Framing a Deck on Grade

After setting a carrying beam into the ground, Archadeck of Suburban Boston carpenter Eric Roberts frames the deck joist assembly.

Beam in Place

Carpenter Eric Roberts rakes the grade smooth as he prepares to set joists for the deck. The joists, like the buried beam, were framed with lumber treated to ground-contact levels, as specified by the wood treating industry standard.

Trimming Patio Pavers

Because the joist at the edge of the deck would run above the edge of the patio, the beam to carry that joist needed to be inset into the patio itself. Here, Roberts cuts a paver to fit around the beam.

Cutting a Paver

Roberts cuts a paver to fit around the beam end.

Jigsaw Puzzle

Roberts fits a cut paver around the end of the grade beam. The beam will not show when the deck is completed.

Joist in Position

A view of the deck framing at the point of intersection between the patio and the deck.

Starting to Frame

Deck joists in position along the ledger at the house wall during framing.

Overlapping the Patio

This joist had to be ripped to a slightly narrower width at the point where the deck's curved front edge would pass above the patio pavers.

Connecting to the House

Roberts pins the joists in place at the ledger board with pneumatic nails (left), then reinforces the connection with galvanized Simpson joist hangers (right).

Passing Over the Beam

A view of the joist resting on the buried beam at the lower side of the home's graded back lawn. This edge of the deck has a slight drop-off. A bench will be placed along this side of the deck, combining seating with a safety function.

Structural Connections

Roberts drives a LedgerLok structural screw through the deck's end joist and into the ledger and the house band joist.

Creating a Flat Plane

Roberts snaps a line across the joist system as he begins the process of pulling the joists into plane and stiffening the deck with blocking.

The "Roberts Ridge"

Carpenter Eric Roberts begins to apply a straightening method he devised, employing a strongback to pull the joists into plane before reinforcing the frame with solid bridging.

Squaring the Frame

Using a 3-4-5 diagonal measurement, Roberts squares the end of the deck to the house before locking the deck joists into position.

Setting the Joist Spacing

Roberts lays out the deck joist spacing along the strongback.

Flattening the Frame

Given the variations in lumber straightness, joist heights can vary by a quarter to a half inch. Here, Roberts pulls the top edges of the joists into alignment by screwing into the joist through the strongback with LedgerLok structural screws.

"Roberts Ridge" in Position

With the strongback screwed to each joist, the deck has become much closer to perfect flatness.

Installing Solid Bridging

Roberts lays out the joists for blocking (left), then cuts blocks to fit and attaches them with Lok structural screws (right).

Bridging in Place

A view of the deck frame showing the temporary strongback still in place, and staggered solid bridging installed.

Join the Discussion

Please read our Content Guidelines before posting

Close X