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framing

Make sure the substructure of your deck is properly framed properly, using the correct materials, so it's safe, and lasts for years.

26. Framing a Deck Around a Pool

Framing around pools is very similar to framing around hot tubs that are set on concrete pads. Before finalizing deck plans, consult pool manufacturer’s specifications for decking. You will need to allow for specific clearances and access to any necessary equipment, etc. Set up the pool frame before constructing deck if possible.

24. Framing an Arch or Curve on Your Deck

Fantastic larged deck with curved front edge.

To frame an arch, or curve along the edge of your deck, your joists need to be long enough to cover the range of the curve. The curve itself can be laid out using a string, or light piece of lumber as a compass.

18.3 Stairs: Wrap Around Stringer Stairs

Riser/Stringer Stairs with Outside Corners

The framing for stringer stairs with outside corners is similar in every way to standard stringer stairs, except at the corner. Space stringer every 16” OC and mount them using drop blocks as described in the stair building section. When calculating corner miters, take the angle of the corner, for example a 45° corner is made up of two 22 ½ ° miters. The risers, or toe kicks, get mitered at the corners where the meet the riser coming from the opposite angle of the corner.

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18.2 Stairs: Wood Riser Stairs

Wood Riser Stairs

Exterior deck riser stairs constructed of pressure treasted wood.

Calculating Stair Rise

Use a string and string level to determine the height of the stairs.

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18.1 Stairs: Box Steps

Anatomy of a Step

Steps are made up of three main parts. The top of a step is known as the “tread”. The “riser”, also sometimes known as the “toe kick” is the front face of a stair that runs from the top of the stair below, to the bottom of the tread. Many deck stairs have no risers, having open space under the tread instead. A “stringer” is the diagonal support running along each side of stairs in traditional stair construction.

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15.7 Decking: Pattern Boards

While neat rows of decking can give a clean and simple appearance, adding some patterns to your decking can provide more visual interest, simplify installation on large decks that run more than one direction, or even help maximize deck materials to reduce cost.

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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.

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