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Ultimate Deck Guide

Download The Ultimate Deck Guide Members Only

A 15-article collection covering deck-building basics and beyond. How-to advice, selecting materials, and advanced strategies.

Is Your Deck Safe?

Fasteners and lumber will rust and rot as decks get older. Plus, many decks were never built right the first time. Find out how to be sure your deck is safe:

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Deck Basics

The Complete Guide to Building Your Own Deck
From footings to finish, get detailed advice from a pro.

A Solid Deck Begins with Concrete Piers
Learn how to determine size and spacing of piers, when to use spread footings, and how to deal with poor soil bearing capacity.

Smart Deck-Framing Strategies
Ledger brackets, flexible flashing, and a joist-hanger jig are a few field-tested tricks.

Better Ways to Frame a Deck

Better Ways to Frame a Deck
Smart details for ledgers, posts, and joists.

Deck Boards Done Right
Advice from a builder on laying deck boards.

Deck Materials:

Rot-Resistant Framing Material
Copper- and borate-based preservative treatments have proven effectiveness, but structural plastics are more durable.

Synthetic Decking Takes Off

Synthetic Decking Takes Off
Available in many colors and textures, these durable products won't rot, splinter, or crack. What's not to like?

Deck Railings Grow Up
A closer look at Stainless steel, vinyl, aluminum, composites, and wood.

Deck-Fastener Options
An in-depth look at modern screws, brackets, and plastic-based fasteners.

Accent Lighting for Your Deck
Safety, task, and security lighting; power sources, wire connectors, bulb types, mounting options, and tips for lighting deck stairs.

Advanced Deck Building & Design:

A Balcony Deck Built to Last
Learn how to use steel framing connectors to attach a balcony deck to a house. Beautiful trim details designed to dry withstand Hurricanes.

Custom Details Make a Better Deck
Learn how to frame a deck without attaching it to the house and plan post details to define the structure of built-in benches and pergola.

A Watertight Second-Story Porch

A Watertight Second-Story Porch
Porches over living space can be rot producers. Learn how to get the details right and keep your home rot-free.

Build a curved deck
Don't cut corners, round them. Learn framing and finish-out techniques from a pro.

Curved Deck Stairs
Detailed pictorials and illustrations reveal the simplicity behind building freestanding curved stairs without the benefit of supporting walls.