Professional Deck Construction and Fastening Tips

two men building a deck

1. Give materials time to acclimate

Before any actual construction takes place, make sure you give your decking materials an adequate amount of time to adjust to the jobsite conditions. Freshly-treated deck boards can contain over a gallon of liquid.


2. Select the proper fastener


Consult and choose your fastener based on the importance of the specific connection, exposure, and materials being fastened.


3. Use 300-series fasteners for elevated exposure conditions


300-series stainless steel fasteners should be a consideration if your project is in the vicinity of swimming pools, hot tubs, sprinklers, ponds, foliage, and other moisture sources.


4. Pay attention to gap spacing


Too little gap spacing between deck boards can put additional load on your fasteners, leading to broken screws or nail pops.


5. Orient deck board crown “bark side up”


This will help shed water, reduce cupping, and diminish other weathering-related defects.


6. Don’t overdrive fasteners


Overdriving your fasteners during installation can cause breakage.


7. Mind the water drainage


Decks should angle away from the structure at a minimum of an eighth-inch (1/8”) for every eight feet (8’). This reduces the possibility of standing water.


8. Reduce on-center joist spacing for 5/4” diagonals


If you plan on installing 5/4” decking diagonally, reduce the oncenter joist spacing from 16” to 12”.



9. Ventilation matters


Adequate ventilation will minimize cupping, warping, and other weathering-related defects. The deck should be constructed 18-inches off ground at minimum to allow for airflow. When not possible, reduce oncenter joist spacing to 12”. Moisture barriers beneath the deck are also good practice.


10. Maintain with care

Staining and sealing coupled with periodic inspections of all your fasteners and hardware is essential and can add years to the life of your deck.