7 Things You Should Do When Building Your Deck

Updated: Mar. 07, 2023

Want to avoid deck decay and enjoy your outdoor space for the rest of your days? If you use these deck building tricks during the initial build, you’ll find yourself with a sturdy backyard oasis for a long, long time.

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Family Handyman

Test the Layout

Before you even pick up a hammer, use a long hose or cord to create a general deck layout. This will help you to visualize how it will look in your yard. Not only that, it’ll also help you test out how the deck will flow: How will you walk around on it? Where will the stairs be? Is there a pool or hot tub to consider? If you have an old deck with a solid frame, we’ll show you how to give it a makeover with new decking.

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Use Perpendicular and Diagonal Blocking

By using this particular blocking system, you can actually avoid a wavy deck surface that would develop over time. Use narrower lumber for perpendicular and diagonal blocking (2×8 blocking on 2×10 joints), and it won’t stick out like a sore thumb. Once you have it installed, use a string to run up the top side of the joists and plane down the remaining high spots.

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Flashing Tape Can Help Avoid Deck Rot

When you are initially building your deck, it may be smart to run some flashing tape along the perimeter of the deck. Flashing tape can help keep water from getting trapped between the doubled-up joists of your deck. Attaching your new deck to your house? This is the correct way to do it.

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Use Engineered Lumber to Hold the Deck

Why go with something cheap and light when you have the option of getting tough, sturdy and reliable lumber? You don’t need to frame the entire deck with this lumber (especially when you consider those expensive prices), but it is worth the initial investment. Using an exterior-grade engineered drop beam will help reduce the amount of lumber you will need for posts and footings below the deck.

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Lay Down Tougher Decking

When choosing the boards for the top of your deck, you should consider using a “capped” or “shelled” decking. This decking has a core similar to composite decking (a popular choice for modern decks) made with cellular PVC. However, unlike composite decking, capped decking uses a layer of dense, tough polymer that will resist scratches, stains, and fading!

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Try Using Water-Shedding Decking

If you want to take it a step further to avoid deck rot, this type of decking is a great choice. DuxxBak decking is a composite decking that has a clever substructure that will keep the water away. Plus, it won’t allow water to pass between the deck boards. So if you have space underneath the deck to hang out, it will stay dry even during the heaviest of rainstorms!

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When Building, Use Deck Board Spacers

Make sure you install the decking nice and even by using board spacers while you drill. These board spacers can measure a consistent distance of 1/8 in. or 3/16 in.