Essentials for Decking Season: Preparing to Build a Deck

Essentials for Decking Season: Preparing to Build a Deck

Adding a deck to your outdoor space gives you the perfect place to entertain guests and relax. While it takes a good bit of time to execute and requires certain skills, with proper planning you can build an impressive deck yourself. 

Choose the Right Location to Build Your Deck

The first step in the planning process for building a deck is to choose a location. Make sure that where you choose to build is compatible with your plan. Take into consideration water drainage, soil, slope, and other factors that can affect deck construction.

If possible, choose a flat, level area. Or, if you have an area that’s sloped, grading a level spot or building a retaining wall works best. Areas with surrounding trees and shrubs that provide shade are ideal for decks, especially in locations that have warmer weather. 

Drawing out a rough sketch of your DIY deck will help you better estimate the size. Additionally, it helps to decide on the number and location of the deck posts or footings. 

Prepare Your Site

Once you know you’re safe to start, dig holes for your footings and prepare the soil with landscaping fabric. Make sure to lay about three inches of granular stone over the fabric as well as up against the piers.

Deck Material Options

When building a deck, there are several types of decking materials to choose from. You’ll want to understand the differences between them before deciding which is best for you. The location of the deck, the height, and the architectural aspects of your home will determine what materials, textures, and colors you choose. 

Composite Decking

Composite decking is one of the best decking materials due to its eco-friendly aspects and easy maintenance. It is made up of a combination of wood chips, bamboo, recycled plastic, and other raw materials. If you choose high-quality materials to build your deck can last anywhere from 25 to 50 years with minimum upkeep. 

Wood Decking

Natural wood has a very distinct smell and sound along with the ability to naturally absorb heat from the sun. Your budget and desired deck design will play a large role in whether wood decking is the right choice for you. 

PVC Decking

This type of decking is made from a mix of polymers, is highly durable, and nearly maintenance-free. These qualities make it a great choice for water-prone and sunny regions. PVC is one of the more expensive options but can be comparable to premium hardwoods due to less expensive yearly maintenance. 

Deck Patterns

Deck patterns and designs are both things that can greatly enhance the aesthetic of your deck. Some examples of deck patterns that you can use to create a unique and eye-catching deck include single-width, picture frame, diagonal, herringbone, tile, transition board, chevron, basket weave, diamond, and many more. 

Essentials for Decking Season: Preparing to Build a Deck

Deck Fasteners 

The fasteners you choose for building your deck are crucial to the integrity of your deck and its longevity. 


Deck screws create a strong connection and are easy to remove from a deck compared to nails. Wood deck screws are a common choice of fastener for decks due to the large surface area. Make sure to choose screws that are corrosion-resistant to prevent rust.

If you live in an area with high humidity, around a pool or near the coast, the Grip-Rite® Max Stainless Exterior Screws are ideal for fastening decking, siding, roofing, finish & trim.

DeckForce® Exterior Wood Screws are designed for wood and feature a T 17 autopilot tip that prevents wood from splitting with a wedge lock to guarantee a secure finish.

Composite deck screws are made for capped composite, composite, and PVC decking. They are corrosion resistant and easy to install. They also come in a variety of colors to give them the ability to blend seamlessly into your deck. The DeckForce® Exterior Composite Screws and the Grip-Rite® Composite Deck Screws effortlessly create a smooth PVC or composite deck with ensured durability and a seamless finish.

Structural wood screws are a good alternative to traditional lag screws and can drill directly into material without drilling a pilot hole first. They offer a more secure connection than traditional wood screws and provide a larger bearing surface. 

If you’re looking for screws that work with all types of decking the Grip-Rite® Exterior Coated Trim Head Screws are compatible with wood, PVC, and composite materials. Engineered to reduce pre-drilling and to keep material from splitting, they create a solid, tight connection. 

Hidden Deck Fasteners 

These fasteners are an alternative to screws or nails that are easy to install and give a fastener-free appearance to your deck. They secure deck boards from the edges of the deck boards or below. Hidden deck fasteners are designed for grooved composite deck boards. 

Common types of hidden deck fasteners include screws hidden by deck plugs and newer hidden clip fasteners which don’t require plugs.

When using grooved deck boards, Grip-Rite® Ninja Hidden Deck Clips are easy to install and give you the ability to create straight, diagonal, or herringbone patterns. Using our Flex-Fit universal design, you can use them as composite decking clips and with PVC deck boards. 

Decking Nails

In terms of decking nails, stainless steel and hot dip galvanized nails are the most popular for corrosion resistance properties. Other types of decking nails include common nails, box, ring shank, and spiral shank nails.

Build Your Deck with Grip-Rite® 

Grip-Rite® is preferred by professionals nationwide and is the brand you turn to when you need to get a job done right. Whether your job is residential or commercial, spanning days or months, we know reputations are built on quality, value, and trust.

We offer everything from building products, fasteners, tools, and accessories made with the highest quality materials with your needs in mind. Get started on your project today by viewing our products at .

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