The TOH Guide to Decks
Kick off the warm season with the ultimate hangout spot
Don't have a deck? Build one!
But, don't lift a finger without our time-tested guidance on making all the right choices for this popular outdoor project. For those, check out Read This Before You Build a Deck.
Check out these Deck Design Ideas before you meet with a builder.
For a step-by-step building guide to making a small deck yourself, check out How to Build a Simple Deck.
Have a deck? Make sure it's stable
There's been an increase in the number of decks that have collapsed, fallen apart, or otherwise failed. In most cases, simple upkeep could have prevented these incidents, which tend to happen (no surprise) when decks are packed with people. Make such an inspection an annual affair—it takes a few minutes—and fix any problems before it's too late. Check out How to Do a Deck Safety Check for our quick, 6-point inspection plan. Make all necessary repairs.
Got a stable deck? Time to spruce it up
Between refinishings, the best way to keep a deck in shape is with regular broom-washings using soap and water. “Clean it at least once a season,” Bonesteel says, “especially in spring, when pollen provides a food source for mildew.” Then, every three or so years, follow the steps here for a deck that looks - and lasts - its best. See How to Spruce Up a Worn Out Deck for the full tutorial.