How to Build a Sun Deck

In addition to adding value to your home, a sun deck can be both beautiful and pleasant.

Although most people prefer to have professionals take care of the building, it is possible to build your own. With a little planning and a lot of carpentry and sweat, you can make your sun deck the perfect place to lay back and soak up the day.

Plan your sun deck's design. Unless you have a lot of carpentry experience, you will want to get ideas from professionals and obtain an instruction manual for your sun deck.

On the side of the house to which your deck will be connected, clear the outside wall's trim to the height of your planned deck, and cover the newly exposed surface with a waterproof membrane.

Mark the location of your ledger, according to your plans or what is prescribed in your manual, and drill wood spacers at intervals of about 1 or 2 feet to the wall under the demarcated ledger line. Then align your ledger with the tops of the spacers, and attach it to the side of the house using half-inch lag screws.

Attach a strip of waterproof membrane to cover the top of the spacer blocks and ledger, and extend it up the wall a few inches. Then cover the waterproof strip on both the surface of the ledger and wall with one strip of metal flashing and secure it in place with nails spaced at about 6-8 inches apart.

Use joist hanger nails to attach double-joist hangers at each end of the ledger, level with the bottom edge of the board.

Mark the perimeter of your planned deck with strings and deck holes in each planned footing location. Make sure that your holes go deeper than the frost line, then place your assembled footing into the holes according to your building plans or instruction manual. Pour concrete in the hole around your deck's footing and allow it to dry (allow about one week).

Mark each piece of footing to the desired height and cut to size.

Attach post bases to the top of your deck's footing with an anchor bolt, securely tightening it in the right place with a wrench.

Attach side rim joists into the joist hangers at each end of the ledger, placing the joist ends on top of the corner footing. Then attack your front rim and interior joists using the same method.

Place your deck boards perpendicular to the house wall, allowing 1 inch of overhang past the front rim joist and make sure they all fit in place. Then attach them to the joist using polyurethane marine sealant spread on the tops of the joists. Fasten nails into each end of each board.

Finish or paint your sun deck according to your taste. As soon as the sun dries your paint or finish, it is your turn to soak up some rays on your new deck.

Things You Will Need

  • Socket wrench Saw Level Chalk or marker Concrete and mixer Hammer, nails and drill Shovel Measuring tape Wood joists and planks Polyurethane marine sealant

Tip

  • Take time in choosing the location of your sun deck. Consider the amount of direct sunlight it receives throughout the year.

About the Author

William Jackson has written, reported and edited professionally for more than 10 years. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, high-level government reports, books and online. He holds a master's degree in humanities from Pennsylvania State University.