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

Cutting and Raising Posts

The posts support the beams which support the joists, so the tops of the posts have to level with each other for proper stability.

Because of variations in the height of the footings, the length of each post should be determined individually.

To determine a post's height, set it temporarily in place on its footing.

Find a 2x4 long enough to extend from the ledger board past the post, and set one end in a joist hanger.

Run the other end of the 2x4 alongside the post, and set a level on top to hold it in a level position.

Use a second level to make sure the post is plumb, and then mark where the bottom of the 2x4 crosses the post. That transfers the height of the bottom of the ledger board to the post.


Marking Cutting Lines

Marking Cutting Lines Use a square to draw a straight line through the mark, if the post will be supporting a flush beam.


OPTION: If the post will be supporting a dropped beam, measure down from the mark representing the bottom of the ledger board a distance representing the height of the beam (9-1/2 inches for a 2x10 beam) and then draw a straight line through that mark.

After drawing the first straight line, move the square to the next side of the post, line it up with the first line and draw another line on that side. Do the same on the remaining 2 sides to create level cutting lines all the way around the post.


Cutting 6x6 Posts

Cutting 6x6 Posts Use a circular saw to cut along the lines on all 4 sides of the 6x6 post.

To keep your cuts lined up, use a square as a saw guide.

The circular saw blade doesn't quite reach the center of a 6x6 post, but you can finish the cut with a hand saw.


Installing Drift Pins

Installing Drift Pins Posts can slide off their footings in high winds so codes will often require some kind of anchoring system.

One option is to use 6-inch drift pins, cut from 1/2-inch steel bars.

Use a half-inch drill and a half-inch masonry bit to pre-drill 3-inch holes centered in the tops of the concrete pier blocks and set the pins in the holes. Use a hammer if necessary to drive them in all the way, leaving 3 inches exposed.

Drill matching holes in the bottom of each post.



Raising PostsRaising Posts

Before raising the posts into position, spread exterior glue over the tops of the pier blocks for solid adhesion.

Also fill the drift pin holes in the bottoms of the posts with glue to anchor the solidly in each one.

Then raise the posts up, line up the holes with the pins and lower the posts down onto the pier blocks. On a tall deck, the posts will be long and may require two people.

Be sure that there's a positive connection between the bottom of the post and the concrete, especially in windy or earthquake prone areas.


treating end of post against rotNOTE: Rest only the UNCUT end of a treated post on the concrete because that'll be the most resistant to decay. If it's not possible, re-treat the ends with a chemical mixture available at home centers.


Using Anchor Brackets

A “standoff” A variety of galvanized steel brackets are available to anchor posts to concrete footings or pier blocks. The best will allow you to adjust the position of the post on the footing, in case your footing isn’t EXACTLY where it needs to be.

A “standoff” anchorA “standoff” anchor will hold the bottom of the post slightly above the surface of the concrete. The advantage of this is that the bottom of the post won’t absorb moisture if the footing gets wet from rain or snow.


Plumbing and Bracing Posts

Plumbing and Bracing Posts

  • Have a couple of 1x4 braces and a couple of stakes standing by for each post you raise so you can plumb and brace them immediately.
  • After setting a post on a pier block, screw the braces into the post on perpendicular sides, loose enough to flex the braces a bit.
  • Drive the stakes in where the braces hit the ground, so they're ready to anchor the braces.
  • Set the level on the side of the post facing one the first brace and shift the post as needed to make it plumb.
  • Then screw the brace into the stake while holding the post plumb.
  • Follow the same steps on the side facing the other brace and secure that one to the stake.
  • Leave the braces in place until the deck framing is done.

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