Archive for the ‘Decks’ Category

Cleaning your deck and home exterior

One of the toughest things about deck cleaning is figuring out which weekend to do it. You don’t want it too hot or too cold, so you should have your supplies ready for when the weather cooperates. Spring is a perfect time to clean your deck and get your backyard ready for some outdoor entertaining.

Your supplies should include:

  1. Exciting and inspirational music to keep you motivated
  2. Easy-to-prepare meals for you and your helpers
  3. Cold drinks and a shaded area with chairs for breaks
  4. Old clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
  5. Plenty of trash bags to contain debris
  6. Deck cleaning supplies

Preparing to Clean the Deck

Your first step to cleaning the deck is, of course, to remove all the big items that are on the deck. Remove patio furniture, the grill, flower pots, shoe trays and anything else that would prevent the deck surface from being completely clear.

Next, it’s time to remove any debris that has collected on the deck. Since your deck hasn’t been cleaned for some time, it’s a good idea to bring out the heavy-duty Shop Sweep® Indoor/Outdoor Shop Vac that not only vacuums up dirt, litter and other debris, but its tough nylon impeller mulches it! And you don’t have to stop with just vacuuming the deck: The Shop Sweep® Indoor/Outdoor Shop Vaccan consume pine needles, lawn clippings, saw dust, wood chips and even litter, so once you have it fired up, you can keep cleaning all around the house.

Deck Washing

Once your deck is prepared and debris-free, the next step in cleaning a deck is to wash it thoroughly. Easily attach a Deck Cleaning Brush to your water hose to quickly clean dirt, grime and bird residue from your deck floor. The Deck Cleaning Brushhas strong bristles on three sides to tackle those tough deck cleaning messes and a soft squeegee on the fourth side to remove water.

After the long winter months, you might have some moss or algae build-up that requires you to use something a little stronger than water to clean your deck. Just apply some environmentally friendly deck cleaner with a sprayer or brush, let it work for 5-10 minutes (read label on package) and then spray it away with your hose.

Now that your deck is clean and there is little left for you to track into your home, you can clean your sliding door track with an ergonomically designed Track Cleaning Brushthat is so tough it can remove dirt, mold and even soap scum from those hard-to-reach places.

Washing a House

Once you’re done cleaning your deck, why not take your cleaning to new heights and wash down the exterior of your home? Attach a 32-oz bottle of Multi-Purpose House Washto your garden hose and watch as the non-toxic wash goes to work removing dirt, bird residue, tree sap, mildew, moss and algae from your siding or wood panels.

If, after using the Multi-Purpose House Wash, you notice calcium, lime and other hard water stains or outright rust on your siding, stone, masonry or other areas, eliminate it with Rust Remover. Biodegradable and non-flammable, Rust Removerdissolves most stains and can protect bare metal for up to 12 months.

Not enough water pressure from your garden hose? Use an Electric Pressure Washer to reach all those stubborn areas of your house from top to bottom. You can usually find a compact electric pressure washer that has wheels so you can roll it along as you work, whether it’s washing away moss from your deck or oil stains from your driveway. The spray is adjustable from fine to intense, so you can use the power washer for a multitude of cleaning jobs without the risk of surface damage. Pressure washers are high powered and you should always use caution when using one.

Washing Windows

Your deck might be clean, but can you see it through your windows? What about from the second floor windows? For those high, hard-to-reach windows, use a Telescoping Washer Setthat has an adjustable aluminum pole that attaches to your hose. A soap dispenser on the pole allows you to easily add a liquid cleaner to your washing routine. The window washer set includes a 7-pattern spray nozzle, window squeegee, round soft brush, 10″ floor brush and even a brush for washing a car.

Don’t forget to clean the screens! You can either take the window screens down, scrub them and hose them off, or you can attach a Window Screen Vacuum Attachment to easily whisk the dirt away while they remain in the window frames.

Building outside stairs

Building a stairway can be one of the most intimidating tasks any builder-amateur or professional-tackles. But an outdoor stairway is generally not a difficult project, as long as it is planned and executed carefully. This document covers building procedures for a straight-run utility stairway, typically used on porches and decks.

