How to build a curved deck

Written by contributing writer
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Decks have become increasingly popular as a place to dine, entertain or just to set up a couple of comfy chairs to relax on. Basic square deck designs can be found virtually anywhere that are easy to build and look good when finished. But if you want the ultimate in elegance, and a deck that truly stands out from the rest, turn your square deck into a gorgeous curved deck.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Square deck plans with wood
  • Screw gun-either electric or battery powered
  • Drill
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Jigsaw
  • 8-inch wide strips of 3/8 inch plywood
  • Stainless steel screws---2 and 3 inches long
  • Trammel compass
  • Building grade adhesive
  • Power sander

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  1. 1

    Start out with your standard square deck. If you already have one, then you are all set and will just need to extend the joists where you want the curve. If not, lay out and build a square deck to whatever size and dimension you like. The only difference in this part of the building plan will be that you need to allow your joists to protrude off the side you want to add the curve to.

  2. 2

    Measure corner to corner across the extended joists. Use this measurement to find the centre of your curve. The centre is the point midway across the measured area.

  3. 3

    Drill a hole in the centre joist. This will be the anchor point for your trammel. A trammel is a piece of wood with a hole on both ends. One end gets anchored into the hole with a nail, but it has to be loose enough to turn. The other side has a hole for a pencil. It is essentially a solid compass, and by rotating your trammel, you can easily size the curve you want in your deck, exactly as a compass would do on a sheet of paper.

  4. 4

    Trace the curve that you want for your deck on the joists. You will do this by anchoring your trammel with a nail inside the drilled hole, then tracing the curve you want on your joists at the outside of your trammel.

  5. 5

    Create the curve on the joists. Do this by cutting the joists with your reciprocating saw all the way through, following the basic curve shape that you created with the trammel.

  6. 6

    Install the headers. Headers are the very outside edge of your deck. They can be made of scraps of deck wood and should be laid out between each outside joist, making sure the headers protrude slightly. Use 3-inch screws and secure them with your screw gun.

  7. 7

    Use your trammel to trace the exact same curve over your header pieces. This will provide you with a more solid guide for your deck's curve.

  8. 8

    Use your jigsaw to cut a curve out of the headers. The edges should align with the joist ends. This makes your deck's curve more smooth.

  9. 9

    Apply the plywood strips to the curve. Soak your plywood strips in water for approximately one hour to increase flexibility, then carefully bend the pieces around the curve using adhesive and 2-inch screws to secure them down. Make sure they are flush with the top of the headers.

  10. 10

    Attach your decking with 3-inch screws. Allow the boards to extend over the curve at the end.

  11. 11

    Use your trammel to trace the exact same curve over the extended decking. This will give you the guide for your final curve.

  12. 12

    Use your jigsaw to cut the curve into the deck boards. Your deck is probably starting to take shape and you may be getting excited. You are almost done at this point.

  13. 13

    Sand the edges of the decking flush with the curve for a professional finish. Use the power sander. Now, you are done. If you wish you can stain or seal your deck, or you can leave it as-is to achieve a weathered look over time.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure that the weather forecast is clear before you start this project. Otherwise, you may encounter delays if it takes more than a day.
  • Wear safety goggles when sawing and drilling to protect your eyes.

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