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Fast Facts About Deck Frames, Footings & Joists

11 May 2019

Our team answers homeowner questions every weekend on WCCO 830 AM from 9:00 am-10:00 am.  Have your most pressing home improvement questions answered by calling 651-989-9226 or texting 81807.  Here’s must-know information from our in-house deck specialist, Luke Panek, shared on 5.11.19. 

Many homeowners only build a deck once or twice in a lifetime.  Because of this, there a few traps rookies fall into that cause them unnecessary stress.  First, is not allowing themselves enough time to get their project started.  Reliable contractors quickly book up months in advance.  Oftentimes homeowners are disappointed to learn that there’s a significant wait time to having a deck built and that the early bird really does get the worm.  Secondly, many homeowners falsely believe that only their deck’s flooring and railing must be replaced.  Not replacing the footings at the same time can be an unwise decision.  Over time, the framing can fall victim to dry rot.  This may not be evident until all the preexisting decking has been removed.  Although the framing has the most important function of the deck, it’s the least expensive component to replace.

Here’s Why You Should Consider Zuri® for Your Next Deck Installation: 

When building a deck, it’s also important to consider the deck joist spacing.  Part of the deck’s framing, joists are a sequence of long, horizontal pieces that act as a support system for the deck.  The outline term for joists is “on center” which is the center-to-center distance between joists.  12 inches on center is the best spacing for composite deck building because it will feel rock solid.  16 inches on center can cause a composite deck to flex.  With a wood deck, 16 inches on center feels rigid.

Deck footings are oftentimes an afterthought for homeowners, but it’s important to understand popular options available within the marketplace.  Diamond Pier® footings are good for moist soils.  They can be identified by a concrete diamond at the top with pins that are jack hammered into the ground to give a tripod like appearance.  Helical pier footings look like an ice auger that penetrates the ground.  They average a foot in diameter.   Cylindrical pier footings are the shape of a flashlight and average about a foot in diameter for the main shaft of the footing.

diamond pier
Diamond Pier® Deck Footings

In the realm of wood decking, Ipe is gaining popularity with homeowners and contractors.  This South American walnut is lauded for its hardness and density.  In terms of longevity, it lasts longer than many other wood decking materials.  To keep it looking its best, it must be regularly sanded and stained.  Aluminum and powder coated railing systems can be used in tandem with these decks in order to lessen maintenance.  Metal railings with a darker color are popular because they allow for an expanded backyard view.

Listen to the Entire Show Here: 

Browse Our Composite Deck Building Designs:


Allen’s & Deb’s Zuri® Decking Project


Adam & Staci’s Window, Siding, & Decking Project in Roberts, WI


Joy’s Blaine, MN Composite Decking Project

Browse Our Composite Deck Building Projects: