How to Lay Wood Decking

There are options for deck boards as of 2010 that were not available a decade ago. You can get deck boards that are a plastic and wood mixture material that will never need to be replaced, or a pressure-treated lumber that should last you 10 years.

Typical wood decking

For either option, you can lay a wood deck with just a few woodworking tools.

  1. Remove any old decking. A power screwdriver with a new bit will remove most old screws. You may need to use a screw extractor tool for any that break off or become stripped. Follow the directions for the screw extractor if needed. A pry bar and hammer are also useful.

  2. Lay the wood decking perpendicular to the floor joist. The floor joists are the boards that are spaced 16 inches apart that support the decking. Overhang the decking 1.5 inch on all sides of the deck. If it takes more than one piece of decking to span the length of the deck, cut the decking so it lands in the middle of a floor joist. Use a miter saw to cut the decking.

  3. Screw the decking down to the floor joist using two deck screws at each joist location. Start the screw 3/4 inch in from the side of the decking board. This will help keep the decking from splitting. Set the head of the screw so that it is flush with the surface of the decking board.

  4. Stagger each row of decking so that no rows have end joints that line up. If you need more than one piece of decking per row, start every other row with a half piece of decking. Use a 1/8-inch spacer between rows of decking. A #8 common framing nail works great for this.

  5. Warning

    Wear safety glasses when using a power tool.


  • Wear safety glasses when using a power tool.