The Deck: Designing It

I revealed last week that we had been working on plans to build a deck and we had finally got our permit so we could start building. Now that we have jumped that hurdle we know we have a long road of building and inspections ahead of us. We have actually started some of the prep work which I will share in a later post. In the mean time I thought I would give a more detailed look at our design since I didn’t elaborate too much in the first post.

As a reminder here’s what the back of our house currently looks like with some stakes in the ground that outline the new deck.

Deck Planning & Permit 5

Now onto the drawings of our new deck. First up we drew a basic outline showing the overall dimensions of the deck we’re intending to build.

You’ll notice in the bottom left hand corner of the drawing is a dashed outline of our existing deck. Due to the shape of our house and because we didn’t want to deal with attaching a deck to our house we decided to keep the existing structure. Of course we will be replacing the decking and railing to fit in with the new deck. Out from there is a smaller second level which is really a two foot wide step down. Another step down is the main deck level. It will run close to the edge of the house and then from there it will extend out away from the house. The front edge has an extra bump out which utilizes a little more of our yard space.

Basic Design

The next drawing is a detailed view of all our footing, posts and beam locations. We modified a Lowe’s deck builder design and made it work for what was required by our local codes as well as what made sense to us. Chris spent a lot of time looking at the tip sheets and local county documents to figure out where everything should be located.

Footing and Post Locations

The third drawing shows where the guard rails and post will be as well as where the stairs are located. This was something that changed a bit from our original design. In our county you only need to have railing where the deck surface is more than 30″ above grade. Since we have a crazy yard we think that we would only be required to have railing on left side of the deck. That is why originally our thought was that we would only have railing along that side. We also thought we would put the stairs straight off the end, the full 10′ width. After talking with our permit reviewer during our interview we started to rethink our plan. We ended up moving the stairs and decided just rail in the whole deck. I like the idea that it will be a little safer since there may be areas where we get close to 30″ high or more than a step high. We also like that we would only need to block off the stairs with a gate and we can keep our dog off the deck and any visiting children inside the confines of the railing.

Stair and Railing

In addition to these drawings we also have a five other pages but these are just a bunch of detailed views of various parts of the deck. These include hand rail, guard rail, footings, and various connection details which were mostly taken from tip sheets that we found. To get our permit we were actually required to include all these views as well as specify brackets and hardware we intended to use.

Detail Views 1 Detail Views 2 Detail Views 3 Detail Views 4 Detail Views 5

Looking at all this there really was a lot of thought and time that went into this plans. On the plus side we have most of the details already figured out so hopefully the build will go a little more smoothly.

Anyone else planning out a deck design? How complicated are your plans?

Check out the next step. Cutting out sod and marking for footings


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