How to Build a Deck: Part 4

The fourth video in our 5-part series covers installing your decking boards.

Choose Straight Boards

Decking is usually 2 x 4, 2 x 6 or 5/4 x 6 boards installed on wide faces. Find boards that are as straight as possible. We are using 5/4 x 6 boards for our deck. You should buy about 10 percent more decking than you estimate is necessary to allow for crooked boards and cutting waste. For diagonal patterns, you’ll want to buy about 15 percent more.

Boards vary in smoothness and appearance according to where they were cut from the tree, but in general you want to install each board so its best-looking side is visible.

Choose Fasteners

For fasteners, you can use nails or screws.  Deck screws make the strongest fasteners, but have larger, more visible heads than nails. You can get coloured screws that closely match your decking.  We’ll be using deck screws on our deck.

Allow Spacing

Start laying the full length 5/4 x 6 boards. Deck boards must have spacing between them to allow for water and debris to pass between the boards. If you’re using pressure treated lumber, you can butt the decking against each other when laying it because it will shrink slightly when it dries. If you are using cedar, redwood or composite decking, you must space them consistently apart, usually about 1/8 of an inch.

We’ve laid out the decking so the last row overhangs the headers and rim joists. Again, this adds to the overall aesthetic look of the deck. Another thing you can do to enhance the appearance is to use decking boards to hide the decking ends. Secure this board with additional screws at the end of the decking boards. Be sure to drill pilot holes first, in order to prevent splitting.

Now that we have a finished frame with decking, we need to add stairs and railings, which we’ll talk about in our next video.

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