For questions generally relating to outdoor, semi-elevated, non-enclosed structures such as decks, gazebos, pergolas, etc.

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3
votes
3answers
20k views

What is the proper way to join two beams on a post?

I'm working on a deck that will involve two 10ft wooden beams across three wooden posts. One of the posts will be in the middle of the two beams. What is the proper method for joining the beams to the ...
6
votes
3answers
417 views

Which types of decking are easiest to maintain?

I live in Portland, OR. Rainy city. I will be expanding the deck at my house and in the process, I'm thinking I might upgrade to something nicer than pressure treated doug fir. I have a cousin that ...
4
votes
3answers
435 views

Replace rotting porch treads with trex?

My front porch has some treads and the bottom riser are rotting out. I'd like to replace the surface with Trex if possible. Is it as simple as removing treads and risers and replacing with Trex ...
6
votes
5answers
8k views

Can I build a deck this low to the ground?

I want to build a deck off the back of my house. The door is near grade level, about 1' above. The grade doesn't have very large slope, so that means that the beam at the far end would be below grade: ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

How can I tell where my inground sprinkler hoses are?

I'm going to be building a deck next week in my backyard! I'm very excited for the project, but I'm concerned about one thing: digging the foundation holes. I have an inground sprinkler system, and ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Is toenailing necessary for a joist-to-ledger attachment?

Is it sufficient to rest joists on joist hangers or should you always toenail (drive screws/nails at an angle through the joist). And does the toenail have to drive into the ledger or just hold the ...
57
votes
11answers
21k views

Is there a case where nails are better than screws, from an engineering/structural standpoint?

Is there a case where nails are better than screws, from a structural standpoint? For instance: Say you used screws instead of nails on a backyard deck, when the design specifically called for nails. ...
5
votes
2answers
690 views

Sealing pressure treated deck, to be stained later on

I have just finished building a deck from pressure treated lumber. We've put the deck to use immediately and having all our meals on it. I'm worried about greasy food morsels staining the deck. My ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it normal to install (pvc) decking like hardwood flooring?

Forgive me I'm a newb. We have become the proud owners of a new deck. One of the features that we thought was great was that the boards are installed fairly snugly and diagonally nailed into joists ...
1
vote
1answer
282 views

Caulking for deck frame

To seal the seam between a doubled joist or beam, what type of caulking is best? The Home Depot Decks 123 book recommends Alex Plus (acrylic latex plus silicone) while a guy at Home Depot suggested ...
8
votes
1answer
257 views

I need to clean and reseal my dock, most sealers don't mention if they are safe to use over water

I have a wood dock over a lake. It is time to clean and seal the dock. I am planning on pressure washing the dock first, then I am planning to have a clear seal. Looking at products in Lowe's and ...
10
votes
3answers
5k views

Does decking board orientation really matter?

I've been told that decking boards should always be installed "bark side up" so that the boards crown (and shed water) as they age rather than cup (and collect water). But then I've also heard that ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I sand stamps off of lumber?

I just finished building a deck. The boards have stamps 1–2 ft from each end, and I could not bring my self to be as wasteful as to always cut them off. I tried to place the boards with the stamp ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are my deck boards of uneven width?

I bought 12-foot-long 5/4 x 6 in pressure-treated pine deck board from Home Depot. Not until I laid them down did I notice that the boards' width tapers significantly toward the ends of each board. ...
4
votes
1answer
970 views

How much weight should a deck of a given area support?

How much weight should a deck of a given area support, either according to building codes or convention? In my local (Massachusetts) building code, I found the answer for floors (40 lbs/ft2 live ...