Laying Deck Boards

Laying deck boards is the part of the process when your deck truly begins to come to life. The materials you’ve chosen and the style and color of your decking play a role in creating your outdoor aesthetic. Whether you plan to lay your boards in a more traditional linear style, or have decided that an intricate inlaid pattern is right for your design, there are some best-practices to follow when installing decking boards.

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Pro Tip

Make sure you level both joists to the same height and fasten with 4 screws every 12" to support the composite butt joints.

  • Installing Composite Decking

    Composite decking offers the look of wood without the rigorous upkeep. From controlling deck seams to working with hidden fastener systems, learn more about how to install composite decking.

  • How to Properly Space Deck Boards

    When laying down your decking, it’s important to have just the right amount of space between your boards. The amount of spacing between boards varies by deck materials, but proper spacing and ventilation can make it easier to clean between boards.

  • How to Install a Picture Frame Deck Edge

    Picture framing (or racetrack decking) finishes the perimeter of a deck and covers exposed deck edges. Learn how to do this edging technique for a “picture” perfect look.

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Pro Tip

Make sure you level both joists to the same height and fasten with 4 screws every 12" to support the composite butt joints.

Installing Deck Railings

Installing deck railings is critical for elevated decks, making them compliant with building codes and helping make enjoying your deck safer. Before you start installing railings, familiarize yourself with the components and steps involved to make the process smoother.

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Pro Tip

Build a jig using scrap material to assist in drilling the baluster connector locations. The width of this jig was cut to 1 1/4" wide to fit inside the channel in the top rail and center on the bottom rail. The manufacturer recommends 4 3/8" on center spacing for 3/4" steel balusters. If you plan on tightening your spacing of balusters, make sure you order extra balusters.

  • Parts of a Wood or Composite Deck Railing

    From railing caps to balusters, learn about the different parts and components of deck railings.

  • Installing Deck Rail Posts

    Current building codes call for stronger posts that need to be installed prior to adding decking. Learn how to install sturdy deck rail posts to give your railing greater stability.

  • How to Install Deck Railing Balusters

    While balusters may be the most expensive railing component, they’re one of the most important and crucial to your railing’s safety and adherence to IRC codes.

  • How to Install Composite Deck & Porch Railings

    Composite deck railings are a low-maintenance option that requires minimal upkeep, and is available in easy-to-install kits and systems. Learn how to install composite railings.

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Pro Tip

Build a jig using scrap material to assist in drilling the baluster connector locations. The width of this jig was cut to 1 1/4" wide to fit inside the channel in the top rail and center on the bottom rail. The manufacturer recommends 4 3/8" on center spacing for 3/4" steel balusters. If you plan on tightening your spacing of balusters, make sure you order extra balusters.

Building Deck Stairs

Building deck stairs can be one of the most difficult parts of building a deck. It requires patience, precision, and a grasp on the mathematical calculations required to construct your deck stairs properly. Your deck stairs will also require hand railings of their own to add greater stability. Learn more about the calculations and components involved in building deck stairs and completing your deck.

Deck Stairs Calculator

Having the right calculations beforehand can make building deck stairs a lot easier. Learn how to calculate rise and run, dimensions for the rise, step height and tread depth, as well as stringer length.

How to Build Deck Stairs & Steps

From learning the different parts of deck stairs to understanding common codes requirements, get tips for building deck stairs and troubleshooting any issues throughout the process.

Deck Stair Handrails

Learn more about the specific guidelines for handrails on stairs, as well as best-practices for constructing them.

How to Install Deck Stair Railings

Get step-by-step instructions for installing deck stair railings and learn more about the specifications required for guardrail height and openings.

Takeaways From This Chapter

  • The amount of spacing between decking boards varies depending on the material you’ve decided to use, but proper spacing is essential to ventilate and more easily clean between deck boards.
  • Railings add an extra element of safety to your deck. Making sure there is correct spacing between balusters and that rail posts are compliant with building codes is critical to proper construction.
  • Building deck stairs can be one of the most complex parts of constructing a deck. Having the right calculations for the dimensions needed to build deck stairs beforehand can make for a smoother process.

More Chapters In This Guide

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