Upgrade your Deck
But what if your deck is bigger than your clamps? We were rebuilding a 12-by-40-ft. deck, and most people don’t have 12-ft. clamps laying around. Our solution was to occasionally leave one of the deck boards loose at a strategic location. The board in question would have been gang-clamped with the others, but we left it unscrewed. As the new deck floor moved further from the fascia board and the clamps could no longer reach it, we would pry up our special loose board to grant clamp access to our newly fastened decking. This gave us a strong foothold to anchor one end of the clamp at a closer location, and granted greater reach to the other side of the soon-to-be-installed boards.
Note: For the final few deck boards, we reconfigured our bar clamps as spreaders, and rather than pulling the boards together to straighten them, we pushed off the joist-end blocking to straighten the rows.
Tool Tips & Ergonomics
Whether you’re a professional deck-builder or DIY’er, most of us aren’t accustomed to working underneath a deck. Whenever we had enough room, we used a rolling shop stool beneath the deck so we could fasten the boards from a seated position. This is much more comfortable than squatting on your haunches. The stool swivels for easy movement, it’s lightweight and it rolls, plus a tool tray at the bottom can hold fasteners, sunglasses and a beverage.
In lower-to-ground areas where a shop stool won’t fit, we recommend supporting your weight with one arm draped over a joist while you fasten the nearest board.