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COLUMNS & POSTS, DEFECTS
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DECK & PORCH CONSTRUCTION
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DEFINITIONS of ENGINEERED WOOD OSB LVL etc
DISASTER BUILDING INSPECTION & REPAIR
EARTHQUAKE DAMAGED FOUNDATIONS
FIRE DAMAGE vs MOLD DAMAGE
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FOOTING & FOUNDATION DRAINS
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FRAMING DAMAGE, INSPECTION, REPAIR
GRADING, DRAINAGE & SITE WORK
HOUSE PARTS, DEFINITIONS
INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE
KIT HOMES, Aladdin, Sears, Wards, Others
LOG HOME GUIDE
MOBILE HOMES, DOUBLEWIDES, TRAILERS
MODULAR HOME CONSTRUCTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
PORCH CONSTRUCTION & SCREENING
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RETAINING WALL DESIGNS, TYPES, DAMAGE
ROT, FUNGUS, INSECT DAMAGE
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION
STRESS SKIN INSULATED PANELS
STRUCTURAL WOOD ASSESSMENT
TIMBER FRAMING, ROT
TRUSSES, Floor & Roof
WATER ENTRY in BUILDINGS
How much to space deck floor boards: this article explains proper gap size to leave between deck boards for drainage and drying, and extra steps to take to protect deck joists from rot. We include a description of tightly-butted tongue-and-groove pressure treated deck boards as well as typical 5/4" thick pressure treated deck boards that should be spaced for drainage..
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This article series discuss best porch & deck construction practices, including choice of framing materials, decking or flooring choices & installation, how to select and use deck and porch structural and flooring fasteners, actual deck & porch framing construction details & connections, deck joist & beam span tables, how to build leak-proof rooftop decks, construction of covered & screened porches, deck & porch railing construction & materials, choices of finishes and stains for decks & porches, and past & current deck lumber preservative treatments with related health & environmental concerns. This article series includes excerpts or adaptations from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss, courtesy of Wiley & Sons. Also see our review of that book.
When Lon Church constructed this outdoor stage for the Summerblue Arts Camp (Two Harbors MN), we knew that the structure would have to endure severe winters and strong summer sun without the protection of a roof. And because the surface is used as a performing stage, we used 5/4 tongue and groove treated wood for the surface - no gaps for drainage.
Sloping a solid deck floor to achieve drainage
To compensate for the drainage worry, we made sure to slope the stage (from back towards the front or audience side) - and the stage pitch became a theatrical feature. Here is a photo of the stage in use., courtesy Lon Church, Summerblue Arts Program. Steps that were taken to avoid ice lensing and post movement for this structure are described at Ice Lenses, Frost Heaves vs. Frozen Soil Pressure.
Use gaps between deck boards to achieve drainage
But most decks need and can achieve spacing between the deck boards for drainage.
As discussed in Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction:
Watch out: don't leave wider gaps between still-wet treated lumber deck or porch boards during construction or you may find that as the wood dries, excessive deck board gaps can form a trip hazard, especially for people wearing high heeled shoes.
Protecting the Deck or Porch Joists from Leaves, Rot
This can be achieved by laying strips of felt paper or self-adhesive membrane (one approved for UV exposure) over the tops of each joist prior to laying the decking boards.
Photo (left) courtesy of Mark Morsching, Everflashing, shows an Everflashing stainless-steel flashing product installed over the deck ledger. Additional metal flashing is in use to protect the deck joist top from rot. Additional details about deck flashing and more deck flashing images are at Deck Flashing at Building.
To avoid deck joist top rot Morshing applies peel-and-stick flashing membrane material to joists and ledgers during deck construction.
Another proprietary product for this application, Vycor Deck Protector™, is available from Grace Construction Products. Membranes such as Vycor Deck Protector can also be used as a barrier between pressure-treated joists and joist hangers, flashings, or other metal hardware to reduce corrosion.
-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.
Deck & Porch Resources, Products, Manufacturers: Where to Buy
See Deck & Porch Products, Manufacturers for our complete/updated listings of manufacturers of porch & deck products, materials, coatings, fasteners, lumber, tools.
