, Parts of a Deck: A Guide To Deck Terminology

Parts of a Deck: A Guide To Deck Terminology

Decks are a great addition to any home or business. If you’re thinking about
adding a deck to your property, it’s important to know what goes into the

construction of this type of project. You can install decks on houses, commercial

buildings, and boats too. They use wood, concrete, or composite plastic boards

that look like wood, except won’t rot or splinter as natural wood does over time.

When planning a deck, there are plenty of terms and acronyms to keep track of.

Here’s a guide to some of the most common words you’ll see when it comes to














Post Anchors


Railing Posts


Rim Joists



Support Posts

Parts of a Deck


Balusters are vertical posts spaced evenly along the decking and support the top

rail. These balusters create a physical barrier that keep both people and pets

from falling off decks and balconies. These are essential for safety reasons.

Make sure to check with local building codes before installing new balusters to

ensure that they meet height and/or spacing requirements.


Balustrades are comprised of assembled top rails, balusters or spindles and

often bottom rails, posts, post caps, and decorative finials. Balustrades can come

in many shapes and sizes; some are straight while others are curved; some have

decorative patterns; some have multiple levels; some even have multiple types of

railings in one! It all depends on how much money you want to spend on them

but don’t forget about functionality too, because safety is always the top priority.


Beams or girders are horizontal pieces of lumber that support your deck. They’re

usually made from pressure-treated lumber but can also come from other



Blocking supports joists and other components of a deck. They can be made

from either wood or steel. Blocking is usually installed either between joists or at

the ends of the joists, which prevent them from shuffling. If you’re building a deck

with more than one level, blocking is essential in supporting the beams that

connect each level.


Bridging is a structural piece that supports the decking and prevents twisting.

Bridging can also act as a load-bearing member, which means that it helps to

hold up the weight of everything that is placed on top of it. The smaller pieces of

wood that are used to bolster the strength of supporting joists are bridging.

Bridging’s purpose is to provide a strong foundation for your deck so that there

are no worries about construction integrity, only pure enjoyment!


Decking is what makes up the main surface of the deck. Decking can be made
from wood, composite, capped composite, HDPE, or PVC.

composite decking will be the most visible part of your deck, so it’s important
to pick a material that you like that will withstand the elements. You may also

want to think about and decide whether you want your boards to be straight-cut

or tongue-and-groove style.

The latter can be the more expensive aspect and requires more maintenance,

however it also provides a stronger deck. The American Wood Council (
has very particular rules for decking construction, which you should follow to the



When is comes to decking, fascia is an essential part of architectural design.

Fascia is a horizontal board that covers up the exposed parts of the framework

and conceals the less appealing structural aspects from view.

Fascia boards are attached to the outside perimeter of your deck frame and

around any posts on your deck surface. Pressure-treated wood, cedar, and pine

make up these boards and serve as both aesthetic appeal and protection. This

protects against rot and other elements that can damage your new beautiful

home’s addition.


Flashing is the metal that connects two different materials. Flashing can be used

to seal the joints where two pieces of wood meet and prevent water from entering

the deck. Flashing is common in vinyl, copper, or stainless-steel materials.

It is important to follow International Residential Code (
IRC) guidelines when
installing flashing on your deck in order to ensure a sturdy structure that will

withstand all kinds of weather conditions.


The foundation of a deck is the footings. Footings are a vital part of the overall

deck design and structure. A foundation or footing made of concrete is where

you’ll find the posts that hold up your deck. These footings keep your deck stable

and sturdy. Without a proper foundation, this could compromise the entire

structure and fall apart.

Concrete footings are poured and finished before the framing is complete, which

allows them to support deck loads evenly to hold up for their intended uses.


The hardware is all the small pieces that are used to connect the various parts of

your deck. These pieces include but are not limited to structural screws, lag
bolts, nuts, fasteners, and steel connectors. The hardware helps to connect your deck,
and using high-quality pieces for this is essential.

For example, if you’re using lag bolts or screws, make sure that they are

stainless steel, so that they don’t rust over time. Good quality hardware will make

all the difference, and it is promised that your deck will stay together without fail.


Joists are the main components of the actual structure of your deck. They are

horizontal beams that support your decking and are made from treated lumber.

Ledger boards, rim joists, and other pieces hold the joints in place, and make up

the frame for your deck. When installing the joists, install them You should install

at regular gaps, and this should be strong enough to support the decking


The size of your joists will be directly proportional to the weight they can support.

