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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".
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.
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.