7 Must-Have Tools to Build A Deck

You’ve finally designed your dream deck, picked the perfect wood, and rounded up a few hands to help. You should be all ready to go, right? Not so fast. Before you think about placing that first board, you need to gather all of your tools. Doing so will ensure that the construction process goes smoothly. If you don't know where to start, we've made a list of seven tools you need handy before you start to build a deck.


Circular Saw

This will probably be the tool you use the most when building a deck. We recommend a saw that has a 7 1/4 inch blade and a motor that draws 10-13 amps. When you’re cutting boards, you'll want to wear eye protection and a face mask (especially if you are cutting pressure-treated or hardwood lumber). A carbide-tipped combination blade will generally last longer than a steel blade and make cleaner cuts. We also recommend cutting as many boards as you can beforehand in order to make the process go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Pro Tip: If you cut your end boards an inch longer than you need, once all the boards are installed you can use a handheld circular saw to cut all the end boards at once for a perfect edge.


Hand Saw

While you’ll use a circular saw to cut most of the wood, there are times when you simply need a hand saw to get the job done - particularly for detailed cuts around the stairs. A hand saw is also easier to use if you don’t have many boards to cut and don’t want to go to the trouble of setting up the circular saw. Be sure that your blade is sharpened before you use the hand saw to get the cleanest cut.


Chalk Line

A chalk line is another must-have for building your deck. It will act as a guide when cutting your boards so that you get the straightest edge possible. When using the chalk line, lift it directly towards the sky and not at an angle to get an accurate marking.

Pro Tip: Use white chalk! The blue and other colors will permanently stain your deck.


Tape Measure

You can't get around having a tape measure for any construction project and building a deck is no different. In order to follow your perfectly laid out plan, you’ll need to measure and mark the boards before cutting them. Most of the problems that occur when building a deck are boards that don’t fit properly, so it’s important to correctly mark and measure your boards before you start cutting away. 

Pro Tip: Measure twice, cut once!


Carpenter’s Level

The last thing you want after measuring, marking and cutting your boards perfectly is an uneven deck. If you don’t have a carpenter’s level, you can find them at any hardware store. They’re simple to use and crucial to successfully building a deck that doesn’t turn out sloping to one side or the other. When building a deck, it’s all of the little details that are so important to follow to make sure you end up with a finished product that is structurally sound.

Pro Tip: If you have a large deck, tie string to stakes and place across the frame at the exact level needed so you won't have to keep bringing the level back out as you build.


Power Drill

We recommend using screws for any decking project, which means you'll need a good power drill. When working with hardwoods like Ipe, you will need to pre-drill all your holes so make sure you have a carbide-tipped drill bit. Screwing down your decking boards, instead of nailing, will make for a stronger and safer deck down the road. 


The Right Hardware

When it comes to securing your deck boards, not all screws are created equal! You can choose to face screw, use hidden fasteners, or use a hybrid system like the CAMO Deck Fastening System. The type of decking material you choose will determine the type of screws or fastening system you can use. Composite decking will have specific fasteners and methods needed to maintain your warranty, and different dimensions of wood decking will require different hardware. If you're not sure which fasteners to use, give one of our locations a call and we can help you out.


BONUS: BoWrench Deck Straightening Tool

If your building a deck out of any wood species, chances are not every board will be perfectly straight. Once you have the board screwed down it will stay in place, but it can take a lot of elbow grease and more than one person to get the board to stay in place while being secured. The Cepco BoWrench Decking Tool is a one-person, self-locking board bender and tongue & groove joining tool. It can save you a lot of time and energy when building your next deck. 

When you gather all of your tools ahead of time, it makes the process of building your deck that much more enjoyable. It will save frustration during construction and allow you to focus on the task at hand - building the deck you've always wanted.


Still trying to decide what kind of decking to use for your project?


Stop by one of our locations and we can show you our wide variety of decking materials.


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