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Building a Deck
previous page Related topics
How to build exterior steps
How to build a handrail

Step 3. Fixing the bearers to the posts
Trim the top of the posts to the required height which will be 100mm (4") (thickness of bearer) below the underside of the joists. Mark the underside of the joist height on the building in relation to the stringer and use a straight edge and level or water-level to obtain the required height of the posts.
Sit the bearer on top of the posts and make sure any necessary join will be over a post.
Fix the bearer to each post with two nails angled from each face. Use 100mm (4") galvanized nails.
Let the two ends of the bearer overhang the edge of the deck line at this stage. They will be cut later.

Step 4. Fixing the joists
Fix the first joist to or on one end of the stringer depending on your choice of fixing. See diagram below.

deck stringer

METHOD 1: Sit a joist on one end of the stringer leaving a gap between the end of the joist and the wall of the building. Fix the joist to the stringer with two nails angled from each face. Use 100mm (4") galvanized nails. It is a good idea to drill the nail holes first to minimize the risk of splitting the end of the joist.
The other end of the joist will be sitting on the bearer, but do not nail yet until the joist is at right angles (90 degrees) to the house.

METHOD 2: Butt one end of a joist to one end of stringer so the top of the joist is flush (even) with the top of the stringer. Nail in place. Attach a joist hanger (a metal bracket with nail holes in it that fits around the end of the joist and against the stringer) and nail with the appropriate nails to the joist and the stringer.
The other end of the joist will be sitting on the bearer, but do not nail yet until the joist is at right angles (90 degrees) to the house.

Ensure the joist is at right angles (90 degrees) to the building before nailing to the bearer. This can be done by using the 3,4,5,method.
Measure along the outside of the joist 1500mm (60") from the building, mark (A).
Measure along the building 2000mm (80"), mark (B).
When the measurement from mark (A) to mark (B) is 2500mm (100"), then the first joist is at right angles to the building. See diagram below.
Make any necessary adjustment to the joist in the way of sliding the end of the joist either way along the bearer until square and then fix the joist to the bearer with two nails angled from each face. Use 100mm (4") galvanized nails.
make the deck square
Fix the rest of the joists in place parallel to the first.
Space the joists at 450mm crs (18" O.C.). (crs/O.C. means the distance from the center of one joist to the center of the next joist.)
All joists should be slightly longer than required at this stage and will be trimmed off later.
NOTE: Joists can be spaced further apart depending on the size of the decking boards.

Step 5. Laying the deck
Start laying the deck from the building side out, making sure there is a gap between the first deck board and the building so moisture does not become entrapped. Any necessary joins should be made on joists and staggered between rows (no two joins should be next to each other). Continue laying and fixing the deck boards using a 5mm (3/16") spacer to obtain an even gap between them. Check deck boards are straight and parallel to the building.
Let the decking overhang both end joists while laying, and then trim them flush with the outside of the end joists.

For an alternative method of laying a straight deck click here. An ideal method for long decks.

Step 6. Fixing the boundary joists
Cut the joist ends vertical and flush with the outside edge of the last decking board.
Nail the boundary joist around the perimeter of the deck making sure the top of the boundary joist is flush with the top of the decking. See diagram below.

deck boundary joist
Miter (angle) cut all exterior corners. Have fun :)


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