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Final Step: Placing the Decking Boards

Placing the decking boards is the last step in building a deck. You always go from the outside in so that if a board needs to be cut smaller it will be at the end of the deck, or against the wall as in this case.

Here are a few things you need to know before placing the boards on the deck:

  1. There are two different types of wood at the store. Standard and Premium. You are getting what you pay for when you buy premium. Premium is easier to work with and you will wrestle with them a lot less to keep them straight. I will always use Premium unless the customer demands it.

  2. A fine carpenter will tell you to place the board with the curved grain down, but in reality, you will choose the better side of the board and have that side face up.

  3. Because of the small trees they come from, some boards will not dry out the way they are supposed to and will curl. So in this case, I will flip the board because it will curl opposite the grain pattern.

You may have to cut around posts and I will show you how to cut your boards around the post. A regular post size is supposed to be 3 1/2 inches wide but it is more like 3 9/16 or 3 5/8 inches. You want to give yourself a little space around the board. You don't want to make it too tight around the post because there is a chance you will knock off the end of your board and you don't want to do that.

I am going to go ahead and use my speed square and make my marks at 3 and 5/8. This is just a sample board; I am not cutting for a post right at the moment.

I will use a circular saw because I find that it cuts it a lot faster and more accurately. Jigsaws have a tendency to become bowed after having been used for a while. The cut will have a little bow to it unless you allow for it. I use the circular saw because it is a straight up-and-down cut. Just place the bottom of the saw all the way down so that you have a good angle. I'm going to cut on the inside of my mark.

Then I will grab the jigsaw and I'm going to cut all the way to the end of the mark, curve it, then come back. I will clean up the cut afterward with my jigsaw.

After nailing the boards into the joists, cut the boards evenly on the end.

That's it for placing the decking boards. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to bring them to me.

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