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.

Keep Reading

Next Up

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

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Deck?

With careful planning you can dial in the cost of building a deck to match your comfort level.

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.

Techniques for Making Butt Joints

Butt joints are easy to assemble but require additional strengthening with glue, metal plates and fasteners, special hardware or dowels.

Tips for Cleaning and Repairing a Deck

A deck requires regular maintenance to remain in good shape season after season.

Accessories for a Backyard Deck

From canopies that simply just snap into place to gadgets that'll keep you cool in summer and warm in the fall, there are many accessories available to liven up a back deck.

Tips for Applying Deck Sealer

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

Design Ideas for Deck Planter Boxes

Make your deck come alive with planter boxes for decorative shrubs, flowers and ornamentals.

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