Building a deck requires a lot of planning, but free deck design software literally handles it all for you. There are many different deck designs and everyone who wants a deck envisions how they want it to look. The problem is making that vision a reality. You don't always know where to start. Deck planning software leads you through the entire process of designing the right deck for your home and even tells you how to build it.
Capabilities of Free Deck Design Software
The Internet is full of sites offering deck software, some of which you have to buy. You can find free software, but make sure it is capable of delivering everything you need to build your deck. A good piece of software should provide the following:
- Several sample decks to choose from or a starting place to create your own design
- Displays of both a 2D and a 3D model of your design
- The ability to create a list of materials needed to build the deck
- Step-by-step instructions for installation
- Designs to save on your computer and change later
- The option to print the plans on your desktop printer
The Benefits of Deck Software
Deck software is ideal for everyone from the beginner hobbyist to the more experienced carpenter. Unlike professional architectural programs, called CAD programs, deck software is geared for the do-it-yourself handyman. While CAD programs require quite a bit of training to operate, deck software is simple enough that anyone with a mind for construction can manipulate it. Benefits include:
- Free deck design software allows the user to create a 3D model to view from any angle. This allows you to get a better visual on exactly what it will look like next to your home.
- Deck software helps you avoid costly mistakes by providing you with a set of plans.
- You can see what the deck would look like with different stains and different railings.
- CAD programs can cost thousands of dollars. Deck software that you buy can be anywhere from $30 to $50. Free software is exactly that… free.
Some Recommended Free Software
You can find a lot of free software on the Internet and some are better than others. If you are looking to build your deck, check out these free programs first before buying one.
- Deck Designer - One of the most popular deck programs on the web, DIY.com's software offers multi-level designs you can print along with a list of materials, tools, and tips for building.
- Fiberon Deck Design Tool - Offered by the decking company Fiberon, this program is similar to Deck Designer and gives you a complete list for materials, deck layout, an installation checklist, and a stress analysis of the deck.
- Design Workshop Lite - This site offers the full home design package from home interiors, exteriors, landscaping, and even urban development. You can practically build your whole house and neighborhood. The good news is you can do it all free.
- Google Sketch-Up - This handy tool allows you to create and share rough 3D models. While the program does not give you a complete list of materials needed nor a set of plans, it is free and easy to use. Plus, unlike most other free programs, you can use it with a Mac.
- Big Hammer- The free deck designing tools on this site allow you to design a three dimensional deck that is attached to your very own house. You can then view the deck from all angles. Once you have found the design you want, you can print out the plan and material list for building it.
Designing Your Dream Deck
With so many free deck designing programs available online, designing the deck of your dreams has never been easier. Just remember to choose a design that is within your woodworking capabilities or go with a professional contractor to have it built.