Get ten deck-builders together, and you’ll end up with 15 ways to build a deck. Many contractors use strings and stakes driven into the grass for layout (Trip Fest 2019). Others pour lots of con- crete for posts (looks like a lot of work). Others wait for foot- ing inspections before framing (What? Wait?). Top-Down framing streamlines those variables. It saves me days, work, and hundreds of dollars per deck.
JARGON ALERT In case we use different names for the same things or you’re new to deck building:
Ledger – The board affixed to the house.
Band Joist – The joists that form the deck’s perimeter: Left, Right, Front.
Beam – The double 2-by that runs under all joists.
Cleat – A piece of wood that temporarily supports other material.
LEDGER PREP Whatever cladding is on the house must be removed in the ledger location, including stucco and brick veneer.
Next, the house’s band joist or structural sheathing—whatever you find in there—should be flashed with peel-and-stick mem- brane; it’s not intended for “wet service.”
By Mark Clement
accurate as all
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