Composite Decking System Suppliers
Certainteed Corp. www.certainteed.com Boardwalk solid composite decking with hidden fasteners and optional railing system
Composite Building Products International www.xtendex.com Xtendex hollow composite decking system with optional railing
Correct Building Products www.correctdeck.com Solid composite decking with hidden fasteners and optional railing system
Fiber Composites www.fibercomposites.com Fiberon solid composite decking and optional railing system
Kadant Composites www.geodeck.com Geodeck hollow composite decking and railing system
Kroy Building Products www.kroybp.com Timberlast solid composite decking with optional hidden fastening system
Louisiana-Pacific Corp www.weatherbest.lpcorp.com. WeatherBest solid composite decking, railings, and accessories
Nexwood Industries Limited www.nexwood.com Hollow composite decking and railing systems
Tendura www.tendura.com TenduraPlank solid tongue-and-groove composite flooring for porches; natural finish or primed for painting
Thermal Industries www.thermalindustries.com Dream Composite solid tongue-and-groove composite decking system with optional vinyl railings
TimberTech Limited www.timbertech.com Floorizon hollow composite decking system, solid composite decking planks, and optional railing system
Trex Company www.trex.com Solid composite decking
Weyerhaeuser Building Products www.choicedek.com ChoiceDeck solid composite lumber and optional railings
Plastic Decking Systems
Kroy Building Products www.kroybp.com Classic Manor embossed vinyl decking with clip system
L.B. Plastics www.lbplastics.com Sheerline interlocking vinyl decking system and deck cladding systems
Renew Plastics www.renewplastics.com Solid recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic decking with embossed wood-grain texture
Royal Crown Limited www.royalcrownltd.com Brock Deck and Deck Lok interlocking vinyl decking systems
Thermal Industries www.thermalindustries.com Dream Deck interlocking vinyl decking and railing system
U.S. Plastic Lumber Corp www.carefreexteriors.com Carefree Xteriors recycled plastic HDPE decking with embossed wood grain and optional railings
Metal Decking Systems
FSI Home Products Division www.lockdry.com. LockDry aluminum decking and railing system
Prefabricated Deck & Porch Railing Systems
Avcon Structural Railing Systems www.avconrail.com Thermoplastic and aluminum railings
CertainTeed www.certainteed.com EverNew PVC railing system
Global Dec-K-Ing Systems www.globaldecking.com DEC-K-ING aluminum railing system
DecKorators Inc. www.deckrail.com Decorative aluminum balusters and connectors for wooden railing systems. Also, tempered-glass balusters
Duradek www.duradek.com Durarail powder-coated aluminum railing system and walk-on vinyl decking membrane.
FSI Home Products Division www.railingworks.com Aluminum railing systems
Fypon www.fypon.com Polyurethane railing systems in classic architectural styles
HB&G www.hbgcolumns.net PermaPorch cellular-polyvinyl chloride (PVC) railings and posts reinforced with wood or aluminum; cellular-PVC or aluminum balusters Kroy Building Products www.kroybp.com Classic Manor PVC-railing system
L.B. Plastics www.lbplastics.com Sheerline PVC-railing systems and PVC- post cladding
Royal Crown Limited www.royalcrownltd.com PVC railing system with steel reinforcing
Shakespeare Composites Structures www.armor-rail.com Armor-Rail structural fiberglass (FRP) railing system with turned balusters
Thermal Industries www.thermalindustries.com Dream Rail PVC-railing system with optional tempered glass balusters
U.S. Plastic Lumber Corp. www.carefreexteriors.com Recycled HDPE railing system
Hidden Deck Fastener Suppliers
BEN Manufacturing www.premier1.net/~ben69 Dec-Klips fit between deck planks with prongs into edges; nailed into top of joists; electrogalvanized steel
Blue Heron Enterprises www.ebty.com Eb-Ty UV-resistant polypropylene biscuit fits into slots in edge of decking, screws into top of joist Grabber Construction Products www.deckmaster.com Deckmaster angle bracket screws to side of joist and up into decking; available in galvanized or stainless steel
Simpson Strong-Tie www.strongtie.com DBTC deck ties screw down to top of joist with prongs into edges of decking planks; triple-zinc-coated or stainless steel by special order; disposable plastic driving tool
Spotnails www.spotnails.com Tebo stainless-steel fasteners fit between decking boards with prongs into edges of decking; installed with mallet and proprietary tool
TY-LAN Enterprises Inc. www.shadoetrack.com Shadoe Track angle bracket nailed along top of joist and screws up into bottom of deck boards; available in galvanized, powder-coated, and stainless steel
USP Lumber Connectors www.uspconnectors.com Deck Clip screws into edge of one decking board and locks to next board; requires toenailing one edge of each board
Screen Systems for Porches
One BetterWay www.screentight.com Screen-Tight vinyl porch screening system screws to exterior of porch framing; snap-on facings conceal screws and screen splines; available in white, beige, gray, and brown
Sources of Deck Finishes, Stains, Preservative Coatings
Amteco www.mfgsealants.com/amteco.htm Sealers, preservatives, and deck stains
Cabot www.cabotstain.com Clear sealers and deck stains
Cuprinol, a division of Sherwin Williams www.cuprinol.com Sealers, preservatives, and deck stains
The Flood Company www.floodco.com Clear sealers and deck stains
Penofin www.penofin.com Lightly tinted oil-based sealers and stains
Olympic, PPG Architectural Finishes www.olympic.com Clear sealers and deck stains
Wolman Wood Care Products, division of Zinsser Co. www.wolman.com Wolman sealers and deck stains and DAP Woodlife clear sealers
Deck & Porch Industry Associations
American Wood Preservers Association (AWPI) www.awpa.com
California Redwood Association www.calredwood.org
Deck Industry Association www.deckindustry.org
Forest Stewardship Council www.fscus.org Information on certified tropical hardwoods
Rainforest Alliance, Smartwood Program www.rainforest-alliance.org Information on certified tropical hardwoods
Southern Forest Products Association www.sfpa.org
Southern Pine Council www.southernpine.com
Western Wood Products Association www.wwpa.org
Western Wood Preservers Institute www.wwpinstitute.org
-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.
see Codes for Stairs for details about stair building codes and specifications.
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Technical Reviewers & References
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