how to extreme

Upgrade your Deck

Construction How-To, Decks, Decks, Outdoor Living, Projects August 3, 2016 Sonia


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.

Stagger the end-joints from row to row.

Stagger the end-joints from row to row.

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.

Inspect the end-grain of the boards and fasten them "bark side up."

Inspect the end-grain of the boards and fasten them “bark side up.”

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.

Clamps will help straighten bowed boards during installation. As we progressed, we left a few strategically located boards loose with no fasteners. When our clamps would no longer reach, we pulled up a loose board to give us a new location to anchor the clamps.

Clamps will help straighten bowed boards during installation. As we progressed, we left a few strategically located boards loose with no fasteners. When our clamps would no longer reach, we pulled up a loose board to give us a new location to anchor the clamps.

Keep a jigsaw nearby to make any notches necessary for railing posts or other obstacles.

Keep a jigsaw nearby to make any notches necessary for railing posts or other obstacles.

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.

In tight spots, support your weight with an arm draped over a joist while you fasten the nearest board.

In tight spots, support your weight with an arm draped over a joist while you fasten the nearest board.