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Build a one-level deck

  • Difficulty: hammer hammer
    Close Difficulty
    Beginner Do-It-Yourselfer - Easy
    Intermediate Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
    Experienced Do-It-Yourselfer - Difficult
    Professional - Expert
  • Completion Time : Week-end Project

Building a one-level deck or patio is a great way to increase the living space of your. It is the ultimate do-it-yourself job because building a 12' X 12' one-level deck or patio can be achieved in one weekend by just following a simple set of instructions. Decking material is available in pressure-treated wood, cedar, composite wood and plastic and vinyl. This choice can be factored by the use and cost of the deck or by the yearly climate. To get the best information for the right deck material talk to an expert.

This project uses treated wood but you can use composite or cedar as well. Just remember that the structure that holds the deck as to be built with treated wood.


Tools and materials required


  • Carpenter's level
  • Chalk line
  • Circular saw
  • Drill bit
  • Hammer drill
  • Garden hoe
  • Hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • Pickets
  • Plumb line
  • Shovel
  • Carpenter’s square


  • Anchoring screws
  • Bags of pre-mixed concrete (or 18 concrete patio slabs)
  • Cylindrical forms (Sonotubes®) or 4" deck blocks if using patio stones
  • Galvanized 4" post saddles (if using concrete)
  • Carriage bolts, nuts and washers
  • Galvanized joist hangers and brackets
  • Galvanized screws and nails
  • Lag screws and washers
  • Reinforcing mesh (if using concrete)
  • Reinforcing wire (If using concrete)
  • Galvanized flashing or drip cap
  • Caulking
  • Treated wood (beams, posts, ramps, steps, lattice, decking)

Before Assembly


Treated wood should be handled with precautions.

  • Wear gloves and long sleeves when handling treated wood to avoid skin contact with and to protect against splinters.
  • Wear dust mask, eye protection, gloves and long sleeves when sawing, sanding or shaping treated wood to avoid skin contact with or inhalation of sawdust, to protect against splinters and to protect eyes from flying particles. When making cross cuts use a cut sealer as the factory-treatment rarely goes to the heartwood.

During construction:

  • Apply an appropriate "end-cut" preservative to protect exposed, untreated wood.
  • Use nails, screws, bolts, connectors and other hardware resistant to corrosion: stainless steel, hot-dipped galvanized, yellow zinc or specially coated for outdoor use. Ordinary fasteners will rust, causing unsightly stains, and will weaken and fail.
  • Make certain the wood is thoroughly dry before painting or staining, and follow the coating manufacturer's recommendations. Use only good quality oil or acrylic coatings on water repellent pressure treated wood.
  • Regularly apply a stain or a water-resistant product to waterproof the wood and reduce leaching: every two years on floors and every four years for all other surfaces.
  • Do not dispose of treated wood remnants or sawdust in compost heaps, wood chips, or mulch and do not use it as animal bedding or litter.
  • Never burn treated wood.


The National Building Code of Canada establishes guidelines for the construction of buildings and various structures, including decks. However, these standards can vary depending on the local building requirements in effect in a particular province or municipality.
The height of the deck’s surface above the ground determines the requirement for the railing height

  • Deck height under 24" = Optional or decorative railing
  • Deck height from 24" to 5' 10" = 36" railing
  • Deck height over 5'10" = 42" railing

Also Note:

  • The maximum distance between the balusters and under the bottom rail is 4".
  • For a stairway, the treads should be no less than 9 ¼" deep and the risers no more than 8" high.

Always check the local building requirements for your area before beginning any such construction project.


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Treated wood 1-level deck
Build a one-level deck