8 Critical Deck Connections You Should Know

Posted on April 17, 2017


After a long drought in California, we are now experiencing a deluge of rain in Pleasanton. You know what that means: cabin fever! For some of us, a lot of time indoors means looking at Pinterest boards on décor, how to refresh our outdoor space and even BBQ recipes for when the weather warms up. While it is nice to think about how to dress up a deck, it’s important not to forget about deck safety. Since a deck is a place where kids love to be, don’t you want to make sure it’s as safe as the inside of your home?

A family having lunch outside at a table on a deck

A few weeks ago, I wrote Deck Safety: 5 Tips To Check Your Deck. One of the tips I shared was learning about critical deck connections. Critical deck connections are the connections on a deck that create a continuous load path. If your deck is built with a continuous load path, it will be better equipped to resist forces such as occupancy, wind, snow and earthquakes. Here are the 8 critical deck connections that you need to create a safe and secure deck:

Simpson Strong-Tie graphic of Critical Deck Connections.

Simpson Strong-Tie graphic of Critical Deck Connections.

Ledger Attachment

One of the most common causes of deck failure is a ledger that pulls away from the primary structure, resulting in complete collapse. It’s where the deck connects to the house and one of the most common failure points on a poorly built deck. It’s very important to use structural screws rather than nails to secure your deck ledger board to your home.

Joist to Ledger

This connection is required to provide bearing and in cantilever applications, resist uplift. Deck floor joists intersect into a beam or ledger board and must be properly secured to the framing of the house.

Joist to Beam

Beams must be secured to the joists that support the floor of the deck to resist lateral and uplift forces.

Beam to Post

At the point where a beam meets a post, it must be properly connected to the post in order to resist gravity, lateral and uplift loads.

Railing Post to Deck Framing

People often get injured due to weak or wobbly railings on a deck. Railings must be properly attached to the perimeter of the deck as well as the floor joists running underneath the deck.

Stair Stringer to Deck Framing

Stair stringers that run along each of the stair steps (or treads) must be secured to the deck framing.

Stair Tread to Stringer

Each stair step (or tread) must be properly connected to the stair stringers.

Post to Concrete

Post bases connect the post to the footing or concrete slab underneath your deck.

What do you do to get ready for deck season? Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for exciting upcoming contests and giveaways.