Deck Framing Materials
Pressure-treated lumber is the popular choice, but steel framing is worth considering.
The types of available framing lumber depend on your location. In the west, treated lumber is Douglas fir that has been incised to allow the chemical preservative to penetrate the wood. In the east, unincised treated yellow pine is prevalent. The uniformity of both kinds of framing lumber can be very inconsistent and understandably so. The pressure-treating process dramatically changes the wood’s moisture percentage, which causes the boards to warp and twist. Not only will your lumber show up on the job warped, but it will also deflect once installed, as the moisture content acclimates to the environment.
Incised pressure-treated wood (right) is darker and typically used in the western United States. Unincised yellow pine is common to the eastern United States.
To combat this continual wood movement, try to keep the lumber neatly stacked and out of the sun until it’s installed. Once installed, don’t leave the ends of posts or joists running wild for any length of time; otherwise, by the time you get around to attaching the other framing, the ends you left loose may be twisted out of alignment. Always wear gloves when handling pressure-treated lumber as the chemicals are toxic and any splinter you get will fester.
Keep pressure-treated wood stacked with bands intact to retain the shape until time of use.
Wear gloves when handling pressure-treated lumber because the chemicals are toxic. Splinters can turn nasty.
It’s recommended that you use dimensional lumber that is the full beam width rather than ganging together 2x material. Water collecting in the space between the boards could cause rot.
After you frame a deck, you might want to hide the framing. This lattice is a common item on home-store shelves and does a nice job of dressing up the deck framing on this project.