The materials you will need to build your deck include pier blocks, post anchors, nails, railing stock, lag bolts (or screws), flashing (if required), decking, ledger board, girder stock, band joists, caulk, water repellant, post stock, joist hanger sealers and nails, string, brackets (right angle), concrete and post caps.
The most common mistakes in building decks occur when the builder uses badly bowed board, chooses the wrong location (or height) doesn’t use proper woods (such as redwood, cedar or pressure treated lumbers) or fails to follow building codes. You can avoid these mistakes by avoiding them in the first place!
You will also need to determine if your deck is going to be a free-standing unit or if it will be attached to your home. The procedures for each of these varies and will have to be closely followed to ensure a well stabilized deck, but also, check your municipalities regulations, as many times decks that are not attached to your home may not be taxable as part of your property!
If you plan to attach your deck to your home, you will need to begin by bolting a ledger board to the house, (basically to attach the deck to) generally installed so that the top of the ledger is 1 1/2″ below the final top surface of the deck allowing the decking boards to be nailed on top. You will want to make sure the ledger board is low enough that once the decking is installed, the level of the deck is at least 1″ below the level of the finished floor inside of your home. The length of the ledger board should be three inches less than the total length of your deck (allowing for joist overhang on each end), and if at all possible, should be all one piece. If you cannot use a one piece ledger board, it is highly recommended that the pieces not be less than eight feet each. When placing the ledger board, bolting is the most important piece of this aspect of your project. The bolts should be positioned so that they penetrate something solid such as wall studs or floor joists. When selecting the ledger board, be certain that it has as little bow to it as possible, as otherwise you will have a curve in your finished deck.