Decking – Before You Spring into Action


windsor plywood decking

Thinking of extending your outdoor living space? Decking is a great way to achieve this and at Windsor Plywood, we can take it to a whole new level. The knowledgeable staff can help and advise you every step of the way. With all the components you’ll need under one roof, the possibilities are endless.

Planning Your Deck

Your first step should be selecting the ideal location. First consider how you will access the deck from your house. Then observe the amount of sun and shade your deck will receive during different times of day. Sometimes increasing the size or moving the location by a few feet can make a huge difference to the amount of direct sun or shade your deck will receive.
Now determine the size, try and keep the deck proportioned to your home. Keep in mind that most building materials are sold in even lengths (8’, 10’, 12’ etc.) and that longer lengths may command a premium price for some components. Also check your local building codes, deck sizes and elevations may factor into whether or not a permit is required.
Choose your decking material before you start. The dimension and type of material you select will determine the required spacing of your joists. To determine the actual dimensions of your posts, beams and joists check your local building code. You may also need a building permit.

Material Choices

decking choices

Getting Started

First prepare the ground area by removing any sod and sloping the ground away from your house. Mark the position of the ledger on your wall, normally a ledger should be 1” below the bottom of the door plus the thickness of the decking. The ledger should be level and attached to the house with lag bolts. Ensure that the lag bolts penetrate through the wall sheathing and into the studs.

Laying Out the Deck

Measure out from each end of the ledger approximately 24” past the outside edge of your deck. Drive batter boards into the ground and run tight strings from each end of the ledger to the batter boards. Run a third string between the batter boards to establish the outside edge of your deck. Now square the deck by measuring
diagonally and the moving the strings on the batter boards until the measurements are equal.

Using a plumb bob in conjunction with the layout strings establish the location of the footings or pier blocks. Place your posts on the piers and temporarily brace upright. Use a level to ensure that they are plumb.

Now run a mason line from your ledger to the post, check the level with a line level and mark the post height. The height of the post should be equal to the bottom of the ledger less your beam size and desired slope (most decks are sloped slightly away from the house to encourage water to run off).

Attach the beam to the posts with appropriate hardware and if required by local building codes install cross bracing. Mark the joist locations on the ledger and the beam, install the joist hangers and the set the joists in place. If the joists are crowned make sure to put the crown up.

Trimming the joists to correct length can wait until you are installing the decking. This allows you to trim the deck joists to the exact length required to accept the full width of the last row of decking.

Installing The Decking

Start installing the decking from the house, select a good straight board for your first course as it will be a guide for subsequent rows. When deck boards need to be joined the joint must be directly over the centre of the joist. Joints should be staggered between rows, no two joints should be adjacent to each other. Often deck boards may have bow that needs to be pulled out. This is done by forcing the bow out as you fasten from one end to the other. Boards should be spaced 1/8” – 1/4” apart, a common nail or carpenter pencil can be used as a spacer. Pilot holes will reduce the chance of splitting and should always be used when fastening the ends of a board. Boards should be laid with the heartside down. Decking can be cut to length after it has been installed. Following this technique ensures a fit between your deck material and the edge banding that gives your deck a finished appearance.

The Finishing Touches

With the decking and banding installed you can now add your railings and stairs. Many railing options exist including wood systems, or the maintenance free, prefinished aluminum and composite options shown here.

deck finish options

Optional Accessories

Download the Deck Planner now!

Deck Planner PDF
Deck Planner
Availability may vary from location to location.