Installing or replacing decking is a relatively simple process that many handy homeowners can do themselves.
Today, we are sharing 10 tips on decking framing for DIY projects. In a future post we will share 10 more tips on decking materials so watch for that blog! Not subscribed to the blog yet? Sign up now so you don’t miss it!
A beautiful hardwood deck is the focal point of any house. It’s a place to relax, entertain, and spend time with friends and family so you want to do it right. Though it’s not complex, there a few tricks that can make the install of a replacement hardwood decking go smoothly, look professional, and cleanly done when completed. So, if you are opting for a DIY decking project you can save time and money by following these tips from our pros at Mataverde Decking.
Before we can talk about the decking itself, let’s look at the framing. Building codes have become more stringent over the years when it comes to deck installation and for good reason. We’ve all have seen the news stories of collapsed decks and they aren’t pretty. If you are replacing a deck and know it was installed by a reputable contractor and inspected, then you’re probably good to go.
If you are remodeling an older deck or are unsure of who built it and how it was framed, you want to start off on the right foot. Either way, checking for these common issues first will give you the best finished project in the end.
The places these issues will show up is in the reveal (how far the boards overhang) around the deck and in the lines between the boards. Inconsistent reveals, curved or wobbly lines look sloppy and unprofessional but, with a little effort, are easy enough to avoid.
1. Is the deck attached to the house with lag bolts or acceptable substitutes? If it is only attached with nails, which used to be common practice, this need to be rectified.
2. Are the joists properly supported by either a carrying beam or joist hangers? This is another element that was frequently omitted from older decks and a cause of deck failure.
3. Are the posts sitting on and attached to concrete footings? Burying a post in the ground is not acceptable. First, it is not properly supported. Second, even pressure treated wood will rot when buried.
4. Use your best judgement. Does everything look okay when eyeballed? This is a bit subjective, but if your joists are rotted or pulling away from the other framing, beware. Likewise, if the deck has a list, sag or feels bouncy, there’s probably a reason for it.
5. If you’re not sure about anything you are looking at, call a professional contractor. Better safe than sorry.
6. And of course, always check with your local building department for the latest building codes and requirements.
Once you have determined the structure is sound, it’s worth taking the time to pull some measurements and check the deck frame for square and straightness:
7. Start by ‘eyeballing’ down the outside framing members. Are they reasonably straight? Or are they curved or S-shaped?
8. Measure off the house at several points to the outside of the framing.
9. On a square or rectangular deck, measure diagonally from corner to corner, being sure to pull from the same spot on both sides. If these numbers are not the same, it means the deck is not square.
10. If you do find a problem in the structure, the bad news is there’s little that can be done to fix serious issues short of ‘invasive surgery’ (demolition and re-build). The good news is knowing that a problem exists allows you a chance to accommodate for it. Most corrections and rebuild areas can be incorporated with a little planning.
Stay tuned for our follow up blog on decking materials and helpful decking tips for DIY projects. Until then, find more DIY decking ideas in our inspiring and beautiful Mataverde Decking projects gallery, and download your copy of our complete 2020 Ultimate Guide To Decking.