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How to Build a DIY Playhouse Deck
- Impact Driver
- Speed square
- Measuring tape
- 4‘ Level
- Shovel (if you need to move dirt around to level the deck)
- Pressure treated wood for ground contact
- (2) 4×4 8′ boards
- (2) 2×8 8′ boards
- (1) 2×8 10′ board
- Regular wood (if you paint/seal it for the outdoors it will last for years)
- (13) 2×6 8′ boards
- (3) 2×6 10′ boards
- (2) 1lb boxes 2 1/2″ decking screws
- (52) 4″ TimberLOK wood screws
- Outdoor wood glue
- Wood stain
- Outdoor wood sealer
Building the deck is easier with 2 people. My husband helped me get the base built and leveled, then I added the joists and deck boards by myself. It took us 2 hours together to get the base built, in place and leveled and it took me 4 hours on my own to finish everything except adding the sealer (I still haven’t done that because it was super windy).
To build the base, start by cutting the 4×4 boards in half so you have (4) 4′ boards. Then cut the 10′ 2×8 board and (1) 10′ 2×6 board in half so you have 2 5′ boards of each. Attach one of the 2×8 boards on the bottom of 2 of the 4×4 boards and one 2×6 board on the top using (2) 4″ Trex screws on each edge. Repeat so you have 2 of these.
Next cut the 8′ 2×8 boards and (2) 8′ 2×6 boards to 7′. Join the two sides together with the 2×8 boards on flush to the bottom and the outside of the 5′ boards and the 2×6 boards at the top with the 4″ TimberLOK screws.
At this point we moved the deck in place and got it leveled, which was a mistake. You want to add the joists first in case you cannot access the back of the deck like me. I was able to use my drill to pre-drill holes into the 2×6 boards. Then with a wrench managed to get in between the fence and the deck and manually drive in the 4″ screws. It wasn’t too hard, but definitely not as easy as doing it before the deck was in place next to the fence.
To add the joists, cut (2) 10′ 2×6 boards in half so you have (4) 5′ boards. Space the boards evenly between the outer boards. They will be about 16 1/4″ apart on center. Secure so they are flush with the top with 4″ screws.
Now it’s a good time to position and level the deck. Our yard is pretty sloped so we had to dig out about 4″ at the one end. Dig and level, dig and level until everything looks great. Luckily I had my hubby for this part because the deck is HEAVY! Two people could move it easily, but to do that on my own it would have taken me forever.
Once everything was level, I cut the rest of the 8′ 2×6 boards to 7′ for the deck. I decided to get them sanded and stained before putting them on the deck (I also quickly stained the deck and joists). It was easier then trying to make sure I got the stain in between all the boards.
Then I laid out the deck boards, there was about 1/4″ between them. I used 2 1/2″ decking screws to secure them. Use 2 screws in each joist. Some of the screws caused slivers of wood to poke up, so I gave the entire top a quick sanding and then a second coat of stain.
Finally, protect the deck with an outdoor wood sealer. I am planning on using spar urethane when the wind dies down. Most of the deck will actually be protected by the roof of the playhouse, but I want the playhouse to last for years and taking the extra steps to protect it will help that.
So now I am super excited for some good weather next week. I cannot wait to build the walls and install them. Then it will actually look like a DIY playhouse and not just the perfect stage for my daughter.
And now for the $$$. Here is what we have spent so far:
- (2) 4×4 8′ boards = $19.94
- (2) 2×8 8′ boards = $22.34
- (1) 2×8 10′ board = $13.98
- (13) 2×6 8′ boards = $78.65
- (2) 2×6 10′ boards = $15.00
- (2) 1lb boxes 2 1/2″ decking screws = $18.74
- (52) 4″ TimberLOK hex screws = $28.31
- Glue (already had)
- Stain (already had a gallon from a clearance sale, only used about 1/5 of it).
- Sealer (already had but it’s about $18 for a quart)
I also ordered a slide ($100) and pulls for a climbing wall ($20). I estimate we about 1/2 way through the total budget. If I am estimating correctly, we will end up with a DIY playhouse for about $600. That is really amazing considering the swing sets start at about $600 and they have nothing on this!
And don’t miss the rest of the posts in the series. Click the links below for the rest of the playhouse build.
But now I need to get back to work! This playhouse is not going to build itself.