Learn how to attach the load bearing joist of the deck, called the ledger, to your house.
A ledger is a joist attached to the framing of the house. It carries the weight of the deck and transfers it to the foundation of the house. If you are installing an attached deck, your layout and installation will begin with a ledger. If you are building a freestanding deck, it will be supported on all sides by posts and footings, and you should skip to the next step.
Because the ledger functions as the first step in laying out an attached deck, you must position it precisely -- level and firmly attached to the framing of the house. This means that the lag screws that fasten a ledger to a frame structure need to go through the sheathing and penetrate the band joist or studs. On brick, block, or concrete, use heavy-duty masonry anchors drilled into the masonry.
Cut your ledger from the same size lumber as your joists -- 3 inches shorter than the width of the deck so you can attach the end joists to the ends of the ledger. In most cases you will have to remove siding to install the ledger.
About six hours to remove siding, position ledger, and fasten it
Tape measure, hammer, chalk line, speed square, circular saw, 4-foot level, cordless drill, tin snips for metal siding, chisel, caulk gun, socket wrench and sockets
Lifting, cutting, drilling, driving fasteners
Locate internal framing members in house -- band joist, studs
2x lumber, felt paper, fasteners, flashing, caulk
Mark the ledger outline by holding the cut ledger in place or by using a straightedge. Extend the marks 1-1/2 inches on both ends for the end joists. Set your saw to cut the siding, not the sheathing, and cut to the corners. Chisel out wood corners; cut metal corners with snips.
Mark the ledger (and the header joist) for joist locations. If you're working alone, prop 2x4 braces at either end of the cutout and hoist the ledger in place, resting it on the braces. Center the ledger in the cutout, leaving 1-1/2 inches on either side for the end joists. Adjust the brace on one end to position the ledger exactly at the correct height and tack this end to the sheathing with a 10d nail or deck screw. Level the board and tack the other end.
Counterbore lag-screw locations that fall on joist markings, then drill pilot holes for the lag screws through the ledger and about 1/2 inch into the band joist or studs (on a deck above the band joist). Drive washered lag screws into the framing with a socket wrench, stopping just when the screw won't turn without excessive force. Caulk counterbored holes, the joint above the flashing, and the bottom of the ledger. Don't caulk the ends yet.