Local building codes regulate the width and slope of a staircase, as well as how the assembly is supported and braced, how the landing is built and whether railings are required. ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL BUILDING DEPARTMENT BEFORE DESIGNING A STAIRWAY, AND FOLLOW ALL LOCAL CODES.

The following instructions are intended as general guidelines only, and local requirements should be your primary guide.

In this document you will find information about:

  • Stair-Building Terms
  • Designing Your Stairs
  • Building Your Stairs

STAIR-BUILDING TERMS

  • There are five basic design elements you’ll need to consider when planning outdoor stairs:
  • The Total Run (see image) is the total horizontal distance covered by the staircase, from the edge of the upper floor (porch or deck) to the edge of the staircase where it rests on the landing.
  • The Total Rise (see image) is the total vertical distance from the surface of the landing to a point level with the surface of the upper floor (Note: You can’t find the rise simply by measuring straight down from the upper floor because the ground directly below may not be level with the landing).

  • Run (see image) is the horizontal distance from the leading edge of one tread to the leading edge of the next tread.
  • Rise (see image) is the vertical distance from the surface of one tread to the surface of the next tread.
  • Passage Width (see image) is the width of the stairway.
  • The ratio of the total rise to total run (or rise to run) determines the slope of the stairway. As a rule, that slope should be between 30 degrees and 35 degrees; an outdoor stairway may be slightly shallower but should not be steeper. The ideal riser height is 7″ with an 11″ run-which also works out well with standard lumber widths-but you may have to vary the proportions somewhat to make the height of each step work out evenly between the landing and the upper floor.
  • The passage width can also vary, depending on how heavily you expect the stairs to be used. As a rule, 36″ is the minimum; 48″ is better for a single person, and you may want to go to 60″ to allow room for two people to pass comfortably.
  • A stairway consists of four basic components:

  • Stringers (see image above) are the sloped members that support the stairway. 2x10s are generally allowed for stairs with four treads or fewer, but 2x12s are sturdier.
  • In most cases, you’ll need good quality material with no large knots, either pressure treated or cut from heart redwood or cedar, to resist decay. Stringers should be placed no more than 24″ apart if the treads will be 5/4 material or 36″ apart for 2″-thick lumber.
  • Treads (see image above) are the horizontal members that you walk on. When building an outdoor stairway, they are typically cut from the same material as the upper floor deck or porch-5/4″ pressure-treated pine or 2″-thick lumber.
  • Risers (see image above) are the vertical members at the back of each tread. 1″ surfaced boards (3/4″ net thickness) are the most common material used.
  • The Railing Assembly (see image) consists of posts, a cap rail and vertical balusters between each post. 4×4 is the most common post material with a 2×4 handrail. Codes regulate the overall height of the railing assembly (usually 30″ to 34″) and may specify a maximum width for the handrail.

DESIGNING YOUR STAIRS

  • To design the stairway, first find the total rise. Divide that number by 7 (the ideal riser height) to find the number of steps. You’ll probably have a fractional remainder, so round your result up or down to the nearest whole number.
  • Then divide the total rise by that number to find the exact height of each riser. For example:
    • Total rise = 40-1/2″
    • 40-1/2″ divided by 7″ per riser = 5.78 risers
    • Round 5.78 up to 6 risers, then 40-1/2″ divided by 6 = 6.75″ or 6-3/4″ per riser
  • This document assumes that the total run is not limited, so you can make the assembly as long as you want. Use the following table to determine the width of the treads, depending on your riser height.
Riser Height Run Width
6″ 14″
6-1/4″ 13-1/2″
6-1/2″ 13″
6-3/4″ 12-1/2″
7″ 12″
7-1/4″ 11-1/2″
7-1/2″ 11″
  • To find the amount of material needed for risers, simply multiply the number of risers by the passage width. To find the amount of tread material, subtract 1 from the number of risers (you’ll need one fewer tread than risers) and multiply by the passage width. Remember to double up if you’ll be using two boards for each tread.
  • To find the length of the stringers, you’ll need a calculator with a square root function. First, find the total run (number of treads multiplied by the width of each tread).
  • Then find the square of the total run (total run multiplied by itself) and the square of the total rise and add them together.
  • The square root of the result gives you the exact stringer length; round up to the nearest standard lumber length, then multiply by the number of stringers you’ll need.

