Know Your Deck Terminology

Before getting started on a deck project, get familiar with the terminology.

Balusters — The vertical boards that attach to the handrails. Sometimes called spindles.

Beams — The horizontal boards that are attached to the post to help carry the weight.

Box Sill — In a building frame it is composed of a plate resting on the basement wall and a joist or header at the outer edge of the plate, as well as a soleplate for the studs resting either directly on the joists or on the rough flooring.

Decking — The boards that span the area over the joists and form the deck floor.

Foundation — Either a concrete pad or post installed on footers.

Furring Boards — Long thin strips of wood used to make existing surfaces support the finished surface, in this case the deck.

Handrails — The horizontal boards that provide safety.

Joists — Typically 2 x 8 boards that are installed perpendicular and between beams to help distribute weight and hold up the decking boards. Joists are usually installed 16 or 24 inches apart.

Rise — Rise is the height of the step

Run — Run is the depth of the step

Staircase Landing — Usually part of the decking plan.

Stringers — The boards that support stairs.

Support Posts — 4 x 4 or 6 x 6 posts that are installed to support the weight of the deck.

Treads — The top boards on a stair.

Next Up

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If you want to know how to build a deck that’ll give you years of satisfaction, start with prep and planning.

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Tips for Cleaning and Repairing a Deck

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Outdoor Wooden Structures: Materials for Fences and Decks

Learn about the different types of materials that can be used to build a wood fence or deck, plus get tips on basic fence construction.

Tips for Applying Deck Sealer

No matter what application method you opt to use, sealant will help prolong the life of your deck.

Ground Level Deck Designs

Ground level decks feature low levels of complexity and high levels of satisfaction.

The Different Kinds of Decking Materials

From simple to sumptuous, the decking materials you choose defines your deck — and shapes your budget.

Deck Framing Basics

Framing up your deck is one of the most satisfying parts of deck construction. Here are tips and advice to make it all go smoothly.

Floating Deck Design Ideas

A floating deck can be a money-saving design because certain building codes don’t apply.

Deck Design Ideas and Options

Here’s how to fuel your deck design fantasies — and stay on budget.

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