembling

When the hangers were attached and the posts carved out it was simply a matter of cutting the joists to size, and fitting them inside. I secured the joists into hangers and the posts with exterior screws and nails.

Step 8: Adding the Decking Boards

Once the joists were secured it was time to add the top decking boards. I began by notching out the first board which will be attached in between the two posts. This was done by marking out the location of the posts and cutting it out with a jig saw. After that was fitted it was easy to place the boards side by side, mark out the joists locations and secure them all with exterior screws. The final board had to be ripped slightly to fit.

Step 9: Conclusion - Watch the Video

For a much better perspective of the process involved, make sure you watch the video that goes over all the steps!

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    3 years ago on Step 1

    Thanks for making this how to! Like any projects there is knowledge to be gained and things that can be improved upon, but you made this look so easy!


    3 years ago

    Boom. Well done, 10 out of 10. And with snow on the ground no less.
    My next deck is going to use the Titan Deck Foot. No digging, no cement (and I am not affiliated, just impressed -- have a friend who used them).


    3 years ago

    Didn't the corner posts get a bit thin with the cutting/chiseling out the two sides for the ledgers? Is that going to be strong and stable enough? Also, you didn't cement the posts in to the ground.. Is gravel enough or do local codes dictate how they should be set in ground?


    Reply 3 years ago

    Local codes set the depth the posts must go ("frost heave", note snow on the ground) as well as the method of supporting the posts. I was a bit surprised to see only gravel (not cement) but her local codes must allow it. When you consider that the force is all down and there does not seem to be a roof, gravel makes perfect sense OK.

    When you chisel out (mortise) the post to accept the joists, yes, there is a loss of strength of that post. But you add strength back in when you add the joists and screw them into place.

    Given her attention to detail (and that the video in out there for everyone to see), my money is on her having checked every requirement twice and built to more than the minimum. She has it right.


    Tip 3 years ago

    Great work,
    A couple of things if your building in Australia.
    Place gal-stirrups in the ground fir the posts, at min’ 600mm deep, attach posts with suitable treated bolts and nuts.
    Additional centre post required along the front edge, and also additional posts under at mid way point.
    Beares required at 450mm centres when doing any floor work, and cap the top of them so that water will not penetrate the bearer. Standard decking boards in Australia 89 x 19mm with 3-4mm spacings, or a nail width between.
    Deck should slope away from the entry/exit point for water egress.
    As already stated don’t notch out the posts like the picture, there is not enough timber left, double up the end outer bearer,
    Last thing, if your drop is more than 1000mm you are required to have a suitable certified balastrade installed, I’ve seen too many accidents with decks that are not built correctly or skimped on materials, it can pose a huge risk in years to come.


    3 years ago on Step 9

    Make sure to slant the deck slightly away from the building. A forest service work center where my trail maintenance crew stays during work weekends has huts with the floor and porch/deck built as one flat unit. In a heavy rainstorm the huts flood.