Easy2 Technologies - Deck 3: Deck Marking & Layout Product Demo

Deck 3: Deck Marking & Layout Instructions

  • Deck Marking & Layout

    Marking and layout is the third step in building your deck, and is critical for a well laid out deck. Marking and laying will indicate where your deck connects to the house and the location of the support structures. The placement of these footings is critical to the location of the support posts, which will ultimately make your deck a safe and enjoyable place to enjoy the outdoors, and keep it from falling down! Even though there is room for error in your measurements, you should strive for accuracy to the 1/8th of an inch so that the next steps proceed without a hitch. However, the layout step is relatively simple and can easily be completed by any level of DIYer.

  • Overview

    In this project, you will mark the height of the deck against the house. Then, you will move away from the house to mark the location of the deck supports based on your written plans. The location of these posts will be marked first at the perimeter of the deck, and then at the interior locations. Finally, you will need to check your work to ensure that everything is square. Your measurements should take into account that the deck is an outdoor extension of your indoor living space, and that it also needs to slope away from the house to allow any water to drain away from the house and foundation.

  • Location of the Ledger

    Begin by marking the top of the ledger in several locations. The ledger provides the structural support that is attached to your house. Use a level to verify that the top of the ledger matches your structural drawing. Keep in mind that if your finished deck surface is 2-by material, the top of the ledger will be 1-1/2 inches below the finished height of the deck. Note that you should show the deck’s drainage slope on adjacent wall markings.

  • Outside Perimeter

    Now you should mark the outside perimeter of the deck foundation where the deck will be supported from the ground. To establish this line, take two equal measurements in separate locations from the longest wall. Mark the location with nylon line. These measurements should indicate the centerline of the post base. The string line(s) should be directly over the center of the location of the post base. Be sure that you keep the measurements parallel to each other and perpendicular, or square, to the wall.

  • Exterior Post Bases

    Nylon strings line can be attached to the house at the ledger location with a nail or screw and tied around a stake driven into the ground at the other end. Drive the stake “outside” of the deck perimeter and the height high enough so the string can stay in place until the support posts are set. Next, measure the distance from any adjacent walls to locate adjacent sides of the deck (post base) and mark with nylon line the same way as described. Remember to keep those lines parallel by keeping the measurements equal!

  • Interior Post Bases

    Now layout the interior post bases using the same technique as the perimeter post bases. Continue to use two equal measurements and mark them with a nylon string. The grid formed by the nylon lines should be the same as the grid on your plans. This grid indicates the placement of the structural members, or girders, which will support the joists, which in turn support the finished deck boards. The intersections of the string lines indicate the center of the post bases.

  • 3/4/5 Triangle

    Be sure to check your layout for square using the 3-4-5 right triangle method. The sides of every triangle made with your nylon lines should make a triangle where the proportions of the sides are 3 to 4 to 5, with 5 being the distance of the long side. If you are out of square, be sure to correct your mistakes, as any inconsistency here will create big headaches later on.


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