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

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56
votes
10answers
17k 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. ...
12
votes
1answer
6k views

Which is better for deck flooring: 2x6 or 1x6 deck boards?

My current deck flooring is done with 2x6x10' boards, however they have degraded to the point now where they need to be replaced. I'm wondering if there are any specific pros or cons for using the ...
12
votes
1answer
17k views

How should I clean and repaint a painted wooden deck?

My deck appears to have been painted with just a single layer of paint, which is now peeling off. I like the look of the paint (when it's in better condition, of course), and am uninterested in ...
11
votes
4answers
12k views

How do I improve Pergola Stability?

The deck is nearly finished but I have a small structural problem with the pergola. A left or right force near the top of the pergola (such a a tall person leaning on the post) leads to a bit of ...
10
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

Should I powerwash and waterseal a pressure treated deck?

Is there any maintenance that I should be doing such as yearly power-washing and water-sealing for a pressure treated deck?
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Do I need to sand my entire deck before staining?

I recently cleaned my deck using Behr deck cleaner and want to re-stain it before the winter. Do you recommend sanding the entire deck, or just the affected areas where the stain has come off? I was ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the proper steps for staining a deck?

My deck just past its 10-year mark and is starting to look quite tired. It's time to restain it. What steps do I need to take to make sure I do everything right, from start to finish?
8
votes
1answer
251 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
451 views

How should I attach a deck on the corner of my house?

I am building a deck on a part of my house where it will go up agianst two sides of the house (see picture). I know I'll have a ledger on the longer side of the deck (below the two windows) but do I ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I frame this multi-level deck?

I'm designing an addition onto my existing deck (the existing deck is not pictured below). The addition will be roughly 20' by 15', and I'm planning on making a portion of it a single step lower. ...
7
votes
2answers
819 views

How long can I wait before staining a new deck?

I just moved into a new (well, old) house. The previous owners put in a deck probably about 1 year ago. It's treated lumber, but they hadn't yet stained it. Winter is approaching quickly here in ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

What are the best practices for a low deck built half on a concrete slab?

In our current place, we moved the main access door from going into the kitchen, to entering an old laundry room converted to a mud room. In order to do so, the front door was moved over about 4', ...
6
votes
5answers
7k 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
3answers
10k views

Can I use 4x4 posts as the primary support for a deck?

I have an old cedar deck, and most of the decking and vertical support posts are rotted out. I'd like to rebuild the deck as-is, just replacing the rotting pieces. The current design is as follows: ...
6
votes
1answer
657 views

Is it OK to build a deck with OSB?

I have left over 2x4s and OSB from a project a few months back (lean-to shed). It is just enough to make a 12'x8' deck, and I was wondering if this would be "OK" to use for decking? The main purpose ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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
1answer
9k views

How can I attach a ledger board to my house?

Spring is here so I finally started to take measurements for materials I will need to build a new deck on my recently constructed home. I just realized that this isn't going to be quite so simple as I ...
6
votes
1answer
5k views

what is the best way to restore teak outdoor furniture?

What is the best way to restore outdoor teak furniture to the original or better looking color? Teak is so beautiful when it has not been weathered. But after a few years in the rain and sun, it ...
6
votes
1answer
512 views

What is a good strategy to support this deck?

I am planning a potential DIY job for a new deck that I want to put on my house. This is roughly what I think we want The house is roughly 36' long and the garage roughly 22'. The door from the ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

In a cool damp climate, should I use hardwood or synthetic decking material for a deck that will be near a large tree?

We're building a 12x24 deck in our south-facing backyard in Seattle (aka rainy Pacific NW). There's a very large willow tree in our backyard that doesn't directly hang over the deck, but certainly ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I properly paint a wood floor made of plywood?

I have built a yurt platform, which is basically a deck with 1 1/8" tongue-and-groove plywood as the decking. Usually that stuff is used as a subfloor, but in this case it's the floor itself. Call it ...
5
votes
5answers
14k views

How do I make a deck glossy?

I went to Home Depot and Sherwin Williams and I was unable to find a deck stain that looked like the shiny blondish color of the following image: At Sherwin Williams they said that their stains ...
5
votes
3answers
1k 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. ...
5
votes
4answers
12k views

Do deck coatings work as claimed?

Home improvement stores have been stocking products in the paint section that appear to put a thick coating on the deck boards, giving them the appearance of synthetic decking. They claim to offer ...
5
votes
3answers
12k views

Should I finish staining my half-stained deck with rain coming?

