Here are those 4 basic steps:
1.) You will need a substructure. To start any substructure off right make sure you have ability to create a level foundation. That is not to say you need to rent a backhoe and demolish the area, but if you know that spot in your yard that collects water this might not be a great area to start a substructure until you addressed the drainage. A good tip when building a ground level deck is to use landscaping paper before starting your build. This will prevent weeds from poking up as time goes on.
The next step is securing your substructure. There is many different ways people secure their substructure, but the 2 most common methods are digging a post hole or using, concrete deck foundation blocks. When digging post holes you will need to dig a minimum of 6" below the permafrost line, or approx 18"-24" down. Once you have completed the hole place your post into the hole and back fill with concrete. Allow for time to dry. For using concrete deck foundations remember to level the ground below the concrete block. After this check with your local code official for your areas requirements on creating a stable foundation.
Traditionally most substructures are made of 2x4 treated wood that are placed 16" apart. These beams are connected via "joist hangers". Also, included in your substructure is a rim joist. The rim joist secures your deck to your home. All states have their own individual requirements for securing a rim joists. Using connectors like DeckLok will meet this requirement. There is also plenty of ways to decorate your substructure as well. Using trellis to conceal below the deck or Decorative Fascia Deck Corners can really set your deck stand apart from your neighbors.
2.) Selecting the surface of your deck. Selecting your deck surface is very easy. You have your choice of regular wood deck boards (like cedar or pressure treated pine), which will keep costs down but will need regular maintenance. You can also use exotic hardwoods, like "Ipe" to make a one of a kind look, but this option will typically costs the most and will also require regular maintenance. The final option, and becoming one of the fastest growing products in the decking industry is composites. The reason composites have grown so popular is the low maintenance required to maintain your deck, and should last approximately 25 years. Most customers will simply use soap and water to clean the surface once a year.
3.) Select your railing. Railings come in many varieties: cable railing, composite railing, aluminum railing, etc. The biggest mistake when building your railing is not checking with your local code officials as to the height requirements in your area. Also, keep in mind a lot of companies make railing designs simplistic by creating modular style systems, Deckorators is a great example of this. These modular systems typically have been designed to take the guess work out of construction. They are typically pre-drilled for fast assemble, come with step by step instructions, and can also be retrofitted to existing projects and will work with other manufactures. For example using Deckorators Classic balusters with Aluminum railing and designer baluster connectors cut the time in half since your railing system will just snap together! Here is another place you can easily customize your deck. Adding lighted balusters, using decorative baluster connectors, or use an intermix of two types of balusters, for example Deckorators traditional balusters look great when installed when you alternate with glass balusters. Alternating balusters is the hottest trend in railing design right now and with Deckorators modulated system you can achieve this unique look for a fraction of the time and cost of other systems.
4.) Personalize your railing with using customized post caps, recessed lighting, balusters, or even add audio for a true personalized feel. When personalizing your deck you will have a lot of options, but this will be the fun part! There you go, the basics of designing a true DIY Deck in 4 easy steps. For more information contact Home and Hardware Depot, the Deck Supply People, and the friendly staff will gladly help you through details.
Also, for the first 25 guests who use the promo code DIYDECK5 they will receive a 5% off discount on your purchase of $250 or more.