A large selection of free deck plans can be found in the Free Plans section of Decks.com. Lowes.com and ThisOldHouse.com offer step-by-step instructions on how to build specific decks or certain parts of decks. Lowe's also has an online tool called Deck Designer to help customers design custom decks.
Decks.com has plans for over 80 different deck designs, some of which even come with multiple sets of designs for different size requirements. Users can search Decks.com for decks according to elevation level, meaning low, medium or high. Once a user finds a deck plan he likes, he must enter his contact information to receive a link to the plan via email.
Deck Designer is an online tool from Lowe's compatible with most versions of Windows, Mac OS X and popular Web browsers. The tool also requires updated versions of Java and Adobe Acrobat. The software uses a customer's desired size, shape and materials to create a custom deck plan that includes building instructions and shopping lists using Lowe's inventory. The step-by-step instructions from Lowe's teaches customers how to build posts, set beams between posts, create joists and more.
The step-by-step instructions on ThisOldHouse.com teach users how to build a simple 10-by-16-foot deck. The instructions include a list of tools and materials needed to build the deck.