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joists

Joists run from the header, perpendicular to the house, and rest on top of the beams. The joists are blocked for extra stability and support the deck boards.

14. Installing Joist Cap

Many home owners are under the false impression that products such as composite decking boards can extend the life of their deck indefinitely. One reason this is inaccurate is that, while the deck boards may not deteriorate due to weathering, unless they choose an alternative material, the wooden frame beneath will.

By using pressure treated lumber, most decks will last for two decades, or more, with proper treatment, but over time the lumber will still suffer rot. One way to slow this process is through the installation of joist cap.

12. Custom Deck Framing

Setting Deck Frame on an Angle

Many home owners prefer to have the decking installed on a 45° angle to the house, so that the lines create a more interesting pattern. Rather that set your decking on a 45° angle to the frame, the frame itself can be constructed on the 45° angle. This may seem more complicated, but there are far fewer joists than decking boards. Adjusting the frame saves time and simplifies the process.

11. Framing High Decks

Building codes call for stronger materials, and joints the higher off of the ground a structure becomes. In many jurisdictions, ground level decks may not require any inspection, while second story decks nearly always do. Safety is the primary concern driving these differences.

Here are some changes to check your local code for:

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10. Framing a Level Change

When framing a multi-tiered deck with more than one level, frame posts can be shared between more than one level. Simply stack the double beams on top of the beams for the lower level, using the same width of material. The joists for your upper level should be sized to match the height of the deck steps, so that all changes of elevation are similar, to prevent trip hazards.

Shared deck support post illustration.

9. Outside "Rim Joist" or Faceplate Installation

Our deck plans call for structural outside faceplates. These pieces are also known as rim joists and form the outside frame of the deck, fastening all other members to each other and stiffening the deck frame to prevent unnecessary vibration, flex and twisting. Decorative faceplates are often used in deck construction as well. In this case, a secondary faceplate is typically cut from lighter 1x material, or other siding and fastened to the outside face of the rim joist to cover it and create a decorative faceplate.

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7. Blocking Your Deck Joists

Blocks cut from the same material as your joists should be installed at regular intervals, perpendicular to the length of the joists. They help to stiffen the deck’s frame and prevent joists from moving or twisting as the lumber expands and contracts.

Pro Tip

Cut blocks for inside joists all to the same length, 14½ inches. This aligns the joists with perfect spacing. Outside joists may not be spaced at 16”oc or may need to adjust to get the proper fit for decking.

6. Deck Joist Installation

Most of our deck plans call for 2x8 joists. Joists are the floor supports that your decking will ride on and typically extend out from the house perpendicularly, between the ledger and face board, or with one end resting on the double beam.

The simplest and strongest way to install deck joists is to use joist hanger brackets. Install your brackets first and joist installation becomes a breeze.

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