Add Style with Decking Patterns

andygatefield says:
Pretty helpful article! I just completed my own outdoor deck build with help from Joe's Deck Plans, ...... more
Pretty helpful article! I just completed my own outdoor deck build with help from Joe's Deck Plans, one of my top http://joesdeckplans.com deck designs resources. Best of luck everyone.
 
Although decking is commonly fastened parallel to the length of the deck, perpendicular to the joists, it doesn't always have to be done that way.

Decking and the pattern it creates can contribute to the style of your deck. Even the simplest platform deck can get a big infusion of style from an unusual decking pattern. Choosing patterns should be an essential part of your planning. Decking patterns fall into three categories:

  • Parallel decking runs perpendicular to the joists and parallel to the longest face of the house. This pattern is the least complicated to install, results in less waste, and is the least expensive. To make this simple pattern more visually active, scatter the butted ends randomly over the deck.
  • Diagonal decking runs across the deck surface and joists at a 45-degree angle. Installing this pattern will take only slightly more time than a parallel pattern, but you'll waste more wood because diagonal cuts at both ends of the boards consume more lumber than straight cuts.
  • Geometric patterns encompass a wide range of alternatives, among them chevron, parquet, diamond, and herringbone. Geometric patterns often combine aspects of parallel and mitered styles into modular units. Any of these patterns will require additional framing and will create more waste than simpler styles.

Whatever pattern you choose, draw it to scale when you put your plans on paper. This is the only way to be sure you'll have complete grids and patterns at the edges.

Picking a pattern

The possibilities for creating decking patterns are almost endless. A few general principles will help you pick a pattern:

  • Minimize the length of a long deck and make it seem wider by installing the decking perpendicular to the length of the deck. This will require joists that run parallel to the length of the deck.
  • Give your deck a finished look with a border around the edge. Adding a border will increase your construction time slightly, but it's an easy way to give the deck a professional touch.
  • The smaller the space, the simpler the pattern. On small decks, complexity can look confusing and busy.
  • Diagonal patterns look best if they reflect a similar line elsewhere in the landscape -- an angle of the house or outdoor structure, for example, or the lines made by corresponding planting beds.
  • Intricate patterns require high-grade lumber -- they accentuate rather than hide defects. Use premium-grade lumber for geometric designs. If your budget won't allow that, paint the surface to hide the defects and keep the pattern.

Framing the subject

Complex and intricate decking patterns require careful planning, both on the surface and for the framing beneath. The ends of each board must always rest directly on the full thickness of a joist or blocking -- short sections of 2x stock cut to fit between the joists.

Modular units require framing that supports both the ends and the interior of each section. Typically this means that blocking must be installed at regular intervals.

 

Comments (1)
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andygatefield wrote:

Pretty helpful article! I just completed my own outdoor deck build with help from Joe's Deck Plans, one of my top http://joesdeckplans.com deck designs resources. Best of luck everyone.

2/4/2014 07:22:34 PM Report Abuse
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