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Backyard deck a perfect DIY project

Tips for improving structural integrity, aesthetics

Building a deck remains one of those perennial favorite projects. A well-built deck definitely adds to the enjoyment of your home, while also adding resale value. With a few carpentry skills and tools, the construction of a basic -- or even not so basic -- deck is something that's well within the reach of most home improvement do-it-yourselfers. And there's something about that combination of fresh air and fresh sawdust that's irresistible! Every deck, no matter the size, style or complexity, consists of two basic components -- the underframing (including the foundation) and the decking. If the deck sits up off the ground very much, you can add two additional components as well -- a railing and a set of stairs. As with any home improvement project, construction begins on paper. Whether you do the design yourself or enlist the aid of a designer, lumberyard or home center, the design needs to incorporate all of the structural elements such as the size and layout of the suppor...