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7. Installing the decking


the first board

The first deck board sets the path for the remainder of the deck. Start with the board closest to the house.

Position the board tight to the house and measure from the board to the outside of the header joist. Adjust the first deck board so it is parallel with the header joist. You also want the first deck board to be about an 1/8" away from the siding so water can still drain away.

Secure the first deck board to every joist with two 2-1/2" deck screws. Pre-drill holes for the screws at the end of the boards to avoid splitting.

Continue to lay the rest of the decking being careful to stagger the joints between boards. Rather then cut the ends of the boards to length let them run out over the edge of the deck. They will be trimmed to length later.

It is important to space the boards about an 1/8" apart. Tap a framing nail into 3 or 4 of the joists against the edge of the last deck board. When the next board is installed the nails will provide the space needed. Like the first board use two 2-1/2" deck screws to secure the boards to the joists.

The last board

Ideally the last deck board should be a full piece. This is usually not the case though. When we installed the first board we made certain that it was parallel with the header joist. This means the last board will be a consistent width.

It is a good idea to measure the distance between the header joist and the deck boards as you go. This way you can correct any variations before getting to the last board. Install the last board like all the others.

Trimming off the decking is the final step. Snap a chalk line on the deck flush with the outside of the joists. Trim the decking flush with your circular saw.

This completes the deck framing. Now it is time to build stairs and install a railing.

Next article in the series - Building Stairs »»

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