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Deck Joist Installation – Deck Building Step by Step Part 4

Deck Joist Installation – Deck Building Step by Step Part 4
This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series Building My Deck Step by Step
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Joist Installation

Getting started on the deck joist installation is quite simple when you already have a plan laid out in how the deck construction is going to be. I already know that my deck is going to have a border, what size the boards for the border is as well as how far the outer edge the border must overhang the rim joists.

cedar deck framing plan

Click for a larger Image

  • Width of the cedar decking – 5 1/2”
  • Thickness of fascia boards – ¾”
  • Overhang past the fascia – ¾”

The measurement in from the outside of the rim joist to the next edge of the next joist for my ladder is 5 ½” – ( ¾”+ ¾” ) = 4”. That gives me 1 ½” support for the ends of my decking boards with a space between the first two joists of 2 ½” which is not much space, and I do not like to put my screws that close to the ends of the deck boards because over time this is going to split the ends of my deck boards as they age. Therefore, I will make the space between the outside joist to the second joist 4” between them, which will put my end screws at a nice distance from the outer edges of each deck board.

Ladders On A Deck?

You can see this on my framing plan, which shows that I am building two ladders. There is one on each side of the deck to support my deck border that run perpendicular to the joists.

deck framing ladder for border supportThe next distance I need is for my third joist which is a 2x8x12’. These joists plus the subsequent ones are longer to make my cantilever of my deck. The measurement from the outside of the first joist to the outside edge of the third joist is 24”.  Then the distance between them is going to be a standard dimension.

Now that I know the position of the third joist from each end I can now use my framing square to mark my ledger board and my beam.  Each joist will be a standard distance apart of 16” o.c..

After marking all the positions and drawing a line down from the top mark to the bottom of the joist using the framing square I can proceed with the installation of my joist hangers.

If you are working alone

To install the joist hangers, first thing you need is a small piece of wood that is either the same width of the joist, or a piece that you have cut off the end of a joist (about 2” – 3”).

Why do you need this?

joist hanger on a deckThis small piece of wood will make it very easy to align the joist hanger the right distance from the top of the ledger board.  If you do not do this you are going to find that each joist is not precisely the same height and some will end up being lower then the ledger board and some will end up higher thus giving you a nice wavy deck. You want the top of each joist to be exactly the same height as your ledger board.

If you have a helping hand installing the joists there is an optional way to install the joist hangers. (You can read this after the next paragraph)

Your Joists Might Have A Crown

Next, check all of your joists for a crown and mark them. You want to install your joists crown up. For those who do not know what crowning is, it is the arching of a board along its length making it look like a bow. Not all boards have an arch but you want to check for it anyways.  You do this by viewing down the length of each joist to see if it is straight or otherwise.

So if you have a helper who can hold each joist in place on the ledger board then you could attach each joist with a screw before install the joist hangers. Either way works for this step.

Once my joist hangers were ready I installed the two outside joists and then the second joist on each end. I then installed small pieces of 2×6 to put between the two outside 2×8 joists to make my ladder.

After the nailing of the ladder was complete I then laid all the other joists into the joist hangers.

Installing The Rim Joists

The next two boards I installed were the two short rim joists that were 24” long onto the front of the deck. These were nailed to the ends of the first and second joist and then nailed into the side of the third joist. The distance for the rim joist to align with on the third joist is the same distance as the length of the first and second joist which was 120” or 10’.

deck rim joistNow I can cut my third piece of the rim joist to the length of 96”, which is the width of my cantilever on the front of my deck. To get the correct placement of each joist on this piece I took it over to my ledger board and marked the distances between each of the joists onto the board so I do not have to measure each. Once I had these marks, I can extend the mark along the side of the rim joist to align each end of each joist that is going to be attached to it.  Doing this made it easy to square the joist as I nailed them in place. The deck framing is getting close to being complete.

Did You Say Toe Nailing?

My next step was to screw nail the joists to my beam. I toe nailed a 3” screw into the beam from each side of each joist solid blocking cross bridgingjoist. This will help to stop any racking of the deck from side to side, and will be even stronger once the deck boards are installed.

The next very important step to your deck building is to cut your cross bridging / solid blocking.  I cut 2×8’s to fit in between each and every joist and these are installed at the midpoint of the span of the deck. My deck span is 10 feet so I installed them at 5 feet. This step will help to stiffen the deck by helping the joists to work together in distributing the load, both the live load the dead loads and also stops the joists from twisting.

Joist Framing Comes To An End

That is the end of the framing for the top level of my deck. The next piece of the deck to be built is the landing.  The landing is really just a small deck, built exactly the same way as the larger deck. Because of this deck landing framingI won’t go into detail in the building of the landing and will move straight onto the stairs and its stringers.

Series Navigation<< Posts, Beam and Ledger Board – Step by Step Deck Building Part 3 .... Deck Stair Stringers – Deck Building Step by Step Part 5 >>
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Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any woodworking or home improvement task!

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