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How to Install Outdoor Decking

Updated February 21, 2017

Outside decking is typically installed once the initial frame of a deck has been completed. The deck boards that have been measured and cut to length are placed on top and then secured to the joists. Outside decking can be installed in a number of ways, including nails, screws and hidden fasteners. But before you begin securing the decking, first make sure that each board is the correct length.

Place a section of deck board over the joists and make sure it is sitting flush against the edge of the deck.

Hammer nails into the deck board, placing two nails at the location of each joist.

Set a second piece of deck board over the joists so that it is 1/8 inch away from the first deck board. The space is to allow for expansion of the wood.

Secure the deck board with nails using the hammer.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all of the deck boards have been secured.

Place a section of deck board over the joists and make sure it is sitting flush against the edge of the deck.

Place pilot holes in the deck board with a power drill. Make two pilot holes at the location of each joist and go about 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep. Insert screws into the pilot holes and secure them with the power drill.

Set the second piece of deck board over the joists so that it is 1/8 inch away from the first deck board and secure it with screws using the power drill.

Continue securing the decking to the joists until you have finished the job.

Place the initial deck board over the joists so that the grooved side is facing inward. Secure the board to the deck using a hammer and nails. Hammer each nail so it goes through the deck board and into the joist.

Insert deck fasteners into the grooves on the initial board. Make sure you place the deck fasteners so that they sit on a joist.

Drill a pilot hole into the floor joist using a power drill. Place the drill so that it is at a 45-degree angle through the fastener and the bottom edge of the deck board.

Insert a screw into the hole on each fastener and secure with the power drill. You then need to place the next board so that the groove in the board slides over the deck fasteners.

Repeat the previous four steps until all of the deck boards have been secured. You should then set the last deck board over the joists and secure it using a hammer and nails. Hammer each nail so it goes through the deck board and into the joist.

Tip

Drilling pilot holes for the screws will prevent the wood from splintering when the screws are tightened. Fill in the nail holes on the deck boards using wood putty and a putty knife when using the hidden fasteners.

Warning

If the screws are not drilled into the joists correctly, the deck boards may bow or warp over time.

Things You'll Need

  • Deck fasteners
  • Deck screws
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Power drill
  • 1/8-inch drill bit
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
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About the Author

Cameron Easey has over 15 years customer service experience, with eight of those years in the insurance industry. He has earned various designations from organizations like the Insurance Institute of America and LOMA. Easey earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from Western Michigan University.