Don’t Frame Your Deck Without Considering These 3 Things

How much joist spacing do you need between your deck framing?

One major reason your deck could fail sooner than expected is due to poor framing. Having a solid frame is key to an even decking surface that doesn’t bow over time.

As a rule of thumb, most decks will require 16″ on center joist spacing, which means there is 16″ from the center of one joist to the other.

Beyond that, there are three things to consider when deciding the spacing on your deck framing.

Decking Material

First is the decking material. Composite and softwood decking will follow the 16″ on center rule, but hardwood decking can handle greater spans with similar dimensions. For example: 5/4 x 6 cedar can span 16″ on center, but Ipe can be a 1 x 6 dimension for the same span. 5/4 x 6 Ipe can actually span 24″ on center.

Decking Material Thickness

This brings me to the second thing to consider: the thickness of the decking material. Most composite brands have the same thickness, but softwoods and hardwoods will range from 1″ to 2″ thick for decking. Softwoods should be at least 1 1/4 inches thick for a 16″ on center span. 2 inches thick will allow for a 24″ on center span. 1″ thick Ipe will have a 16″ on center span, an inch and a quarter will have a 24″ on center span, and 2″ thick can have a 32″ span.

Surface Board Angle

The last thing to consider when figuring out the correct joist spacing is the angle of the surface boards. If you are laying the boards at a 45-degree angle to the framing then you need to shorten the span. 16″ on center would drop to 12″ on center, 24″ would become 16″ and 32″ would become 24″ on center. If you are installing a commercial project, it can be a good idea to shorten the framing spans as well since the deck will have significantly more traffic.

These considerations are just guidelines, so reference your local building codes for specific span and spacing ratios.

This tip-filled post comes courtesy of Austin NARI member TimberTown.

Members Spotlight: Erica Volkmer of Evensen Design

Erica Volkmer, owner of Evensen Design, is a local NARI member, who not only values professionalism, but is also committed to providing a high-standard of design and supporting the growth of NARI in Austin.
Erica started Evensen Design in 2013, since that time, she has had the honor of appearing on HGTV’s House Hunters Renovation, been named an Austin Top 10 Designer by Austin Architects and Culture Map and has earned Best of Houzz for Design and Service.

“Our firm’s experience with turn-key projects allows us to become an advocate for our clients throughout the design and construction process. Taking on a supportive, hands-on approach we work with the team involved to develop a personalized plan for each client.” – Erica Volkmer

Erica’s resume includes everything from new construction in Tarrytown, a historical renovation in Pemberton Heights, to modern penthouses downtown. Her unique collaborative approach helps to streamline the process for an array of luxury projects. “Our goal is to create a collaborative environment so that construction is as seamless as possible.”

We asked Erica a bit more about her design aesthetic and business:

Q: What do you credit your trendsetting design aesthetic to?

A: My design aesthetic comes from my love of travel, layering different styles and understanding that first and foremost, homes are meant to be lived in and enjoyed.

Q: What’s your specialty?

A: I specialize in new construction & renovations, I specifically enjoy working with a client who can appreciate a fresh edge on a transitional project.

Q: How would you describe your portfolio?

A: Casually elegant and curated for our client’s individual personalities. You’ll find clean lines, bright spaces and luxurious details throughout our projects. We are passionate about designing homes and boutique spaces that are inviting and maintain a keen eye for quality and workmanship.

Q: What is your favorite part of being a NARI member?

A: I love that I am able to connect with other like-minded professionals, who are all interested in the success and growth of each other’s businesses. One of my business goals for 2019, was to improve my visual brand identity and website – to better align with my portfolio and client demographic. It was no small feat, but I was able to find a NARI member who not only helped me develop a strategy for doing so – but also was able to bring it all to life with my brand design and new website launch. Thanks Nikki and Shanan at Click & Co.! I am beyond pleased and you made the process so easy.

Q: What’s the best way to connect with you?

A: / / 512.815.2740 / @evensendesign

Photo Credit: Aaron Dougherty Photography