Backyard DIY: Free Deck Building Help

Posted on 06/27/2012

Outdoor space shines this time of year. Decks offer homeowners a retreat without having to leave the comfort of home. But creating this outdoor oasis can cost thousands of dollars. According to the pros installing a deck can cost an average of $33 a square foot. That’s more than $10,000 for a 16’x20’ deck. If you’re thinking about installing, enlarging or reconstructing a deck on your piece of property, check out these free deck building resources to save some money.

Free Deck Design Help from Lowes Lowes offers a free resource for registered users starting a deck project. The deck design tool helps you plan and build your deck, estimating the costs of lumber and supplies instantly based on measurements and needs.

Free Deck Building Construction Guide
Head to to access a free Deck Building Guide. It’s fully illustrated and offers in depth information on footings, joists, beams, stairs, rails and more.

Free Online Quote and Discount from 84 Lumber
Get your building budget in place with free online help from 84 Lumber. They’ll quote your project when you fill out an online form, call their toll free number or even fax in your ideas. Plus active and retired military personnel receive a 10% discount through July 4 at all 84 Lumber stores. You must show a valid military ID card to take advantage of the savings.

Free Deck Plans
If your imagination gets stuck at a basic rectangle, then turn to for help. They have several free deck plans available including octagonal, splash deck and side pool deck plans.

Free Design Software from Better Homes and Gardens
Get deck help from the pros at Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Become a member at to access their free deck design software. Add in structures like posts, railings and stairs. Finalize the plan with extras including barbecues, benches and plants.

Borrow Tools from a Tool Lending Library
Unless you’re planning other major construction projects, it doesn’t make sense to invest in tools you’ll only use once. Just like the local library lets you check out books for free, many communities across the country have tool lending libraries, a perfect option for your DIY deck project. Borrow tools like saws, pressure washers or an auger and soon you’ll be relaxing on your new deck knowing you saved big bucks building it.

By Alison Storm

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