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Choosing A Deck Pattern / Design

You can install your flooring deck material in a variety of patterns and designs (Figure 1 shows a complex deck flooring design / pattern). Most deck pattern and design variations require that the support frame be modified to accommodate the pattern or design. Because of these potential modifications you should decide on a deck flooring pattern and designs before you start designing the structural (frame) members of your deck.

complex deck flooring pattern / design.
Figure 1 - Complex deck flooring pattern / design.

It should also be noted, that the more complex the deck material pattern or design the more material that will be required for both the deck structure and the deck material itself.

Simple Patterns:

Installing your deck material where all boards run parallel to one another is the easiest, takes the least amount of time and consumes the least amount of material. The vast majority of deck material is installed running parallel to the house (see drawing below). There is good reason that a parallel approach is the most common; this pattern / design is the easiest and quickest to install, requires the least amount of material both in the deck frame and the deck flooring itself and many homeowners believe that it is the most aesthetically appealing.

There are some basic variations to the parallel pattern or design:

  • Installing deck flooring material of alternate widths such as alternating 2 x 6 material with 2 x 4 material. This variation does not require any changes to the deck frame.
  • Running the material perpendicular to the house. The advantage to this design is that it generally requires shorter lengths of deck flooring material which should avoid the necessity of creating butt joints. Secondarily it is easier to shovel snow towards the perimeter, if the deck flooring material runs in the same direction as you are likely to shovel - away from the door. To implement this pattern or design you must run the deck joists parallel to the house rather than perpendicular.
  • Diagonal deck flooring can be installed over a conventional deck frame, but requires that the joists spacing be measured on the diagonal, hence you will require more joists or you will require thicker deck material. Because, depending on the size of your deck, boards are not the same length and the fact that each board must have the ends cut at an angle, installation takes longer and there is some additional waste in deck flooring board material.
parallel to house decking design
Parallel To House - Most Common Design
parallel to house with alternating widths decking style
Parallel To House With Alternating Widths
perpendicular to house decking pattern
Perpendicular To House
diagonal decking pattern
Diagonal Decking

Complex Patterns:

Changing the flooring deck pattern or design can convert your deck from a me too to a deck which shows some creativity and style!

Complex deck flooring designs and patterns require very careful planning and attention to detail as the measurements will vary from one deck to another and from one flooring board to another.

If you want to create that special deck flooring appearance you must always abide by two important rules.

  1. The ends of every piece of deck flooring material must be supported by a deck frame member.
  2. No single piece of deck flooring material must exceed its allowable span (support between deck frame members).
v shaped decking pattern
herringbone decking design
diamond decking design
mitered border decking design
Mitered Border

Additional information on decks.

Additional information on deck lumber spans.

Additional information on hot tubs and spas on raised decks.

Continue to deck floor joist spans...