Essential Tips for Building a Durable Deck: Insights from a Seasoned Woodworker

Building a deck is an exciting project that allows you to enhance your outdoor living space and create a welcoming environment for gatherings and relaxation.


As a passionate woodworker with years of experience, I've learned valuable lessons throughout my journey of constructing decks. In this blog post, I want to share some valuable tips that can help you achieve a sturdy and long-lasting deck while making the construction process easier and more efficient.

  1. Say No to C16 Timber for Joists: When it comes to selecting the right timber for joists, it's crucial to opt for materials that can withstand the elements. Contrary to popular belief, C16 timber is not suitable for outdoor use. Exposed to the weather, it tends to rot faster than pressure-treated boards. To ensure the longevity of your deck, choose pressure-treated deck boards for your joists instead.
  2. Utilize Deck Boards as Joists: One of my favorite hacks for simplifying the deck construction process is using deck boards themselves as joists. Deck boards are designed to withstand outdoor conditions, and their pressure-treated nature makes them ideal for vertical use as joists. This approach not only saves you time but also ensures that your joists will be strong enough to support the weight and last for years to come.
  3. Modern Deck Screws Eliminate the Need for Pilot Holes: Gone are the days of laboriously drilling pilot holes for each deck screw. Modern deck screws are specifically engineered with tips designed to penetrate deck boards without splitting them. This innovation allows for a faster and more efficient installation process. So, ditch the unnecessary step of pre-drilling pilot holes and enjoy a smoother deck-building experience.
  4. Grooves Down for Ventilation: Deck boards often come with grooves that serve a specific purpose. While there are varying opinions on this matter, I believe it's best to install deck boards with the grooves facing downwards. Contrary to popular belief, these grooves are not primarily intended to provide grip but rather facilitate ventilation and allow water to run off the joists underneath. This helps prevent moisture buildup and prolongs the lifespan of your deck.
  5. Craft Your Own 5mm Deck Spacers: Maintaining consistent gaps between deck boards is essential to accommodate wood expansion and ensure proper water drainage. To achieve this, I highly recommend creating your own 5mm deck spacers. I designed mine using round stock and two 5mm thick nails, as it prevents any safety concerns of accidentally stepping on square stock spacers with nails pointing up. The round design ensures that the spacers fall over and eliminates any potential hazards.


Building a deck can be a rewarding endeavor, especially when armed with knowledge and insights from experienced woodworkers. By following these essential tips, you can create a durable and visually appealing deck that will withstand the test of time. Remember to choose the right materials, utilize deck boards as joists, take advantage of modern deck screws, pay attention to proper board orientation, and craft your own deck spacers for optimal results. Happy building!

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