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Parts Of A Deck

Decks and patios come in a wide range of designs, shapes and sizes. And while the look of a deck may differ from one to another, the make-up of most decks remains the same.

Before you get started building your deck, you (and every do-it-yourselfer) should know the parts of a deck – what a deck is made of. Knowing this information will give you two advantages: firstly, you'll know what to ask for when you consult with a professional or retailer; secondly, you'll wow your friends with your vast knowledge of home hardware!

Decks are composed of a variety of parts. Structural parts of the deck hold and distribute the weight of the deck and therefore, should be made of durable, high quality materials. Posts, ledgers, beams, and joists should be made out of pressure-treated wood for longer life and maximum durability. This is often required by code. However, visible parts of a deck including the decking, railings, stairways, and facing can be made of cedar or redwood for a decorative touch.

    The Structural Parts of a Deck

  • Ledgers are used in order to secure a deck to a house. They support one end of all joists.


  • The weight of the deck is supported by concrete footings. These footings are formed by pouring concrete into cylindrical molds and allowing it to dry. To determine the depth of footings, follow local building codes and climate patterns. Footings are secured with metal post anchors. These post anchors are susceptible to corrosion, so they should be made of galvanized steel.


  • Posts are attached to the post anchors and help to shift the weight of the deck to the concrete footings. To avoid corrosion, they should be attached to the post anchors with galvanized nails.


  • The deck's main support system is the beams. Beams are fastened to the deck posts and are made from either 2x8s or 2x10s.


  • To support the decking, joists are used. Joists are attached at either end: one end is secured to the header joist and the other to the ledger. For a better appearance, outside joists can be covered with a decorative facing, such as cedar or redwood.


  • The highlight of any deck is the decking itself. Decking boards should be attached with galvanized screws or nails to avoid rust stains. Decking boards are secured to the joists.


  • Railing parts include balusters and posts, a horizontal rail, and a cap. Balusters and posts are attached to the header and outside joists of the deck. Deck railings are often required by building code, depending upon the height of the deck. Those decks 24" above ground may be required to have appropriate railings.


  • A stairway consists of two stringers and a number of treads attached with metal cleats to the side of the deck.