BUILDING YOUR STAIRS

  • To build the staircase, first notch the stringers for the treads and risers. Fasten two stair gauges to a carpenter’s square at the dimensions of the rise and run (for example, at 6-1/2″ on one leg and 13″ on the other). Set the square on the stringer so the gauges are flush against the edge and trace the notch along the edge of the square (see image).

  • “Step” your way down the stringer, repeating the process until you have laid out the correct number of notches. Use the carpenter’s square to lay out the top cut on the stringer. The height of the last riser should be less than the others by an amount equal to the thickness of the tread. That way, when you nail the last tread in place, the step down to the lower floor will be equal to the others.
  • You can set the stringer directly on the lower floor (typically a landing pad) and bolt it in place with a piece of angle iron, or bolt a length of pressure-treated 2×6 to the floor and nail the stringer to it.
  • If you plan to set the stringer on a 2×6, you may have to notch the bottom of the stringer to allow for that piece.
  • Once the stringer is laid out, cut the notches partway only, using a circular saw. Take care not to cut beyond the layout lines. Finish the cuts with a handsaw.

  • Once you have one stringer finished, set it in place to make sure it is cut correctly, then use it as a template to lay out your cuts on the other stringers.
  • You can hang the stringers to the rim joist with joist hangers (see image), or bolt them in place to a joist (see image below). If you need to pour a concrete landing pad at the bottom of the stairway, set the stringers in place temporarily and lay out the location of the pad. Pour the pad and set anchor bolts for the angle iron or 2×6 base. Instructions for pouring concrete are in another brochure in this series.
  • Once the landing pad is cured, secure the stringers at the top and bottom. Rip the risers to the same width as the height of the riser cut in the stringers. Then cut them to length and nail them to the stringers with 8d galvanized nails.
  • Measure the distance from the face of the riser to the edge of the notch cut, then rip the treads to width so they extend 1″ to 1-1/8″ beyond the edge of the notch. If you’re using two boards side by side as treads, rip half the dimension from each board so both will be the same width. Cut the treads to length and nail them to the stringer with 16d galvanized nails.

  • To build the railing, first secure 4×4 posts at the top and bottom of the stringer. Notch the posts 1-1/2″ deep and bolt them to the sides of the stringers with 1/2×4-1/2 hex bolts, using a level to keep them plumb. Use decay-resistant lumber for the posts. They should be at least long enough to extend 36″ above the surface of the treads. Leave them a few inches too long at the top so you can cut them after they are in place.
  • Measure from the bottom of the stringer up the posts to the location of the top and bottom rails. The top surface of the upper rail should be 30″ to 34″ above the tread; the rail should be about 6″ above the tread. Lay the railing material against the posts and lay out angled cuts for any rails that will be fastened between the posts.
  • Cut the railings to length and toenail them with four 8d galvanized nails. If you’ll be using balusters, cut them to length and nail them to the rails. Check local codes for spacing requirements on balusters.
TOOL AND MATERIAL CHECKLIST
2×10 Stringers 1×8 Risers
5/4″ or 2″ Tread Material 2×6 Pressure-Treated Cleat
Angle Iron Anchor Bolts
Hex Bolts 16d Galvanized Nails
8d Galvanized Nails 4×4 Posts
2″ Railing Material Baluster Material
Hammer Carpenter’s Square
Measuring Tape Adjustable Wrench
Joist Hangers


Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

Design a Deck

DECK DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

A deck is a popular home improvement that not only adds to the value of your home, but provides a focal point for enjoying the outdoors. You’ll want to carefully consider the design elements that go into your deck-it should include the features that match your lifestyle and complement the design of your house. Planning is the most important part of building a deck because, chances are, you’ll be living with your design for a long time.

