5 Tips To Building A Durable Deck Frame

If you read the title you know this blog is all about deck framing. Here are 5 tips to help you build a really durable deck that will last at least a generation or two, so let’s get started!

This frame is going to be the important foundation for your deck, it doesn’t matter what deck boards you use, if the foundation below isn’t right your deck is going to fail prematurely.

There are 3 things that kill most decks and give them a premature death:

Water!
Water!
Water!

“If it can’t dry it will die” you are going to see this theme throughout all of the following 5 tips.

Tip #1 Choose your lumber carefully.

There are a lot of different grades of pressure treated lumber out there that you can find at your local building supply store. There are also different methods of treating it.

For example using a wood that has been infused with a specific type of copper called MCA: micronized copper azul. There are a few different grades you can purchase at your local building supply store. If you look at the end tag on the lumber when purchasing, this is where you will find the details of how much copper is actually in the wood.

PCF: Pounds per cubic foot.

The more copper that has been injected into the wood is great because the copper is what is keeping the wood from rot & decay therefor keeping the wood preserved over time.

Micronized copper is less corrosive to fasteners and you would not necessarily have to go with stainless steel.

* If you are on the coast or in a saltwater environment you would of course go with stainless steel*

TIPS 2-5 are all about keeping the deck dry or making sure once the deck gets wet it is able to dry out.

TIP #2 Ledger spacing

You want to space your ledger boards off of whatever you are building the deck up against. You can use fender washers but if you are building this off of a house you actually want more of an air gap.

There are deck spacing products you can purchase online
( it looks like a hockey puck with a hole in the middle) this will give you a larger air gap

OR

You could use a cheat method which is cutting down some PVC pipe into 1inch sections and then using that as a sleeve everywhere you would be drilling into the house. Inexpensive yet effective.

TIP #3 Posts

There are 2 options for posts one of which are steel posts. When using steel you may have some rust that you would have to deal with however, the upside to this is that you would definitely not have to deal with any rotting issues.

The biggest mistake most people make is pouring a pier and putting their post right on top of that concrete pier.

What you want to do is have a concrete pier that is above grade and then use a metal post base on there so you are able to set that wood off of the ground. This way when that post does get wet, it’s going to be able to dry. This will also give a nice air gap between the post and the concrete below it.

Pro Tip: To ensure longevity you will want to use an end sealer. Let the post sit in a bucket of the sealer for as long as possible. Minimum 5 minutes but 1-2 hours is best. The end grain will soak up the sealer and keep water from absorbing into the post.

Tip #4 Joyce tape

Slightly optional depending on how much rain you may get in your area.

If you think about the fasteners for those deck boards that come down and come into the 2X8 that you would be using for the structure, that is a weak point. The worry is that overtime water is going to sit in between the deck boards and rot it out. If you do live in an area with a rainy climate you absolutely need to use a Joyce tape.

You will need to use a 4inch peel and stick to put on top of all your joyce & ledger boards. Now when you go to screw down there you will have some amount of self sealing which will reduce the amount of water that the 2X materials are going to soak up.

Tip #5 Joy spacing

Most decks that you see out there are framed on 16 inch centres & that is ideal and works great. You really don’t want to go more than 16 inches.

If you follow these 5 deck framing tips you’ll end up with a deck that will last 30,40 even 50 plus years no problem.

In fact you might change your decking boards for aesthetic purposes, but you will not have to change your framing.

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