Deck Framing 101: An Overview of Materials and Techniques

April 19, 2023


Deck framing is the foundation of any outdoor deck, and it needs to be crafted with great care and precision to ensure that the deck is stable and long-lasting. Deck framing is the process of constructing the underlying structure of a deck on which the deck boards and railing are attached. In this article, we will give you a comprehensive overview of deck framing materials and techniques.

Deck Framing Materials

The most common materials used for deck framing are pressure-treated lumber, cedar, and composite decking materials.

Pressure-Treated Lumber

Pressure-treated lumber is the most commonly used material for deck framing. It is inexpensive, readily available, and can last for up to 20 years with proper maintenance. Pressure-treated lumber is made by injecting chemicals into the wood, which makes it resistant to rot, insects, and decay. It is also treated to resist fungal growth.


Cedar is another popular decking material. It is a natural and beautiful wood, and is resistant to rot and insect damage. Cedar does not require as much maintenance as pressure-treated lumber, but it is more expensive.

Composite Decking Materials

Composite decking materials are a relatively new decking material, but they have quickly gained popularity due to their low maintenance and durability. Composite decking is made up of a mixture of wood fibers and plastic, and it is designed to look like wood. It is resistant to rot, insects, and decay, and does not require staining or painting.

Deck Framing Techniques

There are multiple deck framing techniques to choose from when planning your deck project. Here are some of the most common techniques:

Post-and-Beam Framing

Post-and-beam framing is one of the most popular deck framing techniques. This technique involves using vertical posts to support horizontal beams that span the length of the deck. The joists are then attached to the beams, creating a stable foundation for the deck.

Cantilever Framing

Cantilever framing involves extending the floor of the deck beyond the supporting posts and beams. This technique can make the deck appear larger than it is, but it also requires more support, which can increase the cost of the project.

Angled Framing

Angled framing is a popular technique for decks with multiple levels or those with curved edges. This technique involves cutting the joists and beams to fit the contours of the deck, creating a unique and interesting design.

Balloon Framing

Balloon framing involves using longer framing members that run from the foundation to the roof of the deck. This technique creates a continuous structure, which provides extra support for the deck.

Deck Framing Tools

To complete your deck framing project, you will need a few tools. Here are some of the essential tools you will need:


A hammer is a necessary tool for deck framing. It is used to drive nails into the wood.

Power Drill

A power drill is needed to drill holes for screws and bolts.


You will need a saw to cut your wood to the required length. A circular saw or handsaw will do the job.


A level is essential to ensure your deck is level and flat.


How long does deck framing last?

With proper maintenance, deck framing can last up to 25 years.

What is the best wood to use for deck framing?

Pressure-treated lumber is the most commonly used wood for deck framing due to its durability and cost-effectiveness.

Do I need a permit for deck framing?

Yes, in most cases, you will need a permit for deck framing. Check with your local building department to find out what permits you need.

What is the cost of deck framing?

The cost of deck framing will depend on the materials and technique you choose. On average, the cost of deck framing is around $30 per square foot.

Can I install a deck frame myself?

Yes, as long as you have the necessary tools and knowledge, you can install a deck frame yourself. However, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a professional to ensure that your deck is safe and sturdy.

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I enjoy designing and curating experiences both virtually and in 3-dimensional reality. I have a Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology and currently practice professionally, but I also manage a few other ventures.
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