We built a deck for only $600!

home DIY renovation back porch back yard Reno new deck for under $600. house painted black with natural wood deck



We built a deck! A 16×12 ft deck! We’ve been wanting to add a deck over our concrete pavement (for obvious reasons). Seth and I tag-teamed building (plus intermittent parenting) and knocked it out in about 20 combined hours over the weekend. I swear half our hours were spent at Home Depot, despite our best efforts to get all of our materials in one swoop. Alas, there were about four trips altogether.



Seth and I make a good team. I’m the LET’S DO THIS half and he’s the “okay, but not until we measure five times” half. Did his incessant need to measure his cuts three times and check the level about forty times take extra time? – YES. Did it also save us from making huge errors on multiple occasions? – ALSO YES. OKAY FINE. hahah. I love him and his desire to do things better than I could have. Also, don’t get me wrong – I’m a powerhouse of a DIY builder, okaaayyy! 😉




Here’s our process!

Start by leveling the ground. These concrete deck block helps you avoid pouring concrete. Anything to speed along the process and not test my limited workmanship too much is the way I want to do it.

home DIY renovation back porch back yard Reno new deck for under $600. house painted black with natural wood deck dig level ground shovel



Getting the blocks level on each corner was a little bit of a task since our yard slopes quite a bit.


home DIY renovation back porch back yard husband and wife diy project deck



A 4×4 on the lowest side of the yard helps a TON. That way you don’t have to dig down a whole foot on the high side. We wanted to keep our deck high so it covered our concrete steps, so going high was the way to do it.


One of the ways we cut costs (by about $300) was by using 3-inch screws instead of brackets and joist hangers. Seth originally really wanted to use the extra materials for stability, but we talked to my dad (a hobbyist builder who built all our childhood homes) and he confirmed that he just uses 3-inch screws. Home Depot might disown me for saying that, but yeah – we skipped.


home DIY renovation back porch back yard Reno new deck for under $600. house painted black with natural wood deck



Actual photos of Seth being himself and re-checking the “level-ness” of the structure for the fourth time. 😉 But hey, this little tool is cool. You tie a string REALLY TIGHT from one corner to the other and place the level on the middle of the strong. It’ll show you if you’re level.






As you can see above that we built the frame and joists first. Thats the strength for the deck. THEN you build the between to reinforce it. This photo was taken before we put all of our struts in so there are a few gaps here that don’t exist in real life.

As you can see above that we built the frame and joists first. Thats the strength for the deck. THEN you build the between to reinforce it. This photo was taken before we put all of our struts in so there are a few gaps here that don't exist in real life.



Now the fun part! Putting the boards over all this mess. We used 2x6x16 boards from Home Depot. The top cover of consisted of 26 boards and a $20 HD truck rental to get them home. Then we bought the same boards at 12ft long for the struts.


back yard DIY renovation We used 2x6x16  boards from Home Depot. The top cover of consisted of 26 boards and a $20 HD truck rental to get them home.

If you're an experienced builder, you can see where we went wrong. It's out ONE MISTAKE. It's a tiny bit embarrassing but we continued anyway. We built the joists and struts the wrong directions. The joists should be going the direction of the boards. The only way you can tell is the screw pattern on top is a little wonky. Try and ignore it - I know we will.



If you’re an experienced builder, you can see where we went wrong. It’s out ONE MISTAKE. It’s a tiny bit embarrassing but we continued anyway. We built the joists and struts the wrong directions. The joists should be going the direction of the boards. The only way you can tell is the screw pattern on top is a little wonky. Try and ignore it – I know we will.



WOOD FINISH
We bought this deck sealer but weren’t loving the color it put over the pretty natural wood, so we won’t be using it for the top! But we used it for the frame to prevent the bottom rotting. I don’t care if the part of the deck you can’t see is this horrific yellow color. haha.


We bought this deck sealer but weren't loving the color it put over the pretty natural wood, so we won't be using it for the top! But we used it for the frame to prevent the bottom rotting. I don't care if the part of the deck you can't see is this horrific yellow color. haha.



We have a few finishing touches we’ll be doing!
– Railing on one side because it’s quite the drop-off point for small children.
– Wide steps for the front that will cover the concrete blocks on both sides.
– I’m going to Match the front part of the deck frame to the house.
– We’re on the look-out for a sealer that doesn’t change the color!


I’ll keep you updated as we move to our FINAL FINAL product!



home DIY renovation back porch back yard Reno new deck for under $600. house painted black with natural wood deck home depot Elkhorn painting



Shoutout of Elkhorn painting for doing such a wonderful job on our home paint! The photo shows little white lines on the paint, that’s just a reflection! They did a flawless job!


AND thank you kids, for making this photo really cute. Follow me on instagram to see more family shenanigans!


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