How to Lay a Wooden Deck Floor

When building a deck, laying the wooden deck flooring is the middle main step in the whole process that comes after framing the deck and before installing the stairs and the hand rail system.

Wooden DeckingWooden Decking
Up to this point, the deck frame should be fully assembled and ready to cover with deck flooring. The wooden deck floor has to be installed before you can move on to installing the stairs, and then the hand railing. All-in-all, installing the deck flooring is the easiest piece of the whole puzzle to complete.

Measure the length needed for the first floor board, beginning right next to the house. Transfer the measurement to the first floor board by marking it with a pencil and a tape measure. Cut the board to length with a miter saw or a circular saw.

Lay the first floor board on top of the floor joists and drive deck or wood screws through the floor boards and into the floor joists. This will hold the flooring in place at each floor board intersection.

Drill pilot holes through the floor board to keep the boards from splitting. Drilling pilot holes will also help the screws go into the wood more easily.

Drive 1 16d (penny) nail into each floor joist and to the side of the first floor board 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch deep. This should be done after the first floor board is fastened to the floor joists. This nail size is easy to use as a spacer between each floor board to allow for proper drainage. Do this in between each floor board after the previous floor board is installed.

Bend warped and twisted floor boards into place with a metal pry bar. Start the screws into the boards before bending them, then finish sinking the screw after the board has been forced into place. Few boards are perfectly straight and flat, so this will be a needed skill.

Begin deciding what kind of deck preservative you will apply to the deck when it is finished. A treated deck will last years longer than an untreated deck.

Things You Will Need

  • Wooden decking 3-inch wood or deck screws 16d nails Hammer Drill Phillips drill bits Metal pry bar Miter saw Tape measure Pencil Safety glasses


  • Do not install wet lumber. Allow the wood to dry out before installing the floor boards. Water causes lumber to swell and will shrink as it dries. This could cause uneven gaps between the floor boards. Dry lumber also cuts easier and will not clog up your saw. Measure and cut each individual floor board separately to its specific size instead of assuming that every board can be cut to the same length.


  • Wear safety glasses when cutting the floor boards.

About the Author

Josh surprisingly found himself as an English Literature major one day after planning on becoming a doctor for most of his life. He graduated with a BS from Utah Valley University in April 2003.