Building a Concrete Deck: Step-by-Step Instructions

Building a Concrete Deck: Step-by-Step Instructions

Are you looking to enhance your outdoor space with a durable and long-lasting concrete deck? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to build a concrete deck from start to finish. Whether you are a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a beginner looking to tackle a new project, this article will walk you through the process with detailed guidance and tips to ensure a successful outcome. Follow along as we break down each step of the construction process and help you create the perfect concrete deck for your home.

Planning and Preparation

1.1 Assessing the Site

Before beginning the process of building a concrete deck, it is crucial to assess the site where the deck will be constructed. This step involves taking measurements of the area, evaluating the soil quality, and determining if any obstacles such as trees or utility lines are present. By thoroughly assessing the site, you can ensure that the deck is built on a solid foundation and meets any necessary requirements.

1.2 Obtaining Permits

In order to legally build a concrete deck, you will likely need to obtain permits from your local building department. These permits ensure that the deck meets safety standards and zoning regulations. It is important to research what permits are required in your area and apply for them before starting construction. Failure to obtain the necessary permits can result in fines or having to tear down the deck.

1.3 Creating a Design Plan

Once you have assessed the site and obtained the necessary permits, the next step in building a concrete deck is to create a design plan. This plan should outline the size and shape of the deck, as well as any additional features such as railings or stairs. By having a clear design plan in place, you can ensure that the construction process runs smoothly and that the end result meets your expectations.

2. Gathering Materials and Tools

2.1 List of Materials

  • Concrete mix
  • Gravel
  • Reinforcement mesh
  • Wooden stakes
  • String
  • Level
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Trowel
  • Concrete float
  • Concrete sealer

2.2 Tools Needed

  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Saw
  • Brush
  • Broom
  • Water hose

Make sure to gather all the necessary materials and tools before starting the process of building your concrete deck. Having everything ready will help ensure a smooth and successful project.

3. Excavation and Site Preparation

3.1 Marking the Layout

Before starting the excavation process, it is crucial to mark the layout of the concrete deck. Use stakes and string lines to outline the dimensions of the deck. This will help ensure that the deck is built according to the desired size and shape.

3.2 Excavating the Area

Once the layout is marked, it’s time to start excavating the area where the concrete deck will be built. Use a shovel or a mini excavator to remove the topsoil and create a level surface for the deck. Make sure to excavate to the required depth to accommodate the thickness of the concrete and any additional layers that may be needed.

3.3 Installing Drainage

Proper drainage is essential for preventing water buildup and ensuring the longevity of the concrete deck. Install a drainage system, such as a French drain or a gravel bed, to redirect water away from the deck. This will help prevent issues such as cracking and settling due to water damage. Be sure to compact the soil and create a slight slope away from the deck to promote proper drainage.

4. Building the Formwork

Building the formwork is a crucial step in constructing a concrete deck. The formwork will serve as a mold for the concrete and ensure that it is poured in the correct shape and size. Here are the steps involved in building the formwork:

4.1 Creating the Formwork

To create the formwork, you will need to measure and cut pieces of lumber to the desired dimensions of your deck. Ensure that the formwork is sturdy and level, as this will determine the final outcome of your concrete deck. Use stakes to secure the formwork in place and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that it is properly aligned.

4.2 Installing Reinforcement

Before pouring the concrete, it is essential to install reinforcement within the formwork. This can include rebar or wire mesh to provide additional strength and prevent cracking. Make sure that the reinforcement is placed evenly throughout the formwork and secured in place to prevent it from shifting during the pouring process.

4.3 Pouring the Concrete

Once the formwork and reinforcement are in place, you can begin pouring the concrete. Start by mixing the concrete according to the manufacturer’s instructions and pour it into the formwork in small sections. Use a trowel to level the concrete and remove any air pockets. Allow the concrete to cure for the recommended amount of time before removing the formwork and finishing the surface of the deck.

By following these steps for building the formwork, you can ensure that your concrete deck is constructed properly and will provide a durable and long-lasting outdoor space for years to come.

5. Finishing Touches

5.1 Curing the Concrete

Once the concrete deck has been poured and allowed to set, it is important to properly cure the concrete to ensure maximum strength and durability. Curing can be done by keeping the surface moist for several days, either by misting it with water or covering it with a curing compound. This process helps prevent cracking and ensures a smooth finish.

5.2 Sealing and Waterproofing

To protect your concrete deck from water damage and enhance its longevity, it is recommended to seal and waterproof the surface. There are various sealers and waterproofing products available that can be applied to the concrete surface to create a protective barrier against moisture and other elements. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and reapplication as needed.

5.3 Adding Railings and Stairs

To enhance the safety and functionality of your concrete deck, consider adding railings and stairs. Railings can provide a decorative touch while also serving as a safety feature to prevent falls. Stairs can make your deck more accessible and convenient for users. There are many options available for railings and stairs, so choose ones that complement the design of your deck and meet your specific needs.


Building a concrete deck may seem like a daunting task, but by following these step-by-step instructions, you can create a durable and long-lasting outdoor space for your home. From preparing the site to pouring the concrete and finishing the surface, each step is crucial in ensuring the success of your project. Remember to take your time, pay attention to detail, and seek help from professionals if needed. With proper planning and execution, your concrete deck will provide a solid foundation for enjoying your outdoor living space for years to come.