Planning and Design

I used the free software “SketchUp 2017” to do the design, I have to admit I borrowed some ideas from Paul Lafrance after meeting him in person. I am not a professional, it took me a huge amount of time using the 3D software. But it was very helpful since it gave me the big picture and precise measurement on lumber and footings.

Goliath Tech metal post (Techno Metal Post alternative)

We hired the helical pile company (Goliath Tech) to do the deck foundation instead of concrete because it’s faster. However there pros and cons honestly speaking, watch the video I have explained a bit. Originally I was planning to have 22 piles installed but ended up with 20 because 2 of them they hit the rock, I didn’t have a Plan B at that moment, so… I had to fix it later by renting a towable auger from Home Depot and filled it with concrete.

Ledger Board to the rim joists + Deck2Wall Spacer

For ledger board, many deck builders would use lag screws or structural screws because they have no access to the basement. But I still prefer traditional carriage bolts, it went through the brick to the rim joist (brick is never a structural element), it is much stronger. Also, I put some 2×6 underneath the ledger board and bolted it to the foundation for additional support.

Interlock Landing using HPB (High Performance Bedding) for the one step stair

For the stair’s landing, I used the leftover HPB from my front yard project. It was very simple, one afternoon it was done. Zero cutting was necessary. I was worried that that step would be rotted if directly contacting with the interlocking stone, so I added some plastic tips at the bottom.


The 6x6x12s were extremely heavy, it’s around 130 lb each when it is wet. Those 2x10x16 was another nightmare when bringing it home from local hardware store. It was extremely challenging when putting them up by one person, the end result looks good is all my wife cares.

Questions you may ask:

  • What truck is that? That’s a 2017 Honda Ridgeline
  • How much did you pay for the Helical Piles? Watch the video below
  • Do you need a permit? Our city specifically says that any deck under 24″ does NOT need a permit even it is attached to the house. For the pergola, city said NO permit is needed as long as there is no solid roof


Part 1 – Helical Screw Piles with TechnoMetalPost or GoliathTech?

Part 2 – How to use pressure washer to dig 12″ post hole? Homemade Hydro Excavator!

Part 3 – How to install code approved ROT FREE Ledger Board brick veneer without flashing?

Part 4 – How to avoid getting a deck building permit even with Pergola?

Part 5 – How to build paving stone landing for decks in just 1 day?

Part 6 – 3 ways to notch a 6×6 wood post and how to build a bridge for the decks?

Part 7 – How to build a pergola on the deck? No additional footings needed!

Part 8 – How to frame privacy screen for deck? Why Azek PVC over Wolf and Trex?

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