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How To Build A Raised Deck: Foolproof Method For Beginners

Raised decks can be a great way to add style to your home. You can also use them to entertain guests, and they’re a great place to enjoy barbecues.

But how do you build a raised deck? It’s actually a simple process that many people can do themselves.

How To Build A Raised Deck: Foolproof Method For Beginners

Building a deck is pretty simple, but you’ll need a building permit for a raised deck. You should contact a specialist to help you draft blueprints to submit it for approval. This can help set a budget. Once you have permission, you can build a raised deck on your property.

Plan Your Deck

When planning your deck, you should get inspiration by looking at others. You can find other decks on sites like Pinterest, or you can talk to design specialists.

Don’t hesitate to contact your local building supply store if you need help planning.

Don’t forget to set a budget before you start. Some materials are more expensive than others. If you want a large deck, consider if you can afford the materials you would use to make it.

Identifying your budget can help you plan, without one, you won’t be able to build your deck.

If you need help making blueprints for your deck, you can always get help online or from a contractor.

Get A Permit

You’ll need to get a permit before building your raised deck. While a deck you place on your ground won’t need a permit, this one will.

That’s because a raised deck will have health and safety concerns. If you build it incorrectly, you can injure yourself and others.

You need to check the structure and the ground around to see if it is sound. You’ll also need a zoning permit, and you should check that your deck isn’t on wetlands or in a historic district.

To get a permit, you’ll need to draw up your plans and get them approved by your local government office.

I recommend you don’t get your materials until you have planning permission. After all, you don’t want your money and materials to go down the drain.

Essential Materials And Tools

Once you have permission to build your raised deck, it’s time to get your materials. You’ll need these for different structures to ensure it has plenty of support.

Your footings are the foundation. While the foundation of your house is a large slab of concrete, you don’t need that for your deck (to learn more about what kind of footing is going to be best, read our guide here). Instead, decks have footings. These are small anchors to keep it grounded.

You have a post and post base to support your beams. They’re connected with a post cap to connect your posts to the beams. Your post base is the anchor for the rest of your deck and keeps it stable.

The joists are your subfloor. Every deck uses joists for the subfloor structure. To make your joists more secure, you can put small blocks of wood between them as pressure blocks.

You can also add hurricane ties to prevent the wind from blowing it over. You then cap off your joist with rim joists, which completes the box frame for your deck.

Last but not least, your final material is the decking. These are usually made of wood planks or artificial pieces.

I’d consult your local building supply store to get advice on the best decking depending on where you live.

Now that you know what materials you need, let’s talk about the tools. Here’s a list of tools you should keep with you when building your deck:

  • Circular Saw
  • Sawzall
  • Speed Square
  • Miter Saw
  • Hammer
  • Tape Measure
  • Level
  • Drill
  • Work Gloves

How To Build A Raised Deck

How To Build A Raised Deck: Foolproof Method For Beginners

Now that everything’s in order, it’s time to get to work. Your plan will have all the necessary measurements.

Feel free to double-check it to see if you have everything you need. Now, time to get down to business.

You need to set your ledger first and lay out your footings. You can do this by finding your house’s rim joists and ensuring they’re visible.

You’ll need to mark where your footings will go, and you can do so with a mixture of mason’s strings and batter boards.

You’ll need to dig a hole for your footings. Remember to follow the local code when you do this. Make sure they’re all the same height.

To make them, you can pour concrete in from tubing. Place an anchor bolt in the center before it hardens. Once your concrete is solid, you can insert your post bases but don’t tighten them yet.

Set your posts in the post base. You don’t have to cut them to length yet, but attach them with your screws and brace them with 2 x 4’s.

Put your post caps to the top of your posts so your beam can run across them. Remember, your beam should run parallel to your house.

Next, you’ll need to install your rim joists. If you install them first, your joists can help you when you need to find your deck’s perimeter.

You should space them out so they’re twelve, sixteen, or even twenty-four inches apart. The specific measurements will depend on your own measurements.

Once your joists connect to your ledger board, you should use a chalk line to know where to cut them.

Before you install your decking, install your rail posts. These need to be there if you plan on including railings. Then, when you do that, install the decking to your house.

Be careful when you do this. Make sure your decking is straight, even, and runs parallel to your house.

You’ll also need to add stairs and frame them to access your deck and attach your railings. Once you’ve completed everything, it’s time to relax.


Building a raised deck isn’t any more complicated than your standard deck. While it requires a little more planning, it’s all about permission.

Once you have permission, you can build your deck yourself. But if you find it tough, don’t hesitate to contact your local supply store for advice.

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