Do-it-yourself deck-building tips

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2012

(ARA) – Looking for a way to enhance the use and enjoyment of your outdoor space? A deck addition may be the solution. A deck creates a designated area for entertaining and relaxing outdoors, while increasing homeowner satisfaction and home value. If you’re a motivated do-it-yourselfer, building your own deck can be a fun and rewarding challenge that saves you money and ensures your outdoor space is tailored to suit you and your home.

When planning your deck addition, one of the most important considerations is deciding what materials to use. Today’s advanced composite decking offers a number of advantages compared to wood, PVC and earlier composites, making it an increasingly desirable choice for all types of decking projects. For example, ChoiceDek Foundations wood-plastic composite decking and railing offers fade, stain, scratch, mold and mildew resistance, an attractive appearance and price, ease-of-use and an environmentally friendly alternative. ChoiceDek is available at Lowe’s stores nationwide.

Wood-plastic composite decking is available in a variety of colors and textures that give it a wood-like appearance without the finishing requirements of sealing, staining or painting, so you can begin enjoying your deck as soon as installation is complete. Since composite decking won’t split or splinter, it’s a choice your children and bare feet will also appreciate.

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Many composite decking lines also come with complementary railing systems and accessories to make outfitting your deck easier. One popular deck trend is using hidden fastening systems to attach boards to the underlying structure, which offers a nice, smooth deck surface free of screws. To accommodate hidden fasteners, many composite decking lines are available with grooves.

Once you’ve chosen which decking to use, the next steps are designing and building your deck. While this may sound daunting, there are a number of free online deck design tools available to help make planning easier, and a lot of information that can provide guidance on how to build a deck.

Decks can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit the types of activities you’ll be using it for – dining, entertaining, relaxing, etc. Using a deck design tool like Lowe’s Deck Designer online tool can help take the guesswork out of planning your deck; you’ll save time and money, and get to try different designs to see what looks and works best for your yard. Once you’ve completed the design, you can simply print out the automatically generated materials list and head to your local Lowe’s store to get everything you need to start your project.

The “How-to Build a Deck” article on the Lowe’s website outlines what tools you’ll need, deck building terms to know, the importance of designing a deck, how to lay out the deck, as well as detailed information for each step of the building process. Composite decking does not require any special tools or skills to install, and if your deck design includes curved boards, simply heating a composite deck board will allow you to bend it as needed.

Once your new deck is complete, you may find yourself with some leftover materials. Some composite decking, like ChoiceDek Foundations, can be used in virtually any nonstructural application, including projects like docks and walkways where it’s in contact with the ground or water, making it suitable for a variety of uses.

Planter box

Whether you choose to fill it with flowers, ornamentals or edibles, a planter box can brighten your deck and soften the space to help make it more inviting.

Storage bench

No outdoor living space is complete without a seat to sit and enjoy it. And when the seat can double as a place to stow outdoor cushions, toys and garden tools, it’s a double duty must-do for your outdoor living area.


If you’re a DIYer with a dog, make Fido a place of his own that blends in with your new deck. There are many free DIY doghouse plans available online. Don’t have dog? Consider building a birdhouse, instead.

For more information on deck building and design, or to find more creative outdoor project ideas, visit To learn more about ChoiceDek Foundations decking, go to