Smart Deck-Framing Strategies
Ledger brackets, flexible flashing, and a joist-hanger jig are a few field-tested tricks for overcoming construction challenges.
Synopsis: Fine Homebuilding contributing editor Mike Guertin loves building decks. Here, he shares his expertise and some lessons he’s learned over the years in a series of challenges and strategies for building the best deck possible. Among the lessons Guertin shares are the use of brackets to separate the ledger from the house; the proper installation of flashing to isolate galvanized joist hangers; the need to set up a straight rim beam on temporary supports; the time-saving importance of using a joist-hanger jig; the need to install deck posts in the right place; and finally, the proper way to work safely if you’re building a deck that’s not at ground level. This article includes a sidebar on using footing forms.
I love building decks. If I had to pick one part of the house that I enjoy building the most, it’s the deck. There’s no rush to dry it in so that other subs can work, it’s a straightforward outdoor project, and we’re heroes when the job is finished. Lately, my decks have been getting better as I find better ways to use new products and techniques that extend the life of the deck and its host structure.
Design a layout that’s strong and relatively simple
There are numerous ways to design and frame a deck structure, which typically consists of the footings, the posts, the beams, the ledger, and the joists. I like to use framing layouts that suit the deck design and simplify the framing as much as possible. This project consisted of a 900-sq.-ft. wraparound deck that began 8 ft. above the walkout portion of a finished basement and patio, and ended at grade level at the back door.
Instead of building a deck frame cantilevered over a carrying…