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2. Attaching the Ledger Board


The ledger board is usually a 2x10. It is used to attach the deck to the house. Since the ledger board is the first component to be installed it is critical that it be positioned properly.


Since it is important that the location of the ledger board be correct be sure to consult your deck plan to get the exact position. You will also need to determine the height the finished deck is from the main floor of the house. Then it is simply a matter of measuring down from the main floor on the outside of the house. Making a series of marks and snapping a chalk line. This is the top of the ledger.

Now to position the ledger horizontally on the wall. The plans will show where to measure from to position the deck properly along the wall. Find and mark the center point of the deck on the chalk line using the measurements from the plans. Now you can mark 1/2 the width of the deck on both sides of the center point.

With both the height and width of the deck laid out on the wall the ledger board can be attached.

preparing the ledger

When you attach the ledger board remember two thing. First the ledger board must be secured to the house framing. Second, the house needs to remain weather tight.

Inspect the inside of the rim joist and stud cavities from the basement or crawl space. This way you can be sure you aren't going to hit any services.

I prefer not to remove the siding whenever possible. On wood and stucco this works well and you still maintain a water tight building envelope. However with vinyl siding you will need to remove the siding to expose the sheeting.

Measure and cut the ledger board to length. The ledger will be 3" shorter (thickness of 2 rim joists) then the overall width of the deck. This will allow the rim joists to be nailed into the ends of the ledger.

Before attaching the ledger board to the house nail on 3/8" space strips onto it every 16". These will help hold the ledger away from the siding so water can still drain away (omit for vinyl siding).

Attaching the ledger board

Position the ledger board on the marks and nail in place using some 3-1/2" framing nails. You will only need a few just to hold the board in place while you drill for the lag 3/8" bolts. Drill every 24" alternating from the upper and lower half of the ledger. Lag bolt the ledger to the wall. Be sure to tighten each lag bolt enough so the washer just starts to bit into the wood.

With the ledger board in place it is time to lay out the footings.

Next article in the series - Deck Footings »»

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