Buildings and Renovations

Epic DIY Deck Project -Part 5- Cedar Decking and a Helping Hand

25 Jul , 2014  

My son hold the set square. He had no problems walking on the joists.

My son hold the set square. He had no problems walking on the joists.

Another instalment of the Epic DIY Deck Project series. The plan for the July 18th – 20th weekend was get the blocking finished between the joists, change out some of the lags screws with bolts, secure the house flashing and start to install the deck boards.

The blocking went quickly with two people. The air nailer was a little heavy for my helper, but, we worked out a system.  After the 2″ x 8″ x 14.5″ pieces were installed between the joists, we started the slow task of swapping out the 8″ lag screws from the large 6 inch x  6 inch post with the 7  inch carriage bolts and nuts.

Next, it was fishing out the long 2″ x 6″ x 16′, 18′ and 20′ cedar boards. (They were being saved for about 3 years). After throwing a few on the deck, I realized it was much longer than originally estimated. The entire deck surface was 34′ long. It made it more tricky for laying out the boards. DSC00122There is a rule of thumb: seam should not repeated twice in a row. I had to figure out the best way to spread out the long board lengths. The best way was divide the length of the board by 16. (16 inches on center) If you get a an even number, the plank will work in-between the joists. For example, 20 footer is 240 inches (12 inches x 20). Divide 240 by 16 = 15. So a 20 foot board will cover 15 joist spans.  But it doesn’t work for an 18 footer (18 feet x 12 inches =216 inches. Then divide by 16 inches =13.5. I would have to cut half a foot (6 inches) off the board for it fit onto 13 span widths. So, it’s like a game to find the right amount of boards for coverage with the least amount of waste. I found that a 20 footer and 12 footer worked well.

A big bonus for the weekend, I hired my 10 year son as a worker. My son was more than willing to try the power tools and do some hammering. He was also a huge help in carrying lumber, air nailing and using the impact drill. (All my  kids are trained on power tools) All I had to do was keep him busy, fed and an occasional soda at coffee break.

Hope this series has been interesting and helpful for other people who plan on building a deck by themselves.


The is the progress on Saturday. Finished the blocking, replaced some hardware and ready to flash close to the wall.


Close up of the cedar deck lumber. I love the colour!


You can see the “shim” 1/2″ birch plywood inserted below the decking


The longer boards hide the different heights of the deck

Music Credit: Eviction, by Silent Partner,


Comments are closed.