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Materials and Tools Needed Before Starting Your Patio Project

Building a patio deck is an ambitious project

Patio Project can seem a little intimidating at first. This is a Do-It-Yourself project where organization before starting the project really pays off in the end. By following a few basic steps from measuring out the area to writing down all the materials needed helps to cut any deck building project down to size. Homeowners who understand what materials and tools they will have to either purchase or rent can budget accordingly for their patio project.


Before beginning any project it is essential that the homeowner measures out the area of the future deck. For simple decks that are square or rectangular in shape this is an easy process. For square decks, simply multiply the length of one side by itself to find the area. An example would be a deck that is 12 feet long, so 12 x 12 = 144. For rectangular decks, multiply the length times the width to find the area. An example would be a deck that is 12 feet long by 7 feet wide, so 12 x 7 = 84. Decks that are three-dimensional, which means they utilize stairs or tiers, need additional measurements. Be sure to add in the height of each tier, or the height and length of a set of stairs to account for the additional area. Understanding the total area is crucial for budgeting costs since once the homeowner knows how large of an area he or she has to work with, they can start planning for material purchases.


Once the overall area is known, the homeowner can start budgeting for material items. For most patio decks, this means buying wooden boards for the flooring. This can be untreated, pressure-treated, or engineered wood. Generally speaking, unless the homeowner is going with an exotic type of wood like cypress, untreated boards are the cheapest while engineered wood that is usually made from recycled plastic is the most expensive. Remember that the wood will have to cover the entire area and this is only a part of the overall budget cost. Do not purchase wood without leaving any room in the budget for other tools and materials. Also, certain types like engineered wood require special fasteners instead of normal nails which will also add extra cost to the project.

Material Items

When purchasing materials for the deck, homeowner must buy:

  • Wooden boards to cover the entire area
  • Support beams to hold up the deck
  • Joist beams that help support the deck’s weight
  • Railing beams that encircle the deck


Tools are another important budget consideration. Without the proper tools, there is no way the homeowner can actually build the deck safely. Always use tools that get the job done correctly the first time. Galvanized screws and bolts are usually considered best for outdoor use since they do not rust, but this is not true of pressure-treated wood. The chemicals in pressure-treated wood can corrode the zinc cover on galvanized screws, so it is best to use stainless steel instead. Always make sure that the screws and nails used work with the wood selected for the project, and ask a sales associate at the store if any questions arise. The following tools must be purchased for installing the deck:

  • Concrete mix
  • Cardboard construction tubes
  • Gravel
  • Lag screws, nuts, and washers for the large joist beams and posts
  • Screws depending on wood type for the deck floorboards
  • Shovel and post hole digger
  • Carpenter’s level and square
  • Circular saw
  • Tape Measure
  • Drill
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Wrench Hammer

Homeowners can also choose to either buy or rent an auger instead of using a shovel to dig holes. Likewise, a circular saw and drill can also be rented, though considering the duration of a deck project it may prove more cost effective to buy one. Price points vary, so homeowners trying to decide between renting or buying should consider how often they will use their tools once the deck project is completed.

Building is deck requires careful planning and managing. This starts in the pre-planning process of measuring out the deck area and determining which materials to purchase that fit in with the budget. Always account for tool costs as well since they usually make a hefty dent in the overall project cost. By planning out their deck building project, homeowners can ensure they have the deck they want at a price they can afford.


Author Bio: Karlee Wiggins writes on various topics for Many decks have been built using wholesale lag screws and carriage bolts from When Karlee isn’t writing, you can find her watching movies, playing board games or rooting for her favorite football team.

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