Here are some tips when you start building your brand new deck: 1) Create a list of materials: When this list is complete, you will be able to set a budget for your deck project by getting an estimate from the lumberyard. 2)Estimate the ledger: Measure from your plans how many feet of wall will support the deck and add 10% for waste. Note: Always add a "waste factor," use 10% as a minimum. 3) Estimate concrete: Verify the standard in your area, since many areas, especially in colder climates, require deeper pads. The goal is to have concrete pads that extend below the frost line, which could be as deep as 42". For each set of stairs add 2 cubic feet to support the bottom of the stairs. Don't forget to add the 10% to the total for waste. Plus, there are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard. 4) Estimate concrete piers: Simply count the number of concrete pads; you will need a concrete pier for each pad. It is not necessary to include a waste factor for piers. 5) Estimate the following: Posts, girders, railing, stairs, deck boards, joists, etc. 6) Hardware and fasteners: You will need galvanized nails, metal connectors and bolts to connect your deck parts. Figure one pound of 16d galvanized nails for each 10 square feet of deck, use the double hot dipped galvanized kind. Each joist will require two joist hangars. Each post should have a post cap to connect it to the girder it supports. Figure one pound of galvanized nails for each 10 metal connectors. The manufacturer will specify the size of nail for their product. Allow one bolt per foot of ledger, be sure to measure the length necessary to "run" the bolt through the wall framing and install a nut and washer on the other side.