Decks Tips

Read these 6 Decks Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Home Improvement tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How do I attach my deck to my house?

Attach it to the house

When building your deck, be sure to attach the ledger board (the joist that goes next to the house) into the rim joist of the house. Use at least 3/8" lag bolts that are at least 3" long. Be sure each bolt has a washer. Local codes vary on how many lags are required, but place one at least every 32".

How do I seal my deck?


Apply a sealer to your deck every other year. Scrub the deck with a deck cleaner and rinse well before sealing.

How do I seal my deck?


An easy method of applying sealer to your deck is to use a pump-up garden sprayer. Spray all the surfaces including the handrail.

How do I maintain my unpainted deck?

Unpainted decks

If your deck is brand new, let it "breathe" for a couple of weeks before applying a preservative. This will let the lumber acclimatize and dry a little. After two or three weeks of dry weather, sweep your new deck and then apply a water seal, like Thompson's, liberally.

When building my deck, should I use nails or screws?

Nails or screws?

When building a deck, always use screws instead of nails for these reasons:
Screws hold better than nails.
Screws are easier to "sink" into the lumber.
Screws don't back out of the deck boards like nails (no more toe grabbers).
It is easier to pay attention to placement with screws than with nails. Using a nail gun, we tend to nail fast rather than correctly.

Be sure to use the proper screws. Gold colored, zinc-plated deck screws are my choice.

How do I design a deck?

Designing your deck

Most DIY stores have a deck planning software program that will let you see what your deck will look like. Take measurements in with you. Measure the side of the house, showing doors, windows, offsets, electric meter, gas meter, water hydrants, etc. Also measure the distance from the ground to the bottom of the door.
The design software will show you not only a picture of your design, but will also provide a material list and price of materials.
Don't be afraid to experiment. Look at building the deck around two or even three sides of the house. Try different levels. For example, my deck is L-shaped, with three levels, the tallest level being about 36 inches off the ground.

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Barbara Gibson