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How to Frame a Deck And Hang Joist Hangers

Updated on October 27, 2012
A Simple Deck
A Simple Deck | Source

After you have added beams to your deck, you can begin to frame the deck. Here's how.

The instructions are moderately difficult since framing is not easy but not difficult.You will need to build a frame for the joists.In architecture, .the joists are the horizontal pieces that runs wall to wall, wall to beam, or some type of beam to beam to support ceilings, roofs, or floors.In the case of the deck described in this article, the joists will run from ledger board attached to the house to a header board on the frame of a deck.A well made frame and supporting joists will ensure the deck will carry the weight of objects such as deck furniture and grill.Most importantly, a well made deck will support the people who will stand and move around the deck.

The following tools are recommended:

Tape measure



Circular Saw

Hammer (Pneumatic nail gun will be better to use)

The type of materials you will need depending on your deck design are shown as an example.

Pressure treated wood for joists.

Nails for outdoor use.

Angle brackets (other names are framing angles and plates).See Fig. 1 as an example.

Joists hangers.See Fig 2. as an example.

Nail the angle brackets to the left and right side on the ledger. (See Fig 3). Look at your plans and measure the length of the outer joists and cut the outer joists to length.

Add the outer joists. (See Fig 4). Make sure they are touching the sheathing of the house and not the top of the ledger. The outer joists should be on top of the beams as show. Check if the angle is square. Ensure that the joists are level. Nail the angle bracket side touching the joist.

Now add the header joist. (See Fig 5). Note how it is butting on the ends of the outer joist. Check for squareness at the angles and nail angle brackets at the inside corner of the outer and header joists.

Review your plans to determine the spacing of the joists. Typical distances are 12, 16, and 24 inches. Measure where you will put the hangers from the edge of the outer joist and continue to the other end.With a graphite pencil or crayon, make the markings for where the joist should go on the ledger and on the opposite end on the header joist.

Add the joist hangers where you've marked the positions. (See Fig 6). There could be lots of nails to secure one hanger and with many hangers, it will take some time and muscle. A pneumatic nail gun will make the work easy on your body. A regular nail gun will be difficult since it is meant to be used on flat surfaces. The joist hangers have surfaces that will not be flat and there will be angles that are very tight.

Make the cuts of the joists to fit between the ledger and header joists. Mark the spacing on the header joists to match the joist spacing on the ledger.

Lay the joists on the beams and add the joists. One by one, attach them to the joists hangers on both sides with nails. Again, check for to see if each joists are level and square.(See Fig 7).

Once you have completed building the frame and installing joists, you are ready to add decking.

Fig 1.  Angle bracket example
Fig 1. Angle bracket example | Source
Fig 2. Joist hanger bracket example
Fig 2. Joist hanger bracket example | Source
Fig 3.  Angle bracket attached to ledger and outer joist
Fig 3. Angle bracket attached to ledger and outer joist | Source
Fig 4.  Outer joists attached
Fig 4. Outer joists attached | Source
Fig 5.  Header joist attached
Fig 5. Header joist attached | Source
Fig 6.  Adding joist hangers
Fig 6. Adding joist hangers | Source
Fig 7.  Adding joists
Fig 7. Adding joists | Source


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