Deck Building – Part Deux (2)

So by now your footings have dried, and we are now ready for the second part – Framing. There are a couple of key issues that need to be dealt with first before you start building, and these are where your deck will start – at the door or or a step or more below it. My preference is for a flush walkout as this makes the transition from inside out an easier one – which is what outdoor living is all about – EASY…

So we decide where we start, now where we finish – at grade. This measurement is needed to determine the amount of stairs you need and thus the total rise (height) of each step (more about this in a later blog post).

Now that your start and stop are decided, the meat of the deck – its frame is what needs to be built. Now if your deck doesn’t need a permit, meaning its under 100 sq. ft and below 2 ft off grade, go right a head and start building. Anything larger and a permit is needed. For permit drawings, you will need to familiarize yourself with various items and all this information is available at your local city building department. In the alternate, give us a call and we will help you out. In a nutshell, the deck frame is what supports everything and load it carries must be correctly transmitted from the deck floor through the joists to the beams and posts and ultimately into the ground below it. There are 4 basic framing elements – Floor, Joist, Beam & post.

Floor – Commonly referred to as the deck, or deck floor. Decking is usually 5/4×6″ deck boards and are most commonly screwed from on top into the joists below with screws. Alternately you can upgrade to a 2×6″ floor which gives a heavier look and a bit longer life to the deck. While decking is most commonly fastened from the top with screws, many different types can be fastened from underneath or with a myriad of hidden fastening systems.

Joist – the framing element that supports the deck floor and transmits the live load of the deck through to the beam underneath. These framing elements are most commonly Pressure Treated 2×8 and are installed usually at 16″ on centre but can be as close as 12″ for increased loading or for laying your decking at a 45 degree angle. Depending on your deck size or load or height off the ground, the joist size can vary all the way up to 2×12″ as needed.

Beam – This is the element which spans the posts and that the joists rest upon. This is always a pressure treated 2×8 and is most commonly a double laminated beam or triple laminated in cases of larger spans or heavier loads. Sometimes we will use Steel Beams for really long spans or large loads.

Post – This is always a Pressure Treated 6×6 which is set into the saddle that we set into our concrete footing we poured earlier.

As a general rule – All deck framing – the Joists, the Beams and Posts are ALWAYS Pressure Treated.

See the pictures below for examples framing one storey off the ground and framing just above grade…

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