Proper   Deck  Construction

By Douglas Pencille

Introduction | Diagrams Showing Proper Deck Construction


1. Introduction
Building his own deck is every handyman’s dream. As such, it very likely carries the distinction of being one of the most frequently improperly built structures around the home.  I often find serious defects like: decks improperly bolted to the house, unsafe stairways & railings, missing flashing, over-spanning of floor joists, decks turned into 3 or 4 season porches without upgrading the foundations (needed to carry the extra weight), use of un-galvanized nails or screws (so they don't rust through), use of untreated wood (so it doesn't rot), etc.  Some of the defects can actually make a deck unsafe for use.

By trying to save a little money and building a deck or porch themselves, some homeowners actually loose money when it has to be rebuilt properly. . .not to mention the repairs that have to be made to the house itself when things such as an omitted piece of flashing has allowed water to damage the house wall, etc.  A good rule to follow is, "If you aren't familiar with what you are doing, hire someone who is."  Also, don't forget that all decks, porches, etc. should be constructed with a building permit, and the protection that the on-going inspection process provides.


2. Diagrams Showing General Guidelines For Deck Construction
Below are some general rules and guidelines for proper deck construction (remember to check with your municipal building inspector before designing and building your deck, as codes vary from area to area):

Cut-away drawing of proper 
deck attachment to house.


Diagram of proper deck footing 
and joist construction.

Joist span and spacing table.



puregold.gif (5235 bytes)


puregoldtext.gif (2587 bytes)


About DSP | The Home Inspection Process | Other Services | Comments From Our Customers

         Resources For Buyers & Sellers | Real Estate Professionals | Contact Us | Home

                             DSP  Structural Consultants, LLC   (c)1998 - 2000