Picture Frame Decking Tips
Picture framing decking is becoming quite popular among home owners and deck builders.
It really sets even the most basic backyard deck apart from the
rest and with minimal to zero material cost increase and only a bit more
There are two common styles; a 45 degree miter frame corner or a butt joint frame.
Each style has some unique characteristics you should consider before you decide what to use.
Miter Joint Frame
This is the finished appearance. The deck boards in the field are perpendicular to the joists.
You will notice that there is always one board that runs parallel to the joist.
In order to support that perimeter frame board, blocking at 16" o.c.
is required between the rim joist and the penultimate joist beside it.
You can see in this next illustration how one might wish to frame for a miter joist picture frame layout.
The diagonal blocking keeps an air space and allows moisture near
the joint to dry faster. A smaller blocking piece supports the end of
the decking board.
You can see here how it all comes together. A picture frame deck is
definitely a bit more work to get it right but the end result is
Keep in mind that miter joists are likely to separate at the inside
corner because boards shrink more across their width than length.
Construction adhesive, biscuits and starting with dry wood are your best chance to stop this.
Butt Joint Frame
A butt joint is a nice way to frame your deck like a picture also.
And this style of picture frame decking has the advantage that you don't
have to worry about the corner joints separating like in a 45 degree
This illustration shows two courses of perimeter framing border
boards. You could just as easily use only a single board to make your
But there is no denying that it looks really nice. And from
experience I can tell you its quicker than trying to cut really accurate
45 degree miters and stop them from shrinking apart.
When we remove the deck boards, the secret of the framing below is revealed. This is but one way you can frame.
You will notice in this example that the blocking supports the ends
of two boards. You may wish to build a more elaborate frame so that each
board has its own blocking to sit on.
There really is no limit to how fancy you can get. It is a bit of extra labor to do this however.
And to sum it all up, you can see exactly how the two elements work
together to create a visual treat to the eye and still functions
I highly recommend you consider try one of these simple picture frame decking techniques on your next deck.
And I guarantee your neighbors will be turning their heads.
This article is from the 2011 Spring issue of our Deck INSIDER
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