A multi-level wood deck can give an otherwise lackluster entry a ton of curb appeal or add valuable entertaining space to an under-utilized area in your backyard. Building off an unsightly concrete stoop is also a great way to get a high-end multi-tiered look without a lot of complicated know-how or expense.

Step One: Prepare Landscape

Clearing the surrounding landscape is a key step in preparing the area for a deck, especially when the sub-floor framing will be so close to the ground. Remove any large rocks, smooth out any high spots and relocate unwanted shrubbery to a new location. Also consider integrating some of the prettier landscape features into the deck’s design by simply framing around that particular section of the yard.

Tiered Deck - Prepare the Landscape image

Step Two: Material Selection

Pressure treated Southern Pine is known for its affordability, durability and strength so we opted for it with this deck. Strength is especially important as your deck is an extremely heavy structure. It’s also easy to work with when it comes to staining. NOTE: Any hardware should be heavy-duty and galvanized, so it will hold up to the elements.

Tiered Deck - Material Selection image

Step Three: Plot and Pour Footers

With your deck design in hand, measure and mark the placement of the footers, then dig holes to the proper depth- this will depend on your region, deck design and landscape. Mix up two bags of high- strength concrete (per footer) and pour into each hole. Allow footers to cure per the concrete manufacturer guidelines.

Tiered Deck - Plot and Pour Footers image

Step Four: Prep Stoop for Decking

Creating a tiered deck utilizing an existing concrete stoop is easier than you’d think but keep in mind the stoop and steps will dictate your new deck’s elevations. We attached several pressure-treated boards directly to the concrete stoop using masonry screws in order to create a wooden substrate. This is necessary so that you’ll have something to attach the decking to later. NOTE: If your exterior doors swing out make sure you’ll have proper clearance once underlayment and decking are installed.

Tiered Deck - Prep Stoop for Decking image

Step Five: Working with Existing Steps

To incorporate the existing treads into your subfloor you’ll need to secure 2”x 8” PT boards to the sides of the step using 3-inch masonry screws so that the tread and the top edge of the 2”x 8” boards are essentially level with one another. This will ensure a seamless decking installation later.

Tiered Deck - Working with Existing Steps image

Step Six: Framing the Deck Band

If you’re still waiting on your footers to cure, you can continue to work on the deck band by using temporary supports (custom cut scraps of wood). If the deck runs right up next to the home, you will need to secure that part of the deck band to the exterior using galvanized hardware appropriate for your application. (NOTE: Heavy weight distribution may require a proper ledger board)

Step Six - Framing Deck Band image

Step Seven: Install Floor Joists

Since the decking will run parallel to the house, the joists will run perpendicular. These 2”x 8” PT boards are toenailed in place, 16-inches on center across the entire structure, creating your deck’s subfloor system. Always install joist hangers to add strength and stability when possible.

Tiered Deck - Install Floor Joists image

Step Eight: Install Post Brackets

With your concrete footers properly cured, you can now begin installing the galvanized post bases. Once precise placement is determined you can secure the base. Using the appropriate masonry bit, drill a pilot hole, then hammer in the provided hardware to secure the base to the concrete. Pop the supplied cover into place so the hardware is no longer visible.

Tiered Deck - Install Secure Posts image

Step Nine: Install & Secure Posts

Next, measure and mark your 6-inch post, then cut to size using a circular saw. Place inside the post base and secure with nails. Once the permanent posts are in place you can remove all the temporary wood supports. Toe-nail posts into place, then secure each post to the deck band or floor joists with the proper heavy-duty hardware (lag bolts or screw bolt fasteners).

Tiered Deck - Install and Secure Posts image

Step Ten: Lay Decking

With the sub-floor system completed you can begin decking. We laid boards across running from left to right, staggering lengths and leaving them long with a substantial overhang. We secured them to the joists using special polymer coated decking screws. You can also rent a coil screw gun to speed up this process. Your back and knees will thank you!

Tiered Deck - Lay Decking Image

Step Eleven: Trim Excess Decking

For a nice clean edge, snap a chalk line, then trim the excess decking using a circular saw. Always treat the cut ends with a wood preservative to fight moisture and pest damage.

Tiered Deck - Trim Excess Decking image

Step Twelve: Finishing Touches

If your budget allows, consider adding special features to boost your new deck’s functionality and appeal. Arbors, planter boxes, benches and privacy screens can be built using the same or complementary materials to give the area more visual impact.

Tiered Deck - Finishing Touches image

Step Thirteen: Staining to Protect

Once you’ve let your pressure-treated wood deck “dry out” you can apply a stain and sealant product. Depending on your weather and condition of the lumber when you began building, you may need to give it several weeks before taking on this step. Protecting a wood deck is crucial to prolonging its life for as long as possible. By staining it, you’re minimizing UV, heat and moisture damage. Heat and UV damage can lead to drying and cracking of boards, while moisture can lead to excessive mildew, warping and eventually wood-rot.

Tiered Deck - Staining to Protect image

TOOLS

  • Measuring tape shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Laser level
  • 48-inch standard level speed square
  • Pencil
  • Eye/ear protection
  • Chalk reel
  • Circular saw
  • Compound miter saw (optional)
  • Hammer
  • Drill & masonry bits
  • Compressor & nail gun
  • Auto-feed decking screw gun (optional/rental)

MATERIALS

  • All Pressure-Treated Southern Yellow Pine 6”x 6” posts
  • 2”x 8” boards for deck band and joists 5/4” decking boards
  • Stakes + string
  • High-strength concrete mix (3000 psi+) water
  • Galvanized adjustable post base
  • 16-gauge galvanized nails
  • 8-inch galvanized lag bolts or screw bolts
  • 2 1⁄2-inch wood deck screws (polymer coated) deck stain and sealant combo
  • Paint brush or sprayer
  • Rags and latex gloves
  • Wood preservative
  • Knee pads (optional)