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.

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