A new deck on your Chicago home can provide a solid return on investment. Such an add-on not only gives you extra space to relax and entertain but also has the potential to net you a higher asking price for your home should you decide to sell in the future. Keep in mind that since a deck is a load-bearing structure, this job is best left to experts. Professional deck builders, such as DAL Builders Inc. of Chicago, also know how to build the deck in accordance with local building codes.
Here are a few pointers on deck construction that should help you hire the right contractor and understand the intricacies of the project.
Building the Frame and Digging the Footings
The frame of the deck is built before it is attached to the structure itself. The contractor will use screws to hold together the wood and also use metal brackets for additional support. If necessary, the contractor may pour concrete footings set deeper into the ground than the frost line. Trust experienced deck and porch builders to know where this is.
Attaching the Frame to the House
The ledger board is attached to the house two to three inches below the door sill. This component connects the deck frame to the structure itself, so it must be attached very securely; lag bolts are generally used to accomplish this. The frame itself is then attached to the ledger board then fastened at a very slight angle so that rain water runs off of the deck.
Attaching the Posts
Posts, often made by 4 by 4 inch lumber, are now fastened to the deck. A jigsaw is used to cut through horizontal surfaces if necessary.
Constructing and Attaching the Stringers and Riser
The stringers – the supports for the stairs – are cut beforehand. Generally, it’s good to have one stringer for every 16 inches of horizontal space on a stair. These are then attached to the frame, before decking is screwed or nailed onto them to create a staircase. The entire staircase structure is called the riser.
Putting Down the Decking and Attaching the Railings
Now that the basic frame of the deck is complete, the decking can be attached. The final step of the project is often to fasten pre-assembled railings to the deck.
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