Ready to get that new deck started before the warm weather cools? If so, there are six important factors you need to consider before starting. In the first part of this two-part blog series, we discussed building codes and regulations, design, and footings. In this blog, we’ll finish up with framing, decking materials, and guard railings.
The framing of your deck is the skeleton that supports the decking boards. It is important to use high-quality lumber and to ensure that the framing is level and square. The best lumber choice for an exterior residential deck frame is pressure-treated lumber. Pressure-treated lumber is treated with chemicals that make it resistant to rot, decay, and insects, which can extend its lifespan and reduce the need for maintenance. It is also readily available and affordable, making it a popular choice for deck framing. Many municipalities require pressure-treated lumber for wood deck frames. When choosing pressure-treated lumber for your deck frame, it is important to select lumber that is rated for ground contact. This type of lumber is treated with higher levels of preservatives and is designed to withstand exposure to moisture and soil.
Overall, pressure-treated lumber is the best choice for an exterior residential deck frame due to its durability, affordability, and availability. Other options include steel and pressure-treated engineered lumber. These options cost more but offer advantages for longevity and craftsmanship quality as well as unique design choices.
Now that you’ve chosen the right framing material, it’s time to start building. The most important framing connections for a deck structure are those that provide stability and support to the deck, as well as those that resist lateral and uplift forces.
The ledger connection is where the deck attaches to the house. It is important to use lag screws or bolts to secure the ledger to the house framing, and to ensure that the connection is properly flashed to prevent water damage. This construction detail is the most important connection to prevent collapse.
The beam-to-post connection is where the horizontal beams that support the deck attach to the vertical posts. It is important to use metal connectors or bolts to secure the beams to the posts, and to ensure that the connection is properly sized and located to support the weight of the deck.
The joist-to-beam connection is where the horizontal joists that support the deck boards attach to the beams. It is important to use metal hangers to secure the joists to the beams, and to ensure that the connection is properly sized and located to support the weight of the deck.
The post-to-footing connection is where the vertical posts that support the deck attach to the footings or piers. It is important to use metal connectors with bolts to secure the posts to the footings, and to ensure that the connection is properly sized and located to resist lateral and uplift forces.
The guardrail connection is where the vertical posts and horizontal rails that form the deck railing attach to the deck framing. It is important to use metal connectors or bolts to secure the guardrail posts to the deck framing, and to ensure that the connection is properly sized and located to resist lateral and uplift forces.
It is important to use high-quality materials and fasteners rated for exterior use with proper construction techniques when making framing connections for a deck structure. The fasteners that you choose will determine the lifespan of the connections made. It is also important to follow local building codes and regulations to ensure that the deck is safe and structurally sound.
There are a variety of materials that can be used for decking, including wood, composite, and more. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to research and choose the best option for your needs and budget.
Treated lumber is a popular choice for decking because it is affordable, readily available, and resistant to rot and insects. Treated lumber is generally less expensive than other decking materials, such as composite or hardwood. The pine lumber is treated with chemicals that make it resistant to rot, decay, and insects, which can extend its lifespan. Pressure-treated lumber is widely available at most home improvement stores and lumber yards. It’s easy to cut, drill, and fasten, making it a popular choice for DIY projects.
The chemicals used to treat lumber can be harmful to the environment and may pose health risks if not handled properly. Treated lumber requires regular maintenance, such as cleaning and sealing, to prevent warping, cracking, and fading. treated lumber has a limited lifespan compared to other decking materials, such as composite or hardwood.
Cedar decking is a popular choice for homeowners who want a natural, attractive, and durable decking material. Cedar has a warm, natural look that can enhance the appearance of any outdoor space. Cedar is naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insects, which can extend its lifespan and reduce the need for maintenance. It is a stable wood that resists warping, twisting, and cracking, which can help maintain the structural integrity of your deck.
Cedar is more expensive than some other decking materials, such as treated lumber. While cedar is naturally resistant to decay and insects, it still requires regular maintenance, such as cleaning and sealing, to prevent weathering and fading.
Cedar decking may not be as widely available as other materials, which can make it harder to find and more expensive to purchase.
Composite decking is a popular alternative to traditional wood decking, made from a combination of wood fibers and plastic. Composite decking requires very little maintenance, as it does not need to be stained, sealed, or painted like traditional wood decking. It is highly resistant to rot, decay, and insects, which can extend its lifespan and reduce the need for repairs or replacement. Many composite decking brands use recycled materials, making it an environmentally friendly choice. Composite decking comes in a variety of colors and styles and can mimic the look of natural wood without maintenance requirements.
Composite decking is generally more expensive than traditional wood decking. Composite decking can retain heat, making it uncomfortable to walk on in hot weather. Overall, composite decking can be a good choice for homeowners who want a low-maintenance, durable, and sustainable decking material.
Wood railing is a classic and traditional option for deck railing. It is typically made from pressure-treated lumber or cedar and can be stained or painted to match the deck. Wood railing provides a natural and warm look to the deck.
Aluminum railing is a popular choice for modern and contemporary deck designs. It is lightweight, durable, and low maintenance. Aluminum railing can be powder-coated in a variety of colors and styles to match the deck.
Glass railing is a sleek and modern option for deck railing. It provides an unobstructed view of the surrounding landscape and can make a small deck feel more spacious. Glass railing is typically made from tempered glass and can be framed in aluminum or stainless steel.
Cable railing is a minimalist and contemporary option for deck railing. It is typically made from stainless steel cables and can be used with wood or metal posts. Cable railing provides a sleek and unobstructed view of the surrounding landscape.
The purpose of deck railing is to provide safety and security for those using the deck. Railing helps prevent falls and provides a barrier between the deck and the surrounding landscape. Railing can also enhance the overall look and design of the deck, adding to its aesthetic appeal. The options above are not the only choices but they are the most common types of guard rails.
Building a new deck can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, but it is important to be prepared and informed before you start. By consulting with a professional who understands the building codes and regulations, deck design, foundations, framing, decking, and guard railing, you can ensure that your deck project is successful and meets your needs and budget. There are many qualified and professional deck builders in our area who can create a beautiful and functional outdoor living space that you can enjoy for years to come.
Ready to make plans for your new deck? Reach out to the experienced pros at Forsman’s Finest for assistance.