Loading

Create a free account and get instant & exclusive access to all that Decks.com has to offer:

Checkmark 1,000+ How-To articles
Checkmark 80+ Free Deck Plans
Checkmark Deck Planning Calculators
Checkmark Free & Simple Deck Design Tool

Laying Out the Deck Ledger Board

Before driving the structural screws to firmly attach the ledger, be sure to draw your joist locations onto the face of the ledger. The reason for laying out the joist locations is to prevent placing a joist on top of a structural bolt holding the ledger in place. In the case of a rectangular deck, you could lay out the joists on the ledger (on a set of sawhorses) before you install it. But if the deck will have a number of angles or is very long, it is easier if you lay out with the ledger installed on the house first.

Ledgerbolt
PinterestSave

Read this article to determine your joist spacing. (In our example, joists are 16" on center to support 5/4 pressure-treated decking laid perpendicular to the joists.) Joists are usually installed “on center,” meaning the spacing number – usually, 16" or 12" – falls in the center of the joist’s thickness.

Marking for a doubled rim joist at an end of the ledger
PinterestSave
Marking for a doubled rim joist at an end of the ledger

At the end of the ledger, the outside joist will butt into the face, rather than the end, of the ledger. Here, the ledger is marked for an outside joist that will be doubled. This double joist will require a double-concealed joist hanger. You cannot use a standard joist hanger at the end of a ledger, as it's cut flush with the edge of the ledger board. A standard joist hanger requires an extra 1.5" of space to nail to the ledger.

Use a framing sqaure
PinterestSave
Use a framing sqaure

When laying out after the ledger has been temporarily attached, measure and mark as described above. Use a framing square to measure and mark the joist centers along the ledger board.

Locate the rail posts
PinterestSave
Locate the rail posts

If you plan on installing your railing posts on the inside of the deck frame, you will need to adjust the joist layout to allow space for the rail posts.


Popular Ledger Articles
Deck Ledger Board

Attaching the Ledger Board to the House Rim

Learn how to properly install a waterproof ledger board using flashing and fasteners. Check out our step-by-step video and detail drawings.

Deck Ledger Board

Layout Of The Ledger

Learn how to plan ahead to avoid problems when installing your deck ledger board to the house wall.

Deck Ledger Board

Attaching the ledger board to hollow block

Our inspector discusses how to attach a deck to a hollow concrete block foundation wall.

Next Step: Care Articles
Deck Cleaning

Pressure Washer Buying Guide

When it comes to cleaning your deck, it's important to choose the right pressure washer. Use this pressure washer buying guide from Decks.com to help with your decision!

Deck Cleaning

Preventing & Treating a Slippery Deck

Inclement weather can cause both wood and composite decks to become slippery and potentially unsafe. Learn how to prevent and treat a slippery outdoor deck at Decks.com.

Repairs

How to Sand a Wood Deck

Sanding a deck is important to prevent any wood slivers and imperfections. Use these instructions to properly sand and refinish your deck.

Get more helpful resources delivered right to your inbox

Explore Articles by Topic

Create a free account and get instant & exclusive access to all that Decks.com has to offer:

Checkmark 1,000+ How-To articles
Checkmark 80+ Free Deck Plans
Checkmark Deck Planning Calculators
Checkmark Free & Simple Deck Design Tool
Deck Ledger Board

Laying Out the Deck Ledger Board

Before driving the structural screws to firmly attach the ledger, be sure to draw your joist locations onto the face of the ledger. The reason for laying out the joist locations is to prevent placing a joist on top of a structural bolt holding the ledger in place. In the case of a rectangular deck, you could lay out the joists on the ledger (on a set of sawhorses) before you install it. But if the deck will have a number of angles or is very long, it is easier if you lay out with the ledger installed on the house first.

PinterestSave

Read this article to determine your joist spacing. (In our example, joists are 16" on center to support 5/4 pressure-treated decking laid perpendicular to the joists.) Joists are usually installed “on center,” meaning the spacing number – usually, 16" or 12" – falls in the center of the joist’s thickness.

Marking for a doubled rim joist at an end of the ledger
PinterestSave
Marking for a doubled rim joist at an end of the ledger

At the end of the ledger, the outside joist will butt into the face, rather than the end, of the ledger. Here, the ledger is marked for an outside joist that will be doubled. This double joist will require a double-concealed joist hanger. You cannot use a standard joist hanger at the end of a ledger, as it's cut flush with the edge of the ledger board. A standard joist hanger requires an extra 1.5" of space to nail to the ledger.

Use a framing sqaure
PinterestSave
Use a framing sqaure

When laying out after the ledger has been temporarily attached, measure and mark as described above. Use a framing square to measure and mark the joist centers along the ledger board.

Locate the rail posts
PinterestSave
Locate the rail posts

If you plan on installing your railing posts on the inside of the deck frame, you will need to adjust the joist layout to allow space for the rail posts.


Popular Ledger Articles
Deck Ledger Board

Attaching the Ledger Board to the House Rim

Learn how to properly install a waterproof ledger board using flashing and fasteners. Check out our step-by-step video and detail drawings.

Deck Ledger Board

Ledger to engineered floor joists

Explore your options for building a deck onto a house with engineered floor joists.

Deck Ledger Board

Attaching the Ledger Board to a Concrete Wall

Step-by-step instructions on how to install a ledger board to a concrete house foundation wall using expansion anchors.

Next Step: Care Articles
Deck Cleaning

Pressure Washer Buying Guide

When it comes to cleaning your deck, it's important to choose the right pressure washer. Use this pressure washer buying guide from Decks.com to help with your decision!

Deck Finishing

How to Stain a Wood Deck

Staining your deck, porch or patio can help maintain the longevity of its appearance. Learn how to stain your deck with these easy to follow steps at Decks.com.

Repairs

How to Fix Loose Deck Railing

Fixing a loose deck railing can be easy and it ensures that you and your family are safe. Learn more about why your railing might be loose and how to fix it.

Get more helpful resources delivered right to your inbox

Explore Articles by Topic