There are three main considerations when planning a deck. Several questions must be answered in each topic. This document explains each topic and provides the background information you’ll need to make informed choices.

How You Plan to Use Your Deck-The most important consideration in deck design is how you will use it. Do you entertain frequently, and if so, how large a group will you need space for? What kind of seating will you need-would you or your guests be more comfortable on built-in benches or patio furniture? Do you want the space arranged to accommodate conversations between small groups or in one large common area? Will you need adequate lighting to entertain at night?
Try to imagine all the ways you’d like to use your deck, because most design elements will be based on those kinds of preferences.

Location-Chances are, the size and orientation of your property and house limit you to one or two deck locations. But within those limits, you may have more choices than you think. You may be able to add a door, build a walkway or incorporate a privacy screen that will allow you to locate your deck so it is most convenient for your intended uses.
The climate in your area and the views you’ll see are the major factors to consider when deciding where to place your deck. A northside deck will probably be the coolest location. Southern or western orientations may be too warm in the middle of the summer, unless you include an overhead screen or build the deck around an existing shade tree.
You may be able to avoid prevailing winds by locating your deck where the house will provide some protection. Likewise, careful placement can minimize traffic noise, eliminate unwanted views or provide additional privacy. If you plan to include a hot tub or swimming pool in your plans, privacy considerations for you and your guests may be very important.

Legal Considerations-Before you decide on a location, first check local zoning ordinances. They will limit the overall size of your deck, height of any privacy screens and the minimum distance from your deck to your lot lines. Neighborhood or subdivision covenants may restrict the appearance of the structure, and you’ll have to get approval for your design.
Also, check with the local building department to find out whether you’ll be required to have a building permit and what kind of plans you’ll have to submit. Finally, be sure to check with your local utility companies to make sure you won’t run afoul of utility rights-of-way and to locate buried pipes and utility lines.

Size-You can build any size deck you want within legal limits. But even within those limits, a deck can be either too big or too small. The most important consideration (aside from cost) is use, but a huge deck can look out of place next to a small house, just as a tiny deck looks wrong with a big house. If you think your dream deck is too large for your house, break up the expanse by building smaller sections on multiple levels.
To test your ideas, measure the size you want on your lawn. Drive 4′ stakes at the approximate corners, then tie string between them at about the height of the railings. Set your lawn furniture in the area to get an idea of how the space will work. The most common mistake people make is building a deck too small. The diference in cost between a deck that is a little too small and one that is the right size usually isn’t that much.
One tip: If possible, size your deck in 2′ or 4′ increments. You’ll have to buy standard lumber lengths anyway, and there’s no point in wasting that material when you could have a larger deck for the same amount of money.

PLANNING YOUR DECK

Shape and Decking Patterns-A deck can be any shape you want, and in fact, simple changes like an angled corner or a 45-degree decking pattern can dress up a house with a long, plain wall. Of course, a more complicated deck is more difficult to build and may require more materials. You can also add visual interest by wrapping the deck around a corner, adding built-in benches, integrating a fence or screen on one side or even adding an overhead screen.

Height-Usually, the decking should come to within 2 ” of the bottom of the access door from the house, with steps leading from the deck to the ground. On sloped ground, you may want to build your deck in multiple levels to follow the slope. Typically, wherever the deck is more than 48″ off the ground, codes require that the posts be braced to prevent swaying and racking.

