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Save thousands of dollars by building your own deck with a deck plan from DIY Deck Plans. Find the plans, deck building tips and tutorials to build your deck.

1.2 Deck Building Tools

What Tools Do I Need for Deck Construction?

The simple way to create a tool list for almost any DIY project is to start by thinking through the project from the ground up and listing tools needed in each phase. This list is divided into two categories, one for the minimum required tool to get the job done and one for the best tool for the job.

1.1 Inspect Your Deck Building Lumber and Materials

Deck building requires a lot of varied materials. This can be a lot for a DIY deck builder to figure out. Here are a few things you should know when shopping for, or accepting a delivery of building materials.

How to Visually Inspect Materials

There are four essential qualities that need to be inspected before accepting a delivery, or purchasing deck materials.

1.3 How to Check a Materials List, or Write Your Own

If you are working with one of our plans, your plan comes with a materials list. Our lists are very detailed and cover everything from the footings, framing and hardware, up to the deck covering, railing and skirting.

9. Outside "Rim Joist" or Faceplate Installation

Our deck plans call for structural outside faceplates. These pieces are also known as rim joists and form the outside frame of the deck, fastening all other members to each other and stiffening the deck frame to prevent unnecessary vibration, flex and twisting. Decorative faceplates are often used in deck construction as well. In this case, a secondary faceplate is typically cut from lighter 1x material, or other siding and fastened to the outside face of the rim joist to cover it and create a decorative faceplate.

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8. Framing Cut Corners

Outside Faceplates for 45° Cut Corners

When a 45° corner is required in the outside edge of your deck, you will need to install the faceplate at that corner on a 45° angle. To do this, the two faceplate pieces running into this corner will be shortened and cut at a 45° miter. If this corner is included in your deck plan, the length of these pieces will be indicated. If not, simply measure from the corner the distance you want your 45° corner to cut into the deck, along both angles of the faceplates where they meet at the corner.

7. Blocking Your Deck Joists

Blocks cut from the same material as your joists should be installed at regular intervals, perpendicular to the length of the joists. They help to stiffen the deck’s frame and prevent joists from moving or twisting as the lumber expands and contracts.

Pro Tip

Cut blocks for inside joists all to the same length, 14½ inches. This aligns the joists with perfect spacing. Outside joists may not be spaced at 16”oc or may need to adjust to get the proper fit for decking.

6. Deck Joist Installation

Most of our deck plans call for 2x8 joists. Joists are the floor supports that your decking will ride on and typically extend out from the house perpendicularly, between the ledger and face board, or with one end resting on the double beam.

The simplest and strongest way to install deck joists is to use joist hanger brackets. Install your brackets first and joist installation becomes a breeze.

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5. Installing 2x8 Deck Beams

If the outside edge of your deck is at least 17” above grade, a double 2x8 beam should be installed to support the joists along the outside. The joists will then extend over the beam in a cantilever position.

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4. Installing Deck Ledgers

A ledger board is a horizontal piece of lumber attached to a wall to support the ends of deck joists. The ledger can be attached using one of three methods.

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