Most home owners would love to have a nice deck on the back of their house, but such decks are generally very expensive and time consuming to install. A properly made deck will have several tons of lumber and many thousands of nails, fittings and adjustments to be made, and hundreds of man hours in the construction. This presents a real problem for any DIY Timber decking enthusiast since it means that their deck may take months or even years to complete, especially if you can only work on it during evenings and weekends. The thing is, though, with careful preparation and planning it is possible to build a timber deck in a single weekend. Though hard, careful planning and forward thinking makes it possible, and anyone who is reasonably competent with tools will find themselves able to pull it off.
The first step is to plan ahead carefully. Determine what size deck you want, what wood you intend to use, and what design you like. Do not be ambitious. The deck should be minimalist and utilitarian in order to minimize construction time and lower the number and type of boards you will need. If you need to add things such as a pool, gazebo or sheltered area, you can do so later. Select from among professionally designed blueprints (available online and in hardware stores) which will tell you exactly how much material you need, down to the last nail and splinter. Do an internet search for “Timber Decking” to find examples. In some cases, you may be able to order your deck as a kit and have it shipped to your house. This is of course the best option, especially since it includes instructions. Once you have your design, stake it out with twine and stakes in the back yard, and if at all possible, go ahead and dig the holes for the support posts.
The second step is to ensure that you have the right tools. Power tools are a must. Manual hammers and saws will tire you out quickly, even if you are used to hard manual labor, and you will soon find yourself behind schedule and making mistakes. You will want a nail gun and circular saw at the very least. You should also invite over friends if you can, and have them bring their own power tools, so that no one has to share. Be sure to make them feel appreciated with plenty of free food and drinks, but save the beer for when the job is done.
Lastly you must ensure that you proceed carefully and according to plans and instructions. Mistakes will cost you time to fix, so get it right the first time. If you have more than one person, divide the labor up as much as possible. Even those without power tools, such as younger family members, can be employed in applying waterproofing or removing scrap lumber from the work area. Safety is key, and ensure that those operating power tools are a hands-width away from the nearest person. If at all possible, give each person (including yourself) a very simple and very clearly defined task. Breaking up the work into small, manageable pieces makes it easier to do and will ensure that the work goes faster. This is the real key to building a good deck in the minimum amount of time.