If you are building a deck that is attached to your house, make sure the framing is strong enough to bear the additional loads the deck will provide, including people, furniture, a grill, toys, bikes and other items. If possible, the deck should be bolted directly to the house with a waterproof connection and an air space that prevents moisture build-up.
Bracing is recommended for free-standing decks as well as elevated decks requiring long support poles.
Be sure to use corrosion-resistant fasteners and connectors. (See the Deck Fastener Guide on page 4.)
Use penetrating sealers and finishes only. Do not use film-forming finishes such as paint, solid color stains, varnishes and lacquers as they will eventually crack and peel. Always chose finishes that soak into the wood.
Avoid any deck designs that facilitate the trapping of moisture. Untreated and unsealed wood that is continually exposed to moisture will eventually warp and/or splinter.