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  • Writer's pictureJessica Foster

Important Parts of Deck Building

When it comes to renovation, the concept of expanding the home’s living space has become more popularized in the recent decades. Since then, decks have become a recurring trend in construction projects, adding more living space to a project. They’re a great addition, but have multiple different parts and regulations that must be considered during their construction.

An important part of the deck is the ledger, as it is a horizontal lumber piece that connects the deck to the building. The International Residential Code calls for ledgers to be a minimum 2x8 quality lumber. Screws in ledgers must be staggered from top to bottom of the ledger in accordance to IRC guidelines. Building the framing of a deck has changed over the years. An old method was to attach a beam to the side of a post, but a new method calls for notching the post and setting the beam on the notch. Aside from how the framing is made, the IRC also has regulations regarding railings. If a deck is 30 inches above grade, it must have a railing. Additionally, stairs with more than 3 risers must have a hand-railing. These are minimum standards.

With wooden decks, there are two things to look out for in the lumber: the “smile” of the deck boards themselves and their “crown”. A cross section of wood will have natural rings, often referred to as the wood grain curve. The direction of this curve can be described as smile up or smile down depending on how the wood is placed, and this distinction is important. Wooden boards naturally curl and curve over time, and if a board is placed smile down it will curl to hold water. Meanwhile, wooden boards placed smile up will curve in a way that will drop water off of it. Boards should always be placed smile up so that decks will drop off water instead of retaining it.

Wood pieces as a whole typically have a natural curve. When looking down the long side of lumber, there will be a natural curve. Much like how wood must be placed smile up, wooden pieces should be placed so that the arch is facing up. As it is met with weight, the arch will flatten out. If wood is placed with its arch down, added weight will just worsen the arch. So, the term crowning lumber refers to when wood is placed with the arch up, so that everything will flatten nicely.

Decks can be a great addition to any remodeling project, but they’re also quite a complex project themselves. Here at Fine Remodeling, we are your Delaware contractor dedicated to making sure that your deck project is treated with care and professionalism. Call to review your next project with us so you can be sure it’s done right the first time.

E-mail and/or call 302-635-0375 to have a specific discussion about your dream project. It's our duty to help guide you as best we can.

Invest in your happiness; remodel your home.

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1 Comment

Unknown member
Jul 26, 2020

One thing that many designers neglect when it comes to deck is corrosion and compatability of materials. For example pressure treated wood has chemicals that cause rapid corrosion of steel. When using hangers or other connectors on PT lumber always advised to go stainless steel or at least hot dipped galvanized.

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