Planning your Deck Project

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    Every good project starts with a good plan and although Decks are a pretty simple project you will probably need to submit plans to your Building Official to get a permit for construction.

    For specifications of how detailed your plans need to be you should call your local permit office and ask them what they will need from you.

    Most areas will require:

    • A Plot Plan of your homes lot showing the location and scaled size of the deck.

    • Three View Design Plan showing Top, Side and Front views of the deck

    The Design Plan should clearly show the Foundation or Footings and should describe the materials and size of lumber used for Beams, Joists and Steps.


    Since this is a very common project you should ask your Permit Office if they have examples or Sample plans. This will give you an idea of what they will be looking.

    If you will be the one drawling the Plans you should use a software application that will give you control over line sizes and dimensions. It is suggested that you stay away from software that says it is only for decks. Most of the time these applications do not provide useable plans but are only good for showing a contractor or an architect what you desire in your project.

    If you are in doubt of your skills to draw a good plan you can probably sketch a good idea of your deck including measurements of any Doorway, Window , Electrical outlet or Plumbing Fixture like a hose bib and then take it to a local Drafting Service or Contractor.

    Depending on the complexity of the design you can expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $150 for a 100 to 500 sq foot deck plan.

    Materials List
    Now that you have your plan you can start compiling a Materials List.
    Unfortunately for most projects you will find that no matter how detailed your Materials List is that unexpected or forgotten items will crop up during construction.

    Your Materials List will give you a good idea of how much your project will cost.

    You should include all items that will be needed.

    Lumber, Nails, Deck Screws, Concrete, Deck Stain and any Tools you will have to rent or purchase.

    A materials list doesn’t necessarily need to be submitted to get Permit Approval but it will help you later when you are ordering materials from your lumber supplier. When you first make your order you should tell the person taking the order what your project is. If you have forgotten any items they may be able to make suggestions. Additionally you should keep your order receipt and count all the items that come off of the delivery truck to make sure that everything you paid for was delivered. You should count every piece of lumber and other items before you sign for the delivery.

    Visit our other Howto Guides for Deck Building and Carpentry Help


    For Some Great Books on Deck Plans Visit our Builders Store The Complete Guide to Building Decks
    Building Porches and Decks (For Pros By Pros Series)
    Complete Decks : Dream It, Plan It, Build It (Better Homes & Gardens (Paperback))

    200 Deck Plans on CD-ROM

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