Must-Have Tools Needed to Build a Deck

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must have tools needed to build a deck

Building your own deck can be a fun way to improve your home and save some money. 

It might seem like building a deck would be a difficult process. However, it is fairly simple and can usually be done in a few weekends. 

Many people put off getting a deck installed because of the expense. By building one yourself, though, you can save yourself money on labor. 

Before you start building your deck, you need to have the proper tools. Making sure that you are prepared can help make your deck build go smoothly and safely. 

In this article, we have broken down some of the most essential tools for building a deck. You may need a few extras beyond this list, but these will get you started and are the most crucial. 

Tools Needed for Building a Deck: Basic Idea 

Getting started on your deck build will require the right equipment. In order to start off on the right foot you should at least have: 

  • Circular saw 
  • Chalk line
  • Power drill 
  • Carpenter’s level 
By having these tools ready, you can be sure that you’ll be able to get your deck started. You may need a few more as the process moves along, but these are the most important. 

How to Prepare to Build a Deck 

prepare to build a deck

The first thing you should do before building a deck is check your local building codes. 

Some areas have requirements for the size and height of decks and railings and it’s important that you obey these. If you don’t, you could find yourself facing hefty fines plus the expense of fixing the deck. 

If you live in a home that has an HOA, you should also check with them. They may have restrictions on whether or not you can build additions like a deck. 

You should also do all your measuring before you begin. 

Mark off the boundaries of your deck with stakes and string. This will give you a good visual aid once you get started. 

Having your joists measured and knowing where your footings will go will help you along the way. This will cut out any guess work and dictate the measurements of the planks. 

12-Amp Circular Saw

The most important tool for building a deck is a circular saw that is at least 12 amps. 

There are all kinds of circular saws on the market and not all of them have the same power rating. Choosing a saw that has enough power to handle 4x4s and 2x4s is crucial. 

Make sure that you have extra sawblades as well. You are going to be making a lot of cuts and having these handy will prevent the work from getting interrupted. 

Chalk Line Marker 

A chalk line marker is a reel of string that is coated in chalk. 

This simple tool is one of the most important things you can have when building a deck. To use it, you stretch the string across a piece of wood you want to cut. 

Then, you lift the string up and snap it onto the wood. This will leave a perfectly straight line that you can use to cut. 

This is an essential tool for cutting planks and making sure your cuts are straight. 

Professional Power Drill 

A power drill is another crucial tool for building a deck. 

You should invest in a drill that plugs into the wall. Battery-powered drills don’t have enough power to efficiently fasten long screws. 

You should also think about getting a drill that has a level sight on it. This will ensure that you are drilling the screw in straight and help you avoid stripping. 


A carpenter’s level is your best friend when building a deck. You will need to make sure that your joists and planks are perfectly straight as you build. 

A good carpenter’s level will have levels for every axis. This will help you know whether the planks and joists are level up-and-down and side-to-side. 

Get a level that is as large as you can find. Levels that are too small won’t give you an accurate reading of long pieces of wood. 

Frequently Asked Questions

faq must have tools to build a deck

  • Is it hard to build a deck yourself?

Building a deck is a relatively simple project. 

While you won’t be able to build it in a weekend, most people can handle it. If you are worried about structural issues, you can have a professional dig and install the footings. 

  • Will a deck increase my taxes?

A deck will probably qualify as a capital improvement on your home. Because of this, you will probably need to adjust your home’s value. 

However, there may be exceptions and a local tax assessor can help you find out. 

  • What is the average cost to install a deck?

The national average cost of installing a deck is $7,696. The low end of that average, though, is $4,160. 

If you are building the deck yourself, you can count on being closer to the low end. 


Building a deck is a great way to add value to your home and improve the outdoor space. By building it yourself, you not only get these benefits, but the pride of a job well done. 

Making sure you have the above tools will make your deck installation much smoother and easier. 

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Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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