BestDeckSite is an informational website that also sells deck and gazebo plans. In brief, BestDeckSite is divided into three areas/services. The first area of BestDeckSite provides lots of free information on how to design and build your own deck or gazebo. This free information is available by using the "How-To" menu and is representative of the quality of material BestDeckSite provides in the second area of BestDeckSite - the "Password Area". When you read through the informative "How-To" pages, we know you're going to be surprised and rewarded by what you learn.
The second area of BestDeckSite is the "Password Area" and is for readers who are interested in learning everything there is to know about designing and building their own outdoor project right. When you get a password for a nominal fee, you'll instantly be able "Log-In" and view hundreds pages of thoughtful, well-written material filled with detailed drawings. The depth and breath of information covered in the Password Area is truly unparalleled. Take a look at the Password Area Coverage page for a detailed breakdown of what is included.
The third area of BestDeckSite is for people who are interested in purchasing outstanding pre-packed gazebo and deck plans. These electronic plans are fully printable and are sold separately on the Deck Plans and Gazebo Plans pages. After making your purchase and downloading the plan of your choice, you'll instantly be able to begin reading about how to build your project.
Yes, BestDeckSite sells a limited selection of very high quality fully printable gazebo and deck plans. Unlike typical plans available elsewhere that consist of a few pages of incomplete building information, BestDeckSite's downloadable plans contain clear, step-by-step information on the entire building process. We provide detailed guidance from the moment digging for the footing holes begins to the final nailing up of finishing touches. When you buy one of our plans, you can rest assured you're getting the best. We guarantee it.
When you purchase a password, you get absolutely the best deck and gazebo building information available anywhere. The quality and amount of information available in our Password Area is "head-and-shoulders" above anything available in books or on other websites. All our information has been thoroughly researched to meet with the International Building Codes and has been clearly laid out by a seasoned building veteran. Why struggle with trying to piece together bits of information from various sources of varying reliability when BestDeckSite covers it all. We know you'll find value in your purchase. We guarantee it.
It's important to make the distinction between purchasing a password to the Password Area of BestDeckSite and purchasing one of our pre-packaged, downloadable plans. While the Password Area features the design and construction of several types of decks, it's primary focus is to help educate readers. The Password Area contains hundreds of pages to help show you how to design and build a deck or gazebo from scratch. If designing your project from scratch isn't your "cup of tea" and would like to purchase our high-quality pre-packaged plan, please see Deck Plans and Gazebo Plans.
If you're like a lot of do-it-yourselfers, you've probably looked without success for a deck design program that really works. So have we. While some software does a decent job at helping you to visualize how your project will look, we've yet to find a program that intelligently lays out and sizes beams and joists correctly. When you throw in the fact that all of the software packages completely ignore additional loads from snow and wind, well it's just tough to have a lot of confidence in the designs they produce.
Within the Password Area of BestDeckSite, we've taken a different approach. Instead of trying to build a single all-encompassing program that falls short of designing your project well, we provide individual calculators to help you easily complete each of the design phases. Combined with step-by-step examples, our calculators will help you to size framing members for any snow load conditions, hot tubs, and cantilevers. If you want the best, our calculators are the answer. Check out the screen shots of the calculators available in the Password Area.
When you're spending thousands of dollars and days of time building your project, it just makes sense to make sure you're doing the job right. After all, it doesn't cost any more to construct a well-built deck or gazebo that will hold up under the heaviest loads and last a lifetime. For example, there is a huge difference in strength between bolting boards to the side of a post to create a beam and resting them on top of the post. One design doesn't cost any more than the other, but the former should be reserved for special applications and takes care to do well. When you get a password, you'll be able to access hundreds of design and construction pages that are filled with unique building tips. You'll learn how to build an outstanding structure that you can be proud of.
If you've already purchase a set of plans from elsewhere, you may want consider the fact that most pre-drawn plans fall far short from showing how to build your deck or gazebo right. In general, they only provide the basic layout of footings, floor joists, and beams while completely ignoring snow loading, high winds, poor soil conditions, and so on. In addition, generic plans are often missing important construction details and frequently suffer from major errors. Take a look at just some of the errors we found in this typical set of store bought plans.
Error #1: Design Loads: Pre-packaged plans are designed using an assumed 40 pounds per square foot (psf) live load (people and movable furniture). This value is only accurate for warm parts of the country. If you live in an area that gets snow, all the components will be undersized because pre-packed plans are not designed for heavier snow loads. On BestDeckSite, we've got lots of tables and expert advice to make sure you're using the right size footings, beams, floor joists, and bolts for any environment. By the way, even if you live in a temperate area, generic plans still fall short when it comes to footings because they assume everyone has an "average" soil type. Pre-Package Design Loads.
Error #2: Footings: Sizing footings depends on the type of soil, the depth of the footing, the diameter of the footing, and the weight on the post. Store bought plans assume an "average" soil type, generally without defining what "average" means. Additionally, they are based on no snow load conditions. BestDeckSite contains tables that help you to easily determine your soil type and then size your footings. In addition, for those that live where it gets cold, we'll show you proven methods to prevent frost heave. Pre-Packaged Footing Detail
Error #3: Ledger Board: Properly attaching the ledger board to the house is extremely important as it is a key structural component. Additionally, proper flashing ensures that rain water doesn't get in where it shouldn't, causing the floor or house framing to rot. Generic deck plans gloss over ledger board attachment details. On BestDeckSite, you'll find tables for sizing and spacing regular and lag bolts in all types of materials so you can be sure your ledger board is securely attached. Along the way, we'll also show you how to keep water out with a two layer flashing system. Pre-Packaged Ledger Detail
Error #4: Posts: We often see guardrail posts that are either notched too much, poorly bolted in place, or completely lack the reinforcement required to keep the posts from pulling right off the deck. This example pre-packaged plan is no exception. These commonly overlooked points are clearly discussed on BestDeckSite so you can be sure your guardrail will hold when you need it most. Pre-Packaged Post Detail
Error #5: Railings: Unlike the store bought plans shown, BestDeckSite clearly outlines all the code requirements related to building railings. In addition, we've got lots of pictures and details to describe what your railing options are and how to make strong railings that last. Pre-Packaged Railing Detail
Error #6: Hot Tubs: Standard deck plans do not provide sizing specifications for spas. It's no wonder, given the fact that design loads are typically large enough to literally crush the wood on improperly sized frames. BestDeckSite has the only literature available on the subject. We'll show you step-by-step how to determine the load your hot tub imposes on the deck and how to size the footings, floor joists, and beams accordingly. Pre-Packaged Spa Detail
Error #7: Stairs: Good stair building directions are hard to find. We've created complete, simple-to-understand directions that help you to design and build stairs that are not only strong but in compliance with the numerous building codes on the subject. Pre-Packaged Stairs Detail
OK, this is where we need to get serious for a minute. A brief search on the Internet will quickly show the devastating consequences of improperly built outdoor structures. Every year we see a new list of projects that catastrophically fail, resulting in injury or worse. From our experience, it's not that do-it-yourselfers don't want to do the job right, they simply lack good information. Take a look at this free article available on JLC Online entitled "Fatal Chicago Porch Collapse Highlights Flimsy Connections" to get a better sense of what's at stake.
You've got nothing to lose and a lot to gain by purchasing a BestDeckSite password. Not only will your deck and gazebo framing be exceedingly strong, but you'll learn all sorts of details that will make construction go smoothly and keep your project looking good for a very long time. We cover everything from how to mix up strong concrete, to proper frame design, to selecting a decking board layout and finishing. When you get a password, we know you'll be happy. We guarantee it.