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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Decks and Porches Category

Improvement Project:

How to properly plan for the installation of a wood deck, some things to consider.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):



Installing a wood deck can do wonders to your house--it gives you a practical extension of the living space of your house on the outside.  If it is carefully planned out, with minimal maintenance, you'll have a great deck on which to enjoy the outside and even use it as an area to entertain your guests.

With the above in mind, particularly the need to perform a quality installation for minimal maintenance in the future, when specifically planning for the installation of a wood deck, there are many aspects of a wood deck that you must consider in advance, and they include the following:

  • Type of wood deck.  The type of wood deck you will use in the installation of your deck will determine the extent of your maintenance routine; cheap wood deck material will, in the long run, cost time and money to maintain.  In fact, if you purchase pressure-treated wood for your deck, make sure you give such wood about two to three weeks to cure/dry; wood that is installed while not dry tend to inevitably crack soon after installation.

  • Rain-runoff control.  Your wood deck will be subject to the outdoor elements 24/7.  It should not need to unnecessarily bear more exposure than is necessary, and this is especially true as to rain runoff.  Rain that runs down the roof overhangs should not accumulate on the deck, but be drawn into metal-mesh vents that will ultimately lead the water away from the house; these metal-mesh vents should be installed within the deck, right below the roof overhangs--level with all other wood boards as if these vents were also wood boards--to capture the rain runoff.

  • Fasteners.  When considering what fasteners you will use to securely install your wood deck, what should be a priority feature in your fastener is its longevity in staying securely fastened.  Ultimately, the fastener types come down to nails and screws.  Between these two types of fasteners, screws-particularly galvanized screws made for decks--are the best way to go when your priority is the longevity of fasteners staying in place.  Over time, nails often "pop" up as the deck is used and inherent pressure is applied on the deck boards.

  • Deck finishes.  There is a variety of deck finish products on the market.  If you choose to stain your deck, to make it worthy of the effort you'll put in to apply it, get a deck finish product that is specially made to endure heavy foot traffic; for products that have this special feature, it should be noted on their respective product labels.

  • Lighting.  You may want to lighten your deck with low-voltage outdoor lights.  If this is the case, early on make sure that you will have outdoor GFCI-protected outlets installed and accessible for this specific purpose.  Alternatively, you may consider utilizing the relatively new advent of advanced solar-energized lights that can be simply attached to deck and provide light for usually six or more hours. (For those who do not know what GFCI stands for, it means ground-fault circuit interrupter, which is a safety feature that helps prevent electrocution in the event of an electrical hazard.)

These are just some of the aspects of decking you should consider when planning the installation of your own deck.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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