Building a Deck by Myself (2)

( first blog of the series )

2. Preparation

Having made up my mind I started the process. The first thing to do was choose the materials. Fairfax County Typical Deck Details  (hereinafter referred as the Details) require the weight-bearing structure to be pressure-treated lumber. As for the deck boards, both wood and composite are allowed. In order to reduce future maintenance, we decided to go with composite.


Composite material is recycled plastic mixed with wood sawdust molded under pressure. Composite began to appear on the market ten years ago. Since the maintenance for composite is simple, even though it is more expensive than wood, it has grown quickly in popularity. It is said that 50% of new decks are made of composite material. There were only one or two brands ten years ago, and now there are dozens. Different brands have different production process; therefore, the performance characteristics vary widely. Choosing among brands was a problem for me. So, I just took the time to research on the Internet, and went to several stores see the materials. Finally, based on expert reviews, user feedback, and color options, we decided to use EverGrain ( )

For safety reasons, there are many specific deck detail requirements in the Details. It actually indirectly tells how the deck should be built.  However, the Details does not tell “how” to so all those things, so I bought two deck-building books from Home Depot.

After reading the books, I got the basic ideas about deck building, so I purchased the power tools from according the tool list in the books.

Circular Saw
Reciprocating Saw
Jig Saw
Hammer Drill
Drywall Screwdriver
Miter Saw

After the tools arrived, I discovered the miter saw was too small for the job, so I returned it and borrowed a larger one from Mike.

( next blog )