We were supposed to have two weeks of perfect weather conditions so I started the process of staining my deck, I cleaned it, sanded it and yesterday applied the first coat to half of it. Now the ...
5
votes
3answers
29k views

What is the process for power washing and staining a deck?

I am planning to power wash my deck and stain it afterwards. But I am not quite sure the correct procedure for this process. After power washing the deck, can I stain the deck immediately or should I ...
5
votes
3answers
409 views

How to plan for the future when installing a new roof?

We're hiring a contractor to take off the existing roof, repair/replace any rotted sheathing and rafters, and install a new roof. We've also asked that they add a new plumbing vent stack for a new ...
5
votes
3answers
406 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

How to install a proper deck ledger AFTER the fact?

We just purchased a house that has a roughly 10X20 deck on the back. It's relatively low to the ground (maybe 1-3 feet high). The house is cedar lap siding. The problem is that the deck was built ...
5
votes
1answer
385 views

How can I restore ridged decking?

My in-laws have a deck out the back of the house. They're old and the deck hasn't been maintained in 10 years or more. Many of the boards have blackened and are lethally slippery if the weather is ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a correct orientation for hurricane clips?

When installing hurricane clips to joists where it crosses a beam, is there a preference to mounting the clips on the inside or the outside of the beam? And should the ears on the clips point inward ...
5
votes
2answers
304 views

What maintenance does a cedar deck require?

We just moved into a house with a very nice 16'x16' cedar screened porch. The problem is I've never had a cedar deck and am not sure what maintenance to expect or how often to do it.
5
votes
2answers
597 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
943 views

How do I keep my corner pergola from wobbling?

I am planning to build a corner pergola over my deck. Pergola is 8ft long from the corner on either side forming a triangle on the top. I have used four 4x4 posts (8 ft) attached to the deck headers ...
5
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I vertically connect two 4x4s on a deck to build a roof?

I have a deck I am going to put a roof over. It has 4x4s for vertical supports that I need to extend upward to attach my trusses to. What is the best way to connect two vertical 4x4s?
5
votes
1answer
175 views

How do I restore this deck?

I have a deck that faces south and gets hit by the sun pretty hard, pictures here: Aside from replacing the whole thing, which I don't want to do, I'm wondering what would be a good way to ...
4
votes
3answers
649 views

Easiest way to cut, shave, or chisel bottom 8" of posts to fit footings

I got some 6x6's and deck post brackets that are similar to the picture below, except they're 8" high: Come to find out, the 6x6 is slightly too large to fit inside this bracket. Now I see how ...
4
votes
3answers
289 views

Why do decks and porches have cracks between the boards?

Is there a functional reason, like helping with rainfall or snow, or is it more of a cost issue? Are there decks that are solid pieces of bonded wood?
4
votes
2answers
11k views

How should I build the concrete footings for my deck?

I plan on making a small deck and I live in Howard County Maryland. The deck code here says that the concrete footing must be 30 in below ground level and have a thickness of at least 8 inches (i.e. ...
4
votes
1answer
849 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
77 views

How to fix a deck railing that is falling off?

I have an older deck that has a wide (approx 25 feet) unsupported span. The railing on the deck seems to be pulling outward, probably due to planters on it, and general heavy usage. The underside of ...
4
votes
2answers
339 views

How can I join vinyl decking to metal door frame?

Shoddy workmanship by a lousy contractor has left me with a vinyl deck that allows water to leak into the garage below. I identified the location of the leak - where the vinyl meets the metal frame ...
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
922 views

Does anything need to be done to prep the ground before building a low height deck?

Previously I asked about How to add on to a concrete patio? I am still considering my options and am now considering making a wood deck instead of a concrete patio. The deck would be about 14 feet by ...
4
votes
3answers
11k views

Applied stain to deck and still not dry after a week, what can I do?

I decided to restain my deck last week since it was looking pretty worn after a New England winter. The deck is only 1 year old since we bought new construction. I contacted the builder and purchased ...
4
votes
3answers
399 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Attaching a pergola (or deck) to vinyl siding

Building a structure which is attached to a house usually involves a plate which is bolted to the existing building, typically a 2x8, or 2x10. I understand how to structurally attach this, my concern ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

What type of lag bolts should I use for a deck?

I am looking at galvanized lag bolts (for the ledger) and carriage bolts (for attaching the beam to the post) for a deck. I can't find "hot-dipped galvanized" bolts/lag screws only galvanized. Is ...