Build an Eco-Friendly Deck

Decks are a great way to add defined space to an otherwise empty yard. They are more attractive and inviting than a plain old yard. Add a great new space to entertain or just kick back in the sun with this environmentally friendly deck.
Materials and Tools:
contractors marking paint
8 precast concrete piers
4-inch composite planks for decking
12-inch planks for deck facing
1-3/8-inch joist hanger nails
joist hangers
3-inch galvanized framing nails
2-1/2-inch composite deck screws
prefabricated stair risers
miter saw
chalk line
deck guide
1. Measure out and mark the outline of your deck. Then, measure out and mark where your concrete piers will sit. When laying each pier, make sure they are no more that 6 feet apart. (Check local building codes; they may require that you use more than just piers.)
2. If you have a grass yard, cut out the sod so that the pier will sit easily on solid ground. Wherever you will be placing a pier, use a tamper to compact the ground. This will make sure that the earth is solid to support the weight of the deck.
3. Once the piers are placed, lay the girders in the joist hangers on the concrete piers. Take a level and set each end on a separate girder to make sure they are both the same level. If they aren’t, tamp down the soil of the higher pier until it is level. If you cannot get the pier lower, place shims underneath the girder to raise it to the appropriate level. Make sure that all the joists are even by placing the level between each joist. Nail the joists into place.
4. Lay the cross beams out 16 inches from center over the girders. Since this deck has an angled side, our first four beams are 136 inches long; the fifth beam is 127-1/2 inches; the sixth beam is 111-1/2 inches; the seventh is 95-1/2 inches; the eighth is 79-1/2 inches; and the last beam is 63-1/2 inches. Attach the cross beams to the 4×6 beams with joists hangers.
5. Place 2x4s along the ends of the cross beams on each side of the deck and secure with framing nails. Then add joist hangers where the frame and the cross joist intersect. Because the deck will have an angled side, miter the ends of the two frame beams that will sit on either side of the angle to 45 degrees. Place the beam that runs along the angled side and attach with the framing nails.
6. Take a chainsaw and cut the end of the girders that extend past the edge of the frame. Start from the back of the deck and work your way to the front. Place your first beam 1-1/2 inches over the frame. It is usually recommended that you don’t leave more than an inch of overlay, but we will be adding a 1/2-inch facing to the side of the deck.
7. Use a deck guide when placing your decking. This will assure that each piece is uniformly spaced. For this project, we spaced the pieces 1/4 inch apart. The deck guide will also allow you to align the spaces for pre-drilling holes. With 2.5-inch deck screws, attach the beams to the frame. As you near the end, you can adjust the deck spacing so you end up with a 1-1/2-inch overhang on the opposite side.
8. Once your decking is placed, snap a chalk line across the outside ends of the boards. A chalk line is a great tool to always carry with you when building, giving you a dead on straight line when needed. Now take your circular saw and trim along the chalk line, making the jagged side of the deck nice and straight.
9. For the stairs, use pre-fabricated rises. Cut a section big enough for the cross beam to fit, starting at the base of the third step. If the riser is too big, trim the bottom. Make sure all the risers sit completely level. Once in place, drill 4-inch screws through the cross beam and into the portion of the riser behind it. For extra strength, add front and back 2x4s in for each level of stairs. Attach the rear 2x4s of the second step to the frame. Add the decking material to the stairs.
10. Finally, take your 12-inch deck facing and cut to measure (if needed) for each side of the deck. Miter the ends of each piece so they form clean corners. Place the facing on the outer side of the frame so it skirts around the deck. Attach it with 3-inch galvanized framing nails.
The Self-build Survival Guide – How to build or renovate your dream home – the eco-friendly way

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