If you are not sure what size you need, always feel free to ask us! We are always

here to help you figure out how many pounds your deck will be able to hold so

that you know the best kind of lumber to be using.


The ledger is a horizontal plank on the outer perimeter of a deck, which connects

the posts to the house and supporting joists (or beams) that support subflooring.

The most prevalent type of ledger uses pressure-treated wood, which resists

moisture better than untreated lumber does. They are often installed outside of

posts rather than inside them because of this.


Piers are the vertical columns that support a deck. They are usually made of

concrete, but they can also be made of wood or steel. Piers attach to the footings

in order to assist with weight distribution and structural support. In certain

environments, they may affix to the ground instead of on footings.

Space these piers evenly throughout your deck and check your local building

code to see how far apart they need to be.

Post Anchors

Post anchors are sometimes used to secure the posts to the footings. They help

to prevent water damage, by being elevated. There are options of either metal or

plastic, based off your preference.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional contractor if you are worried about

making a mistake with building a deck. This professional will create an attractive

and functional addition that you will love!

The railing is the safety barrier that prevents people from falling off your deck.

This is a horizontal structure on all sides of your deck and is comprised of several

components, including rails, railing posts, balusters, and spindles.

These railings connect using metal brackets called tension devices (which come

in many shapes and sizes). There is a predrilled hole in every component which

secures the connection. Some decks have railings with wooden pickets between

each post, while others use metal pipes as posts for their railings.

These posts can have flat or rounded bottoms, which help to not interfere with

anyone that sits on them.

Depending on what style you are going for, there are different materials such as

wood, aluminum, composite, and stainless steel. There are plenty of ways to

check that they are durable enough, and to make sure that they won’t warp over

time. Even when they face exposure to weather conditions such as rain or

snowfall, they will be protected.

Railing Posts

Railing posts are the vertical posts that support the deck railing. These posts

must be sturdy and tall enough to keep users from stepping over the edge of the


Railing posts are typically attached to the deck with lag screws (or other

fasteners). They do not support the deck’s sub-structure, but they do support the



Rebar is a steel bar used to reinforce concrete. It is usually made of high strength

steel but can also be made from aluminum and other metals. It has many

different purposes, including reinforcing the deck, footings, and piers. Rebar

provides strength and rigidity to concrete, making it an incredible choice for

supporting a deck. The posts and beams of your deck will not bend or sag over

time, as they are being reinforced.

The rebar is placed inside the formwork for the concrete, which forms an

interlocking pattern in the concrete itself. This helps to prevent cracks from

forming in your deck over time, meaning it will stay strong for years to come.

Rim Joists

Rim joists are the outermost boards on a deck that run parallel to its edges and

support the deck joists. They help to support the weight of your deck and provide

strength and rigidity to the overall structure. Pressure-treated wood and

composite materials such as plastic or fiberglass can be used to make these


The rim joist attaches to a wall or post using an approved fastener. This stops

structural damage from happening. It is likely that if your deck is attached to a

house, you’ll have a rim joist. However, if it’s attached to a free-standing post, the

rim joist may be absent or incomplete.


Stairways are yet another component of a deck that can use various materials.

The popular option is wood for constructing deck stairs, but there are other

available options, it all comes down to preference. You can also build stairs from

stone, metal, and concrete. The material you use depends on the overall design

of your deck and what you want to get out of it.

Your stairway must be secure and sturdy enough to support the weight of anyone

who may use it. This means that you should always have at least one handrail on

both sides of the stairs whenever possible so that users can hold on while going

up or down them. This is for safety purposes. If you do not have enough room for

two handrails, choose a design where one side has railings while the other does



A stringer is a horizontal member that connects the posts and supports the

decking. A stringer can be made of wood, plastic, or metal, depending on

whether you want a natural look or an easier-to-maintain surface.

Support Posts

Support posts are vertical timbers usually made from pressure-treated lumber.

They’re attached to your footings, supporting and elevating the overall deck

structure. Support posts help to strengthen your deck floor by stabilizing it

against movement that weather conditions or shifting soil cause.


It can be hard to know where to start when building your DIY deck, and we get

that. We hope this guide has given you a good overview of the various parts of a

deck system and provided you with helpful information. If you have any

questions, we’re here to help you. Feel free to
contact our team of dedicated
experts at The Deck Store for assistance with all of your deck and dock supply

needs. At The Deck Store, we carry everything you need for your deck project.

Feel free to stop by any one of our
locations today!