Cutouts-A spa or hot tub can be set on the deck if the structure is reinforced to carry the weight of the water, or it can be set directly on a concrete slab on the ground with the deck built around it. Existing trees and rocks can also be integrated into the deck by framing around them; then either cap the ends of the decking or contour the decking to the shape of the obstacle. If you work around a tree, leave at least 3″ on all sides to allow for growth. Around a stationary object such as a boulder, leave about 1/4″ so the decking can expand and contract with temperature and moisture changes.
Railings-Railings are the most prominent visual element in a deck and offer great opportunity to use your imagination and creativity. They may be fastened to posts that run all the way to the ground, along the sides of the rim joists or attached to the decking itself. They may include wood, metal or even rope-nearly anything that satisfies structural requirements.
Your railing design will be limited primarily by building code regulations that are designed to ensure safety. Typically, those codes state that support posts may be no more than 6′ apart, and that the railing may have no spaces larger than 4″ x 4″. The durability of your railing will also be affected by the design. For example, the ends of the railing posts should be covered or cut at an angle to shed water, to minimize cracking and splitting.
Steps and Stairs-Step and stair construction is closely regulated by building codes. As a rule, steps and stairs should be at least 36″ wide-60″ if you want two people to be able to pass each other comfortably. The rise (vertical distance between steps) should be no more than 7-1/2″ and the width of a tread at least 10″. The slope should not be too steep-a 7″ riser with a 10-1/2″ tread is a common combination. Building codes will also govern how the stair is supported and attached and whether or not you need a railing.
Structural Components-There are five basic components of a typical deck:
Vertical posts are set in concrete or on piers set on a concrete footing. They are typically spaced 4′ to 8′ apart.
Horizontal beams are set on the posts parallel to the decking to carry the weight of the deck.
Joists are run between the beams, typically 16″ or 24″ apart. They distribute the weight of the deck and allow you to use decking boards that wouldn’t be strong enough to span the distance between the beams.
Decking is laid over the joists to form the “floor” of the deck.
Railings are usually 36″ to 42″ high, designed so no spaces between balusters are greater than 4″.
The materials used, and the size and spacing of these components, are specified by local building codes.
Materials-Deck materials must not only be resistant to decay and insect damage but also withstand the effects of water and sun. Standard construction lumber such as fir, pine or spruce may be treated to protect it from rot, but it won’t hold up under extreme weather conditions or the ultraviolet rays in sunlight.

You’ll get much better durability by using pressure-treated pine, redwood or cedar. Pressure-treated material is the least expensive and can be stained to nearly any color you want. Redwood and cedar offer an added advantage in that they are soft, fine-grained woods that will resist splintering. If you use redwood or cedar, remember that only the heartwood-the reddish-colored portion of redwood or the dark brownish-orange part of a cedar board-is decay-resistant. The lighter-colored sapwood will deteriorate just as quickly as pine or spruce.

Once you have a rough idea of what you want, draw two sketches-one of your lot, showing the deck as part of your landscaping plan, and one of your design. Use graph paper, making each square equal a given dimension (for example, each square may equal 1′ on your lot plan, or 3″ on your design) to get all the components roughly to scale. Take the sketch to your local home center or lumberyard and ask a salesperson to estimate and price the materials you’ll need.

TOOL AND MATERIAL CHECKLIST 100′ Measuring Tape 25′ Measuring Tape
Graph Paper Ruler
4′ Wood Stakes Hammer
Mason’s String

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

Building Your Deck

Once you have determined the basic design of your deck, the next step is to choose your materials. The most common choices are pressure-treated (P/T) lumber (usually Southern pine), redwood, or cedar. As a rule, pressure-treated lumber is the best choice for the substructure; the species you use for the visible parts of the deck will depend on your budget and the look you want.

The span tables in this document will help you determine how much material you need, based on the species you choose. Although there is no such thing as an “average” deck, these instructions assume that your deck is attached to the house, is no more than 6″ off the ground, and has no special load requirements. All design recommendations below are suggestions only, for estimating purposes. Always check local building codes before determining the final design.

