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Homeowners Jason and Kyndall Outlaw wanted to remove the cracked concrete steps and dilapidated railing on the back of their house, and replace it with a wood deck to provide a safe place for their young child to play.

Step and Patio Demolition

Back of house before deck.
Back of house before deck.

Before we could start on the new wood deck, we first had to remove the existing concrete landings, steps, railings, and flagstone patio.

Even using a sledgehammer and jackhammer to break up the concrete, the demolition work was hard going on a very hot day.

The flagstones on the patio were salvaged for use on another project.

Deck Foundation and Joists

Rather than attaching the wood deck directly to the house, a separate foundation was constructed using YellaWood 4” x 4” posts that were pressure treated for ground contact.

To make fast work of digging the holes for the posts, a motorized auger was used. Once the posts were plumb, the holes were filled with Quikrete fast-setting concrete.

Framing the floor joists for the deck.
Framing the floor joists for the deck.

Band joists were attached to the posts around the perimeter of the deck using nails and lag screws. To provide support for the joists in the middle of the span, a 2×8 was attached to posts running parallel to the band joists.

Ledger strips were nailed to the band joists to help support the floor joists. The 2×6 joists were cut to length, notched to fit around the ledger strips, and toenailed to the band joists.

Child playing in sandbox built into deck.
A sandbox with a removable cover was built into one corner of the deck.

Built-In Deck Sandbox

A sandbox, constructed from pressure treated 2x6s, was built into the deck with a removable top that fits flush with the deck. Gaps were left between the boards in the bottom of the sandbox to allow rainwater to run out, and it was lined with two layers of landscape fabric to hold the sand in.

Watch Adding a Built-in Deck Sandbox to find out more. To learn how to build a traditional sandbox, read our article on How to Build a Cedar Sandbox.

Deck railings and lattice.
Deck railings and lattice.

Deck Steps and Lattice

Precut stair stringers from YellaWood were used to build steps from the deck to the yard. To layout the steps, measure the height of the deck in inches, divide by seven, and round up to find the number of steps needed.

After the stair stringers had been secured, treated riser boards and treads were attached to the stringers.

Next, pressure treated lattice panels were cut to size and attached to blocking secured to the bottom of the joists with screws.


Installing decking using the CAMO Edge Pro hidden deck fastener.
CAMO hidden deck fastener.

The CAMO Edge Pro hidden deck fastener system made fast work of attaching the 5/4” x 6” pressure treated decking to the floor joists.

Simply position the Edge Pro on the deck board at each joist, and use the attached drill to drive the low profile head screws into the deck.

Repeat the process on the other side of each board. Both coated carbon steel and stainless steel screws are available.

Deck Railings

The balusters for the deck handrails were made of pressure treated 2x2s that were attached to the face of the vertical bottom rail and through the top of the horizontal top rail with screws.

When building deck railings, make sure the balusters have no more than a 4” gap between them, and that the top of the railing is at least 36” above the surface of the deck. Be sure to check the local building codes in your area.

Once the railings were in place, a cap was made from the deck boards to finish off the railing.

Other Tips from This Episode

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Replacing a Wood Shovel Handle

When replacing a wooden handle on a shovel, it’s important to orient the handle so the straight grain in the wood is facing up. Looking at the end grain on the handle, the tree rings should be vertical, or perpendicular to the shovel. This makes the handle much stronger and prevents breaking. (Watch Video)

Weber Spirit Gas Grill

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Weber Spirit Gas Grill

The Weber Spirit E-310 gas grill (model # 46513101) has three burners and over 500 square inches of cooking space. The grill includes a removable, 12” diameter, porcelain enameled, cast-iron griddle that fits in the center of the grill. The Weber Spirit gas grill is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

Water beading up on new wood deck.

Ask Danny Lipford:
New Wood Deck Drying Time

Pressure treated decking is often delivered still wet with preservative. If so, it needs to dry for about 30 days before sealing or staining. To test to see if the wood is dry enough to finish, pour a little water on it. If the water beads up, it’s still too wet. If it’s absorbed into the wood, it’s ready for finishing. (Watch Video)

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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