my Old Workshop

Build a better deck (Part 3 of 3)

More deck tips.

When lag-bolting a ledger board (the one that holds the deck to the house), put some caulking into the hole before you drive the bolt. Use a washer, so the bolt-head won’t sink into the wood.

Whenever possible, attach joist hangars to the beams before putting the beams in place, as this can be much easier. Measure very carefully.

If you have a one-step change in level it may not be noticeable and could send your guests flying. Try to change the deck board pattern from one level to the other, so it’s clear there’s a step.

Lay deck boards with the end grain cupping down. This keeps the boards from cupping, saves stubbed toes, and prevents water pooling on your deck.

Deckboards should be about 1/8″ apart. Space them by driving a nail into the joist next to the previous board. Then position the next board, prying it into place where necessary with a chisel.

Screws are more work, but secure deck boards better. If you’re nailing, drive nails at opposing angles for a better grip. Use high quality hot-dipped galvanized nails or screws.

Before nailing at the ends of boards, drill pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting.

Don’t cut deck boards to length until after they’re nailed in place. Then, snap a chalk line, and cut them even.