Inside this document you will find information about:

  • Choosing Materials
  • Preparation and Layout
  • Building the Substructure
  • Decking and Railings

   
   

CHOOSING MATERIALS

  • Decking-If you choose pressure-treated lumber, you’ll have a choice between 5/4 x 6 decking (1×5-1/2 actual size) or 2″ material (typically 2×4 through 2×8, all 1-1/2″ thick). The size and species of the decking you choose will determine the spacing between your joists. Recommended spacing for common decking boards is as follows:
Decking Joist Spacing
5/4×6 PT Southern pine 16″ maximum
2 inch thick redwood, western red cedar, S-P-F, Hem-fir, Northern white cedar 24″ maximum, 16″ preferred
2-inch Southern pine 24″ maximum
  • Determining Joist Size-2x6s through 2x10s are the most common sizes used for joists. The beams that carry them are typically 4×6 through 4×10, often “built up” from doubled 2-inch lumber. Pressure-treated lumber is generally less expensive than redwood or cedar, and can be used for the substructure even when the decking and railing will be other species.
  • In most cases, you’ll want to determine the spacing between beams first, then use a joist size appropriate to that spacing. If the deck will be no more than 6′ off the ground, a common recommendation is to space the support beams no more than 12′ apart. As a rule, you’ll only need one beam along the outer edge of the deck (a ledger bolted to the house supports the other end of the deck).
Beam Spacing Joist Size (joists 16″ o.c.)
Up to 8 feet 2×6 (Southern pine, Douglas fir, Western red cedar, S-P-F, or Hem-Fir)2×8 (redwood, Northern white cedar)
8 to 10 feet 2×8 (all species listed above)
10 to 12 feet 2×8 (Southern pine, Douglas fir, Western red cedar, S-P-F, or Hem-fir)2 x 10 (redwood, Northern white cedar)
Beam Spacing Joist Size (joists 24″ o.c.)
Up to 8 feet 2×6 (Southern pine, or Douglas fir)2×8 (Western red cedar, S-P-F, Hem-Fir, redwood, or Northern white cedar)
8 to 10 feet 2×8 (all species listed above)
10 to 12 feet 2×8 (Southern pine, or Douglas fir)2×10 (Western red cedar, S-P-F, or Hem-Fir, redwood, or Northern white cedar)
  • Determining Beam Size-Since support posts are often run through the decking to serve as railing posts, the specifications below are given for posts that will be spaced no more than 6′ apart, with beams that are no more than 12′ apart. With these spacing specifications, 4×4 posts are adequate for any deck less than 6′ off the ground.
Beam Spacing (round down to nearest foot) Min. Beam Size (double 2″ material may be used in place of 4″ thickness)
Up to 6 feet 4×6 (Southern pine or Douglas fir)4×8 (Western red cedar, S-P-F, Hem-Fir, redwood, or Northern white cedar)
Up to 7 feet 4×8 (all species listed above)
Up to 9 feet 4×8 (Southern pine, Douglas fir, Western red cedar, S-P-F, or Hem-Fir)4×10 (redwood, Northern white cedar)
Up to 11 feet 4×8 (Southern pine or Douglas fir)4×10 (Western red cedar, S-P-F, Hem-Fir, redwood or Northern white cedar)
Up to 12 feet 4×10 (all species listed above)

PREPARATION AND LAYOUT

  • Preparation-First, prepare the ground under the deck by removing the sod. Slope the ground away from the house a minimum of 1″ every 15′ to provide drainage. Once the deck is finished, the ground should be covered with 6 mil. black polyethylene to keep weeds from growing.
  • Measure and mark the position of the ledger along the wall. The height of the ledger should be 1″ below the bottom of the door plus the thickness of the decking, plus the depth of the joists if you plan to set the joists on the ledger and beams rather than using joist hangers. It makes no difference which way you set the joists, as long as your layout is consistent.
  • Mount a 2×6 ledger to the wall with 1/2″ lag screws. The ledger must be level, and the lag screws should be long enough to penetrate the studs at least 3″. Use two lag screws at each end, and one at each wall stud (typically 16″ on center) in between. Install a “Z”-shaped flashing above the ledger to shed water, or space the ledger away from the wall with washers (see image).
   
   
   

  • Layout-To establish the outside perimeter of the deck, measure out from each end of the ledger about 18″ beyond the outside edge of the deck. Set up batterboards (see image) as shown, then run taut strings from each end of the ledger to the batterboards to establish the sides of the deck.
  • Run a third string between the batterboards to establish the outside edge of the deck. Square the layout by measuring the opposite diagonals, then adjusting the ledger-to-batterboard strings until both measurements are equal. Take care to maintain the correct distance between the strings.
   

