Read this before you start
Marking and layout is the third step in building your deck. The layout is possibly the most important step after you have made the decision to proceed. The placement of the footings is critical to the location of the support posts, which will ultimately make your deck a safe and enjoyable place to enjoy the outdoors, and keep it from falling down!
Even though there is room for error in measuring the location of the footings, success comes from striving for accuracy, therefore measure to the 1/8th of an inch. This layout is simple and can easily be completed by any level of DIYer. Mistakes can be corrected at a later part of the project if necessary. These mistakes however, will add time and money to your deck project if left uncorrected.
To set up for this task, gather your drawings, tape measure, marking tools, level, all of your equipment, and put them on a site worktable for easy reference and a place to find them. A paperweight of tools and other heavy objects will keep the plans in place if the wind begins to blow.
Skill Level & Time
Time to complete this project depends on the size of the deck and the level of help available, the times listed here are for two people on a 10’x 30’ deck with the house defining two sides of the deck.
• Beginner - 3 hours
• Intermediate - 2 hours
• Advanced - 1 hour
Check for hidden utility lines before you start.
Check local code restrictions to be sure that you comply with their regulations on deck height off the ground and limitations on the amount of lot coverage allowed.
Rushing the layout can cause the deck to be built out of “square” which will make the final placement of deck boards and hand railings extremely difficult at the end of the project.
A helper who understands the overall design and layout process will be invaluable in holding the dummy end of the tape and helping to line up marking strings.