Free Deck Design Software

With template-based CAD software like MoistureShield’s DeckLife, the user starts with a basic rectangular deck.

Deck dimensions, shapes, and features can then be manipulated on screen.

The USP version of DIYonline’s template-based software features enhanced structural-connector guidance.

Freeware tested for this article can produce serviceable 3D renderings.

The renderings from a program like Realtime Landscaping Architect offer more detail than those done with a freeware program.

On-screen navigation is straightforward with Big Hammer’s freeware.

Big Hammer's freeware has different tabs for viewing specific deck details, such as post locations and joist layout.

The Home Depot version of Big Hammer software can produce a bill of materials based on pricing at a local store.

Big Hammer’s 3D renderings are representational but not especially well-detailed or realistic.

The Home Depot version of Big Hammer’s Deck Designer will generate a materials list with store-specific SKU numbers and pricing.

In Google SketchUp, you start by creating a 2D drawing of a deck element, such as a joist.

Using an expansion tool, you can manipulate the 2D drawing into a 3D model, or component.

It’s possible to create 3D renderings in SketchUp.

Most deck designers who use SketchUp mainly create scaled plan views and elevations with it.

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