Deck Building - Preparing Deck Site Before Construction Begin

The first step in beginning your deck project is preparing the deck site. In our project the site was perfect because the house was just recently built and the landscaping had not yet been done.

The best way to proceed is to locate your footings, dig and pour the concrete for the piers. It is so much easier if you dig first.

However, in our example, the landscaper arrived a day or two before the deck building crew so that luxury didn’t exist. We had to dig the holes after the fabric and stone was already in place.

Go the footing locations to see what you need to do or check out the digging section and then come back and read the following site preparation tips.

Cover Soil Depending on Height of The Deck

OK, so if you have finished digging your holes and poured your footings and piers, you are now ready to prepare the site for gravel or other finishing before you get right into the building phase.

As you can see, the deck site for this project was a simple as they come. The site had a very gentle slope so all that was required was to lay out landscaping fabric directly to the soil to prevent weeds from growing through and then covering it with about 3 inches of granular stone.

Stopping Weeds

Landscaping fabric is a great weed prevention solution because it stops weeds but it still allows moisture to pass through. Plastic, on the other hand, will allow water to collect just underneath the stone.

Preparing Deck Site Checklist

Your deck site likely won’t be quite as simple as our project. So here is a checklist for preparing your deck site:

  • Layout the shape of the deck with a hose or string and remove any sod. If you have a second storey deck you may not wish to do this or if the deck is 5 feet or higher. Your choice.
  • Ensure there are no underground services in the area where you will be digging.
  • Locate the positions of the piers and footings.
  • Dig the holes for the footings and piers. For a great way to build footings that won’t heave from frost and save labor, see this product.
  • Prepare the soil with landscaping fabric. Layout about 3 inches of granular stone over the fabric and up against the piers.

You are now ready to actually start building your deck.

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