The process of framing a deck includes creating connections between joists, beams and support posts in order to build a code compliant deck structure. This in depth section will teach DIY builders to frame a deck, from installing a ledger board and frost footings to framing the perimeter of the deck.
Each deck design will naturally present its own order of assembly by which to proceed. Many builders take different approaches, but good planning will always result in a smoother building process. If you can highlight or number the individual forms on the plan, it may make it easier to select a place to start. Once pieces of the deck begin to materialize, it will give you a physical mass to attach to and square against. It is usually best to start against the house because the ledger board offers a stationary surface and length to pull measurements from and to attach joists to. If your deck will change elevations, it makes sense that you should finish one section before starting the next. Stairs and landings should be the final step in framing a deck.
Learn more about framing a deck in our articles below!
Step-by-step instructions and tips on how to frame. Learn how to install treated wood joists and beams to build a strong deck.
Learn what factors determine the maximum joist cantilever overhang that is allowed.
Learn where to start framing your deck. Watch our step-by-step video that explains how to set your beams on your posts and install the rim joists.
Learn how to build a ground level deck. We advise to allow some clearance for ventilation in between the frame and ground. You may need to excavate some soil.
Learn a technique to strengthen your guard rails by installing a double rim joist and adding structural blocking to reduce bounce.
Learn how to strengthen your deck by adding blocking or bridging material at the mid-span of your joists. Blocking can be used to strengthen guardrails.
Learn some tips on how to properly square your deck frame.
Learn about an alternative framing method that allows you to install your decking perpendicular to the house and makes the deck free standing.
You may need to build a freestanding deck if you can't attach a ledger board to the house. Learn how to build a self-supporting deck.
Learn how to build a deck around a tree to allow the tree to grow and not damage its root system while digging footings.
Learn information about balcony decks that use cantilevered joists that attach to house floor truss systems.
Occasionally, a project is presented where a deck will be built over a flat roof of a house or a garage...
Things to consider when building a deck near an air conditioning unit. You may want to relocate the AC unit if possible to avoid some problems.
Learn how to build a curved deck using standard wood-framing materials. Composite decking material is more flexible for curved decks than wood.
Learn about how to sister deck joists over a beam for framing a large deck or adding onto an existing deck.
Multi-level decks are very popular. Learn how to build a deck that steps up or down using shared posts and footing connections.
Learn how to install a diagonal brace on your deck frame to prevent racking. Check out our detailed image.
Learn about a technique used by many pro builders for wrapping deck framing lumber with a waterproof barrier to prevent corrosion and rot.
Decks constructed around above-ground pools are no different than any other free-standing deck.
As with any professional job, having the right tools can make all the difference.
Anatomy of a Deck
If you want your deck to be safely supported by its substructure for the life of the deck, you can protect your investment with joist tape.
Learn how to build a deck to properly support a hot tub or spa. Hot tubs are very heavy. Never place a hot tub on a deck that wasn't designed for the additional load.
Install shims or notch joist bottom across uneven joists to level your deck surface.
Learn some tips on how to build a six-sided hexagon-shaped deck.
How will you access the controls of your hot tub on your deck? Make sure you have space to open and operate control panels when designing your deck.
Learn how to build an octagon-shaped deck. Octagon decks can be used as the floor for a gazebo roof.
Learn about the pros and cons of adding onto your existing deck. First, make sure your existing deck frame and footings can support additional loads.
Learn how to frame a deck with angled or clipped 45-degree corners using a cantilever beam.
What are your options for building a deck over concrete stairs? You can demolish the stairs or build the frame around it.
Learn how to install a notched wood support post to cantilevered beam connection using lag bolts, through bolts with washers or structural screws.
Installing wood deck posts on top of concrete footings will provide additional support for your deck. We recommend using 6x6 posts due to their strength. Learn how install them at Decks.com.
Learn how to install knee bracing in-between your deck support posts to provide extra strength against high winds and to prevent racking forces for tall decks.
Follow our step-by-step instructions on how to install a support post to a concrete deck footing using a post base connector and anchor.
Steel deck posts with base plates can be used as an alternative to wood posts for supporting your deck.
Learn how to support an upper and lower deck using one support post and a larger footing by bolting the lower deck into the side of the post.
Learn how to install trim or post sleeves over your pressure-treated support posts for a cleaner finish and to protect the material from checking.
Learn how to install concrete deck piers to support your deck frame. Use cardboard form tubes to extend your footings above grade.
Learn why it is important to slope your deck away from the house to shed water off the end of the deck.
Browse some examples of decorative deck support posts for tall decks.
Learn how to size your deck beam using this easy-to-use span table. Just cross-reference the post spacing and joist length to determine the beam size.
Learn about the pros and cons of installing a cantilever, girder or drop beam to support your deck joists. This method allows for a notched post-to-beam connection.
Learn about how to choose the correct size beam for your deck. We discuss engineered beams and "sandwiched" style beams.
Learn how to nail a beam together. How many nails should you use? What type of nails should you use?
Learn how to measure in order to set your posts to properly position your deck beam to the correct height. We recommend sloping your deck to shed water away from the house.
Follow our step by step tutorial for splicing a deck beam over a support post. Never split a beam in the center of a span.
Flush beams are a great solution when building a ground level deck because you may not have enough clearance for a cantilevered beam.
Learn how to create a positive structural connection for your post to beam connections. Use lag bolts, through bolts with washers, support cleats and hardware connectors.
Learn why it is important to install your deck beam to beam connections over a support post and footing.
Learn how to support the angled beams of a ground level deck with your support posts.
Use treated engineered deck beams for long spans with fewer posts and footings. Engineered beams can be designed and specially ordered from your lumberyard.
Learn how to use a post beam connector to attach a 3-2x10 beam to a support post for a deck when there isn't enough material on the post to create a notched connection.