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DIY Deck Building In Houston


Today our deck building crew in Houston will give you the step by step instructions on how to build a simple floating deck. The great thing is to build this deck in Houston; you will not need a permit or to spend additional money on stairs and railing. The first step you will need to do is to gather all your materials and tools. We have provided you with a list of some of these items you may already own, and others can be rented for a nominal fee or will need to be purchased from your local hardware store.

Deck Building Tools

• Tape measure and level

• Carpenter pencil and chalk line

• Framing and Speed Square

• Shovel, auger, or post-hole diggers

• Squeeze clamps

• Utility knife and aviator shears

• Jigsaw, hand saw, and miter saw.

• Table saw and chop saw.

• Rock Bar

• Cordless screw gun

• Hammer

• Nail gun with compressor

• Bo Wrench Deck Straightening Tool

• Router or sandpaper

Step # 2 - Contact 811: Once you have your supplies, you want to use white paint to mark the ground where you are planning to build your deck before calling 811. Underground lay subsurface utilities include water mains, gas, cable, electrical, and sewage. When you call 811, the local utility companies will come to your location and, with a machine, tell you where the lines are and then use paint to spray paint on the ground and flag it so you know where to dig.

  • Orange is for cable lines.

  • Yellow flags are for water and sewage.

  • Red markers are for electrical and gas.

Many times, electrical is run above ground overhead. This service will help to guarantee that your project is safe in the long run. If you hire a deck builder in Houston, they should handle this on your behalf and provide you with a ticket number. Ensure that you leave your gate unlocked on the expected day (generally three days), so they have easy access to your yard, or this will delay your project as you will have to reschedule.

Avoid any areas marked by the utility company; dig with a shovel to be safe if your location is near the marked utilities.

Step # 3 Installing Deck Footing: There are a few types of footing, but tube footing is the easiest for do-it-yourselfers deck builders. This will need to be installed lower than the frost line, Houston’s frost line is five inches, but we recommend installing them between 18” to 24” inches. When the soil freezes, it exerts an upward force that can easily lift thousands of pounds. Should it freeze, this can lead to structural failure.

These piers are solid pre-formed concrete foundation blocks explicitly designed for the Floating Foundation Deck System. Concrete blocks are easy to use and cost substantially less than conventional deck buildings; any Houston hardware store should sell them. Concrete deck blocks should be at least a foot apart in compacted soil; if the soil is loose, use a tamper to compact it. A suitable method for the DIYer is to dig footing holes that are two feet deep and wide enough to set cardboard footing tubes into the hole, then backfill the tube with dirt and fill the inside of the tubes with fast-setting concrete. Next, set an anchor bolt into the wet concrete that you’ll use to secure a metal post anchor and align it according to the layout indicated on the drawings. Galvanized post anchors prevent lateral movement and keep the ends of wood support posts from direct contact with the concrete. To determine how much concrete your slab will need, you will need to use a concrete calculator. Pour the mixed concrete into the tubing form, then place a post anchor bolt into the center of each footer before the cement begins to harden. Leave enough of the bolt above the footing to connect to the post base. Note: Use a mason’s string line stretched across the tubing forms to align the anchor bolts. Allow time for the concrete to cure; once it’s cured or dried, set the bases over each anchor bolt and align accordingly. Don’t tighten it all the way; leave the nut loose enough to tap the bottom in either direction later. The bolts can be tightened later once the posts are set where you want them. First, put the posts in the post base and attach them with screws. Next, place the beams onto the post base.

Set the beam directly onto the post bases if your plans call for a flush beam (set within the same plane as the framing). Use metal strapping hardware or composite shims to fine-tune the beam level. Then, attach the beam to the post bases using screws. Check beam alignment and adjust as needed to make sure beams are square.

Step # 4: Deck Building Frame: It's time to build your frame with the posts or beams in place. Because the deck is free-standing, it does not require a ledger board, which gets attached to the house. Instead, it will consist of rim joists that make up the perimeter, to be filled in with joists that will support the decking. Attach the rim joint to the post using 3” galvanized screws when building a floating deck where posts are in the frame. Install the remaining rim joists similarly to create the perimeter of the deck. If you want to reduce bounce, install a double-rim joist. Using 12” on center joist spacing will strengthen the frame throughout the deck. Secure the rim joist to the posts using the appropriate galvanized structural screws or galvanized lag bolts. Cut the posts plum to the top of the rim joist so that it can sit freely over it. If the beams represent the ends of the deck, finish the sides by installing a rim joist on either side. The deck’s perimeter now comprises a shaft on either end or a rim joist on either side. Add any additional hardware or brackets. Keep the crown facing upwards.

Step # 5: Secure Inner Joist: Start by laying out the joist spacing on opposing rim joists. Next, use your tape to measure across the rim joist and mark where to place them according to your blueprints. Repeat this step until all your beams parallel the one you drew. Be sure to pull your layout from the same side of the rim joist as you did in the previous step. Use a square to mark a line down the beam’s inside face and an X on the side of the line opposite where you pulled your measurement. So, if you pulled your measurement from the right, place the X on the left side. The X is where the joist will go. Then you can toenail into the beam or use a joist hanger. Measure the joist length using the area closest to the ends, and the middle can have bowed in or out slightly. This is when you want to use your Bo Wrench Deck Straightening Tool. You fit the adjusted gripper onto a joist, swing the lever, and release, or use a pipe clamp to straighten out the board and move it wherever you want. Add self-adhesive flashing tape across the joists’ tops to secure them in place.

Step # 6 Install Boards and Hardware: Since your deck is not attached to the house, you will want it to run parallel to the frame. If you are still determining where the final board will land, start with the board farthest from the house and move inwards. Continue running boards in this way, maintaining the appropriate spacing between each of the boards. Most deck builders in Houston leave a 3/16” gap between boards. Going over a ¼” may be too broad. If you use pressure-treated lumber, there will be some shrinkage, so butt the boards against each other. As you install the decking boards perpendicular to the joists, drive two fasteners through each board into the center of each joist. Position each fastener 3/4 to 1 inch from the edge of the board. As you move to the end of the deck (or towards the house), measure the distance at each corner to ensure everything stays level and runs parallel to the rim joist. The seams should look random, so keep two or more joists away from one another.

Step # 7 Trim Boards: With the boards in place, it’s time to trim the ends. Start by pulling a measurement of 1 inch or 1 1/2 inches at each corner, then mark the boards with a carpenter’s pencil, clamp a temporary guide for the circular, and make a precise cut. Remember to measure twice and cut once. Once you’ve cut it, run your router along the bottom to smooth it out, or use sandpaper. This is how deck builders in Houston construct a ground-level deck.

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Looking For Deck Building or Repairs In Houston?

Then you have come to the right place! At Emerson Home Exterior Enhancements, our crew has over 20 years of experience and offers a variety of designs for you to choose from ranging from ground-level decks to wrap arounds and composite decking; we even repair and extend your existing deck even if we didn't build it. If you are looking for deck repairs or deck building in Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, or the surrounding area, please call our experienced and insured team at (281) 545-7740 for a free estimate.

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