DIY Decks: How To Build Your Own Deck

DIY Decks: How To Build Your Own Deck

13th Feb 2024

A deck is a great addition to any home, offering a seamless transition between the comfort of indoor living and the natural beauty of the outdoors. Not only do they provide a versatile space for entertainment, relaxation, and outdoor dining, but they also significantly enhance the aesthetic appeal and value of your property.

A well-designed deck can be a focal point for family gatherings, barbecues, and quiet moments in nature, making it a worthwhile investment for homeowners seeking to enrich their living experience and increase their home's market value.

Having a deck built, however, can be a prohibitively expensive endeavour. A popular way around this is to take matters into your own hands and build a deck yourself. DIY decks save money, but it can be tricky to know where to even start.

This is where the experts at Canterbury Timber come in. We bring over sixty years of industry experience to providing top-notch customer service and have helped countless DIY projects go from dream to reality.

Today we’ll take you through the process of planning and building your own deck, and throw in some tips on material choice too. Let’s get started!

Planning Your Deck

The foundation of a successful DIY deck is thorough planning. Start by determining the size, location, and design of your deck. Consider how you intend to use the space—whether for quiet morning coffees or large gatherings.

Check local building codes and regulations to ensure compliance, and decide on the type of timber that best suits your aesthetic preferences and climate. Planning is also the time to set a budget, which will guide your decisions on materials and design complexity.

Gathering Materials and Tools

Once your plan is in place, it’s time to gather your materials and tools. Essential materials include decking boards, joists, support posts, concrete for footings, and fasteners.

Tools you’ll need range from a circular saw, drill, and hammer to more specialized equipment like a post-hole digger. Canterbury Timber offers a wide range of high-quality timbers and decking hardware, ensuring you access sustainable, durable options for your project. We’ll even cut and mill it to your measurements, and our same-day delivery service ensures you won’t be waiting long to get your project off (or into) the ground!

Preparing the Site

Site preparation is critical for a stable and long-lasting deck. Begin by clearing the area of any debris or obstacles. Next, mark out the deck area and set out the footings according to your plan. Digging holes for your footings to the required depth—keeping in mind the frost line if applicable in your area—is the next step. Ensure that the ground is level and compacted to provide a solid foundation for your deck.

Installing Decking Boards

With your frame and footings in place, it’s time to install the decking boards. Start from the outer edge and work your way in, leaving a consistent gap between boards for drainage and expansion. Use decking screws for a secure fit, countersinking them for a smooth finish. Remember to check the alignment and level of each board as you go, making adjustments as necessary to maintain a uniform look.

Finishing Touches

Finishing touches can elevate your deck from good to great. Adding railings, stairs, or a pergola can enhance the functionality and aesthetic appeal of your deck. Consider also applying a sealant or stain to protect the timber and prolong the life of your deck. These elements not only complete the look of your deck but also ensure it’s safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Maintaining Your DIY Deck

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your DIY deck in top condition. Annual inspections, cleaning, and resealing or staining as needed will protect your deck from the elements and wear over time. Look out for any signs of damage or wear, such as loose boards or railings, and address these promptly to avoid more significant issues down the line.

Building Your Dream Deck

Building your own deck is an ambitious project that pays off in the satisfaction of creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space for your home. With careful planning, the right materials, and a bit of hard work, you can achieve a deck that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Canterbury Timber is here to support you every step of the way, from choosing the perfect timber to providing expert advice and quality materials. Contact us today to get started.


Is it cheaper to build a deck yourself?

Building a deck yourself can be significantly cheaper than hiring professionals. The primary savings come from eliminating labour costs, which can constitute a large portion of the total expense. However, it’s essential to factor in the value of your time and the potential need for specialised tools.

What is the most inexpensive way to build a deck?

The most inexpensive way to build a deck is to choose cost-effective materials, such as treated pine, and a simple design. Limiting the size of your deck and avoiding complex features like multiple levels or custom railings can also help reduce costs. Buying materials during sales or from surplus stock offers additional savings opportunities.

How long does it take to build a deck myself?

The time it takes to build a DIY deck can vary widely depending on the size and complexity of the project, as well as your skill level. A simple, small deck might be completed over a weekend, while larger or more intricate designs could take several weeks. Planning, gathering materials, and preparing the site can also add to the overall project time.

What should I consider when choosing timber for my DIY deck?

When choosing timber for a DIY deck, consider the local climate to ensure the wood withstands weather conditions. Opt for durable, pest-resistant hardwoods like Spotted Gum or Merbau. Maintenance needs are also important; some timbers require more upkeep than others.