Dunn Lumber Deck Decking Showrooms

Note: West Coast Decks, referenced in this article, closed in 2022.

Dunn Lumber partnered with professional deck builder Ron Spillers, from West Coast Decks, and created a series of videos that cover a series of decking questions. 

In this post, Ron covers how to finish a decking project. For more in this series, click here.

Deck Surface

There are several ways to attach the decking to the framework. You can use face screws, which are color-coordinated to match the color of your decking. They are also set slightly below the surface of the board. (This allows for expansion and contraction.) They shouldn't be too deep, but they also shouldn't stick out of the deck. Though not necessary, we recommend pre-drilling all of your screws. An advantage of using face screws is if you damage a decking board you can easily remove the face screws and replace the board with a new one. Using double-threaded screws ensures a nice clean finish.

Another option for securing your decking to the framework is a hidden fastener system, this generally incorporates a clip that slides into a groove on the side of the board.

You can use divider boards, or spleen boards, which allow you to use full boards on either side of the divider board so you can avoid what is called butt joints—where two boards come together. This adds a finished look to your deck.

Deck Railings

The rail posts are really the heart and soul of the rail. It's important to consider spacing between posts and how the posts will be attached to the deck.

The further apart your rail posts are, the weaker the railing becomes for lateral load, or sideways push. Code requires a rail to stand 200 pounds per square foot (lateral load.) To achieve that, there needs to be no more than a 6-foot distance between posts.

There are many choices when it comes to guard rails. When choosing your guard rails, keep in mind that code requires rails to be at least 36 inches tall from the top of the decking surface.

We used a powder-coated aluminum rail, also called a top-mount rail. This means it mounts on top of the decking surface.

Wood rails are very popular; they mount down inside the framework. (They're called inside mount rails.)

Fascia mount rail is one that mounts on the outside of the deck. Fascia will give you little bit more room on the deck, but is generally more expensive. You can do fascia mount rail with either wood or metal rail.

Your final choice is a composite rail system. Composite rails generally incorporate a wood post that's mounted inside the framework and has a composite post sleeve over the top.

Deck Stairs

It's important to know the rules and regulations when it comes to stairs. But, let's start with definitions: The area where you put your feet is called the treads, and the vertical portion of the stairs is called a riser.

The risers can not exceed 7¾" high. They can be less than that but you can't be higher than that.

All your risers need to be within ⅛" of the same distance.

Finally, the depth of the tread has to be at least 11". They can be deeper, but they can't be any less than 11".

Guard rails on stairs have to have a "grippable" top—in other words, you have to be able to hold on to the guard rail as you come down the stairs. Code requirements have a certain shape and size to graspable handrails.

Lastly, when you step off the stairs you need step on to something level and solid, such as concrete, stone, or gravel.

Deck Fascia

A nice final step is a finished fascia. This piece covers the outside of the framework.

For this project, West Coast Decks used a material called Azek PVC trim. It doesn't need to be painted or coated—but it can be.

You can also do skirting close the opening, from framework down to the ground. Most commonly, lattice is used for skirting. For this project, the owner wanted it left open because they will do some planting along the front edge.

Deck Skirting

Skirting is another finishing touch that encloses the opening from the framework to the ground. Typically we use lattice. Skirting is generally attached to the beam and to the posts that support the deck. You can put a 2x4 between the support posts to create a frame that can hold the skirting. For this project the owner wanted it left open for some additional landscaping along the front edge.

Deck Maintenance

This deck was built using encapsulated composite decking and powder coated aluminum railing, making it a low-maintenance deck. It requires occasional cleaning.

In the Pacific Northwest, it is very common to get some organic growth on the deck like mold and mildew. Use bleach and water for 60 seconds to clean a deck off regularly. Railings can be wiped down with soap and water.

Have any questions or suggestions about this post? Comment below. Or if you're ready to get started on your decking project, click here to make an appointment with a Dunn Lumber decking expert.

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