BUILDING THE SUBSTRUCTURE

  • Footing and Piers (see image) – Use a plumb bob from the string to establish the location of the footings. The holes for the footings must be deeper than the maximum frost penetration in your area, and deep enough to rest on undisturbed soil. It’s a good idea to dig 6″ deeper and fill the bottom of the hole with gravel to allow drainage.
  • Mix concrete and pour the footings. To find the number of 90# bags of ready-mixed concrete you’ll need for each 12×12 footing, measure the depth of the footing in inches and divide by 8. As you finish each pour, set a precast pier on the footing so it extends about 6″ above the ground level. Use a thin cement mix to bond the piers to the footings.
  • Posts-After the concrete has set, stand the posts on the piers. Use temporary braces and a level to plumb the posts. Once the posts are set, run a mason’s line from the top of the ledger to each post and use a line level to mark it for cutting. The height of the post should be equal to the height of the ledger minus the depth of the beam that will be set on it.
   

  • Beams-Fasten post-to-beam connectors on top of the posts with nails and 1/2″x5-1/2″ hex bolts, then set the beams into the connector. Plumb and square the assembly, then secure the beams as you did the posts. If local building codes require it, install 2×6 diagonal cross braces and secure them with 1/2″x4-1/2″ lag screws (see image).
  • Joists (see first image below) – Mark the joist locations on both the beams and ledger, either 16″ or 24″ o.c., as per your design. Set the joists in place with the crowns up. If the deck is wide enough that you need two sets of joists (and if you set the joists over the beams rather than hanging them from joist hangers), splice the connections by overlapping each pair of joists at least 1′ and nailing them together with 8d galvanized nails (see second image below). Install blocking between the joists wherever required (see third image below). Blocking requirements are determined by your local building codes. Finally, nail the rim joist across the ends of the joists.
  • Stairs-Build any stairs you will need. Instructions for building outdoor stairs are covered in an accompanying brochure.
   
 
   

DECKING AND RAILINGS

  • Decking-Deck boards should be laid with the bark side up, and with both ends centered over a joist. Stagger the joints of side-by-side deck boards so they don’t line up. Notch the boards around posts or other obstructions, leaving 1/8″ space for drainage.
  • 2″-thick deck boards should be spaced approximately 1/8″; most builders set a 16d nail between the boards as they fasten them. 5/4″‘x6″ pressure-treated decking may be placed with each board flush against the next; natural shrinkage will provide the proper spacing.
  • Fasten the deck boards at each joist (see image). Use two fasteners per support point for decking up to 6″ wide, or three fasteners for wider boards. Deck screws or clips are generally better than nails, but all fasteners must be hot-dipped galvanized, aluminum, or stainless steel (see image below). If you use nails, blunt the points by tapping them with your hammer, to avoid splitting the decking.

  • Let the decking run over the edge of the structure, then saw the ends off after all boards are laid.
  • Railings-Secure the railing posts at each corner of the deck, and on each side of the stairs. Then secure the field posts, spaced equally between the corners but no farther apart than allowed by local building codes (typically 6′). Nail the sub-railings and cap rail in place, then add the balusters.
   
   
   
   
   
   
TOOL AND MATERIAL CHECKLIST
Level and Line Level Plumb Bob
Mason’s Line 2x2s and 1x4s for Batter Boards
Ready-mixed Concrete, Gravel Wheelbarrow
Shovel Concrete Piers
Structural Connectors Lag Screws, Hex Bolts w/ Nuts and Washers
Adjustable Wrench Hammer
Chalk Line Measuring Tape
8d and 16d Galvanized Common/Box Nails Screws
Lumber for Posts, Ledger, Beams and Joists Deck Boards
Railing Material Framing Square
Stain Brushes and Thinner
6 mil. Black Polyethylene  

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Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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