Installing Deck Boards
Installing deck boards usually begins at the house wall and goes out
toward the end, with the boards always running perpendicular to the joists.
from the outside edge of one rim joist to the outside edge of the other one to
get the length of the first 2 deck boards. Then add to that length the amount
needed to cover any skirtboards or overhangs.
example, if a skirtboard is to be installed later, allow 3/4" on each end for
that and another 3/4" on each end for the typical overhang. That's a total of
the first 2 deck boards to the exact length needed. The rest can run wild.
allowed for an overhang on the deck board, you'll have to notch out the ends of
the 1st board a little to fit the cut-out in the siding, equal to the depth of
the siding and the length of your overhang. That'll probably be about a half-inch
deep and 3/4-inch long on each end.
Once the notches are cut, set the first board against the house wall.
sure it goes all the way in and hits the sheathing. Secure
the deck boards with 2 nails or screws where each board crosses a joist.
nails or screws may be necessary over the rim joists. Whether you choose to use
nails or screws, be sure to choose galvanized fasteners to keep them from rusting
should be at least 3-1/2 inches long to penetrate the framing.
you're using screws, self-tapping ones will drive in a little easier, but try
not to bury the screw heads below the surface.
TIP: Once the first 2 boards are in, start running the ends of the boards wild over
the edge, to save on cutting time since they can be cut all at once later on.
If the deck boards are relatively dry, use 16 penny nails to establish the proper
gaps between the boards.
spacing allows moisture to drain off the deck between the boards.
expands when it's wet. If the boards are wet when you install them, you can probably
butt them close together without any gap. They should shrink as they dry out and
produce adequate gaps between the boards.
Deck boards are hardly ever perfectly straight, but you can straighten them as
you secure them with a flat bar.
secure one end of the board with the proper gap.
the end of a flat bar into a joist with the back of it flush with the front
edge of the board. The bar has to bite in firmly, so hammer it into the joist
push the bar back against the board till it's in line with the previous board
and screw it in. Continue that process to the end of the board.
As the deck boards progress, it's a good idea to measure out to the front of
the deck from both ends of the last board.
the measurements are equal, then the boards will line up straight at the end and
not run askew.
TIP: If they're not equal, increase the gaps between the boards slightly on the
shorter side and decrease them slightly on the longer side as you lay out the
next few boards, until you've made up the difference.
On wider decks you'll need 2 or more boards to span the framing. Make sure the
joints between each pair of boards land in the middle of a joist for proper support.
the joints between the courses of decking for a more pleasing appearance.
joints will be less noticeable than those in patterns, so try not to land joints
on the same joist more than once every 3 or 4 courses.
the Last Board
Even with the most careful planning, it's not unusual to have less than a full
deck board at the end of the deck. You can rip off part of a 2x6 if necessary
or use 2x4s of the same wood species.
forget to allow extra overhang along the outside edge for a skirtboard and an
overhang to match the rest of the deck.
TIP: If you're using 2x6's and the last gap is a bit wider than a 2x6, use a 2x8
of the same wood species, ripped down a little if necessary.
Cut the wild ends when the deck boards are all done. To mark a cutting line, set one edge of a framing square flush with the rim joist at the end of the deck, push it up high enough to read the measurements off the other edge and mark the proper overhang on the deck board (1-1/2 inches, in this case). Snap a chalkline from that mark down to the ends of the cut boards along the house wall.
Use a circular saw to cut off the wild ends, following the chalklines. That leaves you with a straight, sharp edge.