Laying Decking Part 1 of 5
Buy decking boards that are long enough to span the width of the deck, if possible.
Buy decking boards that are long enough to span the width of the deck, if possible. If boards must be butted end-to-end, make sure to stagger the joints so they do not overlap from row to row. Predrill the ends of boards to prevent screws or nails from splitting the wood.
Install decking so that there is a 1⁄8" gap between boards to provide drainage. Boards naturally “cup” as they age. Lay boards with the bark side facing down, so that the cupped surface cannot hold standing water.
General installation instructions for decking materials are shown here. Always follow the installation methods recommended by the manufacturer of the product you select.
How to Lay Decking - Step 1
Position the first row of decking flush against the house. First decking board should be perfectly straight, and should be precut to proper length. Attach the first decking board by driving a pair of 2 1⁄2" corrosion-resistant deck screws into each joist.
How to Lay Decking - Step 2
Position remaining decking boards so that ends overhang outside joists. Space boards about 1⁄8" apart. Attach boards to each joist with a pair of 2 1⁄2" deck screws driven into each joist.
How to Lay Decking - Step 3
Alternate method: Attach decking boards with 10d galvanized common nails. Angle the nails toward each other to improve holding power.
How to Lay Decking - Step 4
If boards are bowed, use a pry bar to maneuver them into position while fastening.
How to Lay Decking - Step 5
Drill 1⁄8" pilot holes in ends of boards before attaching them to outside joists. Pilot holes prevent screws from splitting decking boards at ends.
How to Lay Decking - Step 6
After every few rows of decking are installed, measure from edge of the decking board to edge of header joist. If measurements show that the last board will not fit flush against the edge of the deck, adjust board spacing.
How to Lay Decking - Step 7
Adjust board spacing by changing the gaps -between boards by a small amount over three or four rows of boards. Very small spacing changes will not be obvious to the eye.
How to Lay Decking - Step 8
Use a chalk line to mark the edge of decking flush with the outside of deck. Cut off decking, using a circular saw. Set saw blade 1⁄8" deeper than thickness of decking so that saw will not cut side of deck. At areas where circular saw cannot reach, finish cutoff with a jigsaw or handsaw.
How to Lay Decking - Step 9
For a more attractive appearance, face the deck with redwood or cedar facing boards. Miter cut corners, and attach boards with deck screws or 8d galvanized nails.
How to Lay Decking - Step 10
Alternate facing technique: Attach facing boards so that edges of decking overhang facing.