Designing Decks

To make a deck look and function well there must be some planning done before you start building.

Location of the deck is very important.
Are you trying to use this deck for multi purpose or a single event place?
Example: Do the kids play in the back yard and you use the deck as an outpost watching the kids?
Or do you sun bath on the deck and need a little more privacy?
Do you like or hate the summer heat?

Is the deck next to the driveway, and all your friends migrate to the deck. Or is it a private getaway four the 2 of you.

After answering these questions you will see an Idea immerges as to the kind of deck you are looking for.

An other example; If your a party animal your going to want to barbeque on the deck with extra seating as well as a lot of accent lighting around the deck to call the bugs away from the guest with see through rails to the other parts of the yard. Installing steps or a stairway to get to the lower yard helps cut down on traffic thought the house.

Where if it is just for the 2 of you your going to want it a little smaller size deck with romantic accent lights and no steps to the ground and may be a more defused viewing area though the railing system.

The materials for decks have changed and some not to the better.

A couple of years ago the government changed the requirement for treated lumber as a result we have a different type of treatment in the lumber today.

The result of that is any standard framing wood touching treated will start rotting on contact.

To solve the problem the code is requiring a barrier between the treated and any framing lumber.

Another problem also has surfaced galvanized metal and the treated lumber is also reacting to each other, they say having the nails double dipped in galvanization will solve the nail problem, to solve the joist hangs you must put a barrier between the treated lumber and the hanger on all surfaces.

Minnesota Law is requiring a air space of 1 1/2” between the rim joist board that bolts on to the house there recommendation is to put 12-16 washers on each lag bolt as spacers to keep the treated rim from touching the wall framing.

The problem with that is a 16’ long board has 12 bolts sticking out with 144-192 washers hanging on this bolts and your trying to attach them all at once. Not happening.

Instead use 1 1/2” Galvanized steel square tubing the height of the rim joist tack it on to the rim, this will be much easier to install and provide a wider surface contact with the wall framing.

Now it time to install your decking remember your treated boards will rot wood if you are using cedar, cypress, or redwood, IPS use must put a barrier down over the top of the joists before you lay the decking.

Trex decking and other types of composite decking have different requirements for example Trex’s needs the joists spaced 12” on center, and you must space the deck board1/4” apart because the Trex board over time swell over 1/8”.

Cedar, Cypress, or Redwood, IPS board need to be sealed with a sealer or a solid color stain to keep them looking go and to keep them from weathering and firing up.

IPS (iron wood) boards are great. They come from South America, and are very strong, in the 1900 they used to make ship bottoms with this type of wood.