Advanced Tips and Tricks

How to Design a Deck with ClearCalcs

In this design series, you will be learning how to design a residential deck using ClearCalcs' USA Wood Beam, Wood Column, and Pier Footing calculators.

The following deck was designed according to the International Building Code (2018) and the American Wood Council, DCA 6. Stairs and railings are not included in this deck design to keep the design example simple and to maintain focus on how to use the calculators. This deck design is being designed for gravity loads only.

There are four main structural elements in this deck design:

1. Deck Joist 2. Deck Beam 3. Deck Post 4. Pier Footing

Please be aware that this example should not be used as advice, recommendations, or instructions for engineering design and should only be followed as a guide to using ClearCalcs.

Deck Design Criteria

  • Type: Douglas Fir - Larch, No. 1/2
  • Size: 14 ft x 20 ft, 4ft Cantilever
  • Height: 12 ft - 2.5 in
  • Dead Load: 10 psf
  • Live Load: 60 psf
  • Snow Load: 40 psf
  • Soil Bearing Capacity: 4000 psf
  • Concrete Strength: 2500 psi

The Deck


Floor Plan


Front Elevation


Side Elevation


Common Deck Design Mistakes

According to The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, over 60% of 45 million decks in the US have safety issues. Residential decks commonly fail due to:

  • Inadequate Ledger board connections
  • Bad Connection Joints
  • Undersized Post and Beams
  • Weak Foundation

Deck designs should follow your regional regulations and standards. The following links provide the references used for the examples provided in this series.

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