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Which Decking Pattern Works Best?

Decking is commonly laid perpendicular to the joists and parallel to the adjoining wall of the house. Aside from the ease of installation, there is a reason for that—parallel decking complements the lines of the house. There are, however, other decking patterns that can make your deck look more interesting. The ones illustrated here are just a few of the options. Changing the pattern of the boards across the surface of the deck also lends you a practical tool for visually separating areas designed for different purposes. No matter what the reason, you will notice that these alternatives always call for joist layouts different from the usual parallel decking.

 Step 1:Modular

Step 1: Modular decking Modular decking is laid in sections, and each section requires joists running in the correct direction. The joists are doubled where the decking boards meet at right angles.

 Step 2:Chevron

Step 2: Chevron decking Although you should space joists 16-inches on center for 2 x 4, 2 x 6 or 1¼ x 6 perpendicular decking, you must space the joists 12-inches apart for 1¼ x 6 diagonal decking. Mixing 2 x 4 with 2 x 6 decking is another appealing design possibility. Do not use boards wider than 6 inches because they are more likely to cup and split.

 Step 3:90° herringbone

Step 3: 90° Herringbone decking The 90-degree herringbone is one of the most interesting decking patterns, but requires a combination of both single and doubled joists to provide support where the ends of the decking meet.

 Step 4:Framed diagonal

Step 4: Framed diagonal decking The framed diagonal provides an interesting visual effect by juxtaposing two different lines. This pattern can be used to "picture frame" an entire deck surface or create modular sections to define different areas of the deck.