Hometime Team
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Trans 1) Deck Overview Trans
2) Materials & Tools
3) Preparing Siding for Ledger Board
4) Preparing Ledger Board
5) Attaching Ledger Board
6) Digging Footings & Pouring Concrete
7) Cutting & Raising Posts
8) Installing Beams
9) Installing Joists
10) Installing Deck Boards
11) Building Stairs
12) Installing Railings

Installing Deck Boards

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.

Measure 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.

For 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 3" extra.

Cut the first 2 deck boards to the exact length needed. The rest can run wild.

If you've 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.


Setting First Board

Setting First Board Once the notches are cut, set the first board against the house wall.

Make 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.

Setting First Board3 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 out.

They should be at least 3-1/2 inches long to penetrate the framing.

If 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.



Spacing Deck Boards

Spacing Deck Boards If the deck boards are relatively dry, use 16 penny nails to establish the proper gaps between the boards.

Proper spacing allows moisture to drain off the deck between the boards.

Wood 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.


Straightening Boards

Straightening Boards Deck boards are hardly ever perfectly straight, but you can straighten them as you secure them with a flat bar.

First, secure one end of the board with the proper gap.

Jam 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 if necessary.

Then 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.


Checking Layout

Checking Layout 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.

If 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.



Staggering Joints

Staggering Joints 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.

Stagger the joints between the courses of decking for a more pleasing appearance.

Random 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.


Setting the Last Board

Setting 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.

Don't 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.


Cutting Wild Ends

Cutting Wild EndsCut 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.

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