Free Above Ground Pool Deck eBook

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These are typical pool decking terms you might hear or read about. All are helpful to know when planning and building your above ground pool deck. Terms are listed alphabetically.

The list is extensive so it may be best if you know the word you’re looking for and scan down to it. You can also print this out for your reference.

Actual dimension. The actual size of dimensioned lumber after it's put through the milling process and dried.

Anchor. Metal device set in concrete. Used for attaching posts to footings or piers.

Backfill. To replace earth excavated during construction.

Baluster. A vertical railing, likely between posts.

Beam. A horizontal framing that is most often on posts and supports the joists.

Bevel cut. An angle cut through the thickness of a piece of wood.

Blocking. Short pieces of lumber between joists. Used to prevent joists from twisting, strengthening frame.

Board foot. One board foot is 1 square foot that is 1 inch thick; 1x12x12 inches.

Board. Lumber less than 2 inches thick.

Bracing. Diagonal crosspieces nailed and bolted between tall posts greater than 5' tall.

Broom finish. A texture made by brushing a stiff broom across fresh concrete. Prevents slip.

Butt joint. The joint formed when two pieces of material that meet end-to-end, end-to-face, or end-to-edge.

Cantilever. Deck frame lumber with an end that extends beyond its support.

Chamfer. A partial bevel cut made along the end or edge of a board.

Check. A crack along surface of a board. If it goes more than halfway through the thick part of board, it weakens the board.

Cleat. A short length of lumber attached to strengthen another board. It can also be a nailing surface for another board.

Clinch. For added pull-out resistance, bend the exposed tip of a nail into the surrounding wood.

Counterbore. A hole drilled so a screw head is below the surface of the wood. Use putty or a plug to fill the hole.

Crook. A bend along the length of a board, visible by sighting along one edge. With decking, a slight crook – no more than inch in an 8 foot board – can be corrected when the board is fastened in place.

Crosscut. To saw a piece of lumber perpendicular to its grain or length, i.e. to make it shorter.

Crown. A slight edgewise bow in a board. In framing, the crown edge is placed upward so gravity will, in time, force it down.

Cup. A curve along the width of a board. Usually not a problem for framing lumber. Screw down each side of the board for a slight cup. Don't use any boards with severe cupping.

Decking. The boards that make the walking surface of a deck.

Dimension lumber. Lumber at least 2 inches wide and 2 inches thick that has been cut to modular dimensions.

Edging. Wood used as trim to cover the edges of boards, especially decking.

Elevation. A drawn view of the deck that shows a vertical face.

End grain. Wood fibers which are exposed at the ends of boards.

Fascia. Horizontal trim that covers framing right under the decking.

Finial. An ornament attached to the top of a post or the peak of an arch.

Flashing. Strips of metal, usually galvanized steel or aluminum, used for weather protection.

Footing. A small foundation, usually made of concrete, that supports a post.

Frost heave. The movement of soil caused when soil moisture freezes. Posts and footings that do not extend below the frost line are subject to frost heave.

Frost line. The maximum depth at which the ground in an area freezes during winter.

Flush. On the same plane, or level with, the surrounding surface.

Grain. The direction and pattern of fibers in a piece of wood.

Header. A framing member across the end of the joists.

Heartwood. The center and most durable part of a tree.

Hardwood. Lumber that comes from deciduous trees – no leaves.

Joist. Horizontal framing members that support a floor or ceiling.

Joist hanger. A metal connector used to join a joist to a ledger or rim joist.

KDAT (kiln dried after treatment). Lumber that has been dried after being treated with preservative; more expensive than pressure-treated lumber but less likely to warp.

Kerf. The void created as the blade of a saw cuts through a piece of material.

Lap joint. The joint formed when one member overlaps another.

Ledger.  A horizontal board that supports framing members.

Level. The condition that exists when a surface is horizontal.

Load. Weights and forces that a structure is designed to withstand.

Miter joint. The joint formed when two members meet that have been cut at the same angle (most often 45 degrees).

Molding. Wood that covers exposed edges or serves as decoration.

Nominal dimension. The stated size of a piece of lumber, i.e. 2x4. Actual dimensions are smaller.

On-center (OC). The distance from the center of one regularly spaced member to the center of the next.

Pergola. An open overhead structure designed to provide shade.

Pier. Concrete, usually preformed in a pyramidal shape, used to support a post.

Pilot hole. A hole to prevent splitting the wood when driving a screw or nail.

Plan view. A drawing that shows an overhead view of a deck.

Plumb. The condition that exists when a member is at true vertical, pointing to the earth’s center of gravity.

Plywood. A building material made of sheets of wood veneer laminated with their grain at 90 degrees to each other.

Post. A vertical framing piece that supports a beam or a joist.

Pressure-treated lumber. Lumber and sheet materials with a chemical that is rot resistant.

Rabbet. A step shaped cut along the edge of a piece of wood.

Rail. A horizontal framing member that spans between posts to support balusters and sometimes the cap rail.

Rim joist. A joist at the outside edge of a framing layout.

Rise. Total rise is the vertical distance a stairway climbs. Unit rise is the vertical distance between the surfaces of two consecutive treads.

Riser. A board attached to the vertical cut surface of a stair stringer used to cover the gap between treads and to provide additional tread support.

Rip cut. A cut made parallel to the length of a board or its grain to reduce the boards width.

Ready-mix concrete. Wet concrete delivered by truck ready to pour.

Run. The total horizontal distance a stairway spans from the structure to grade. Unit run is the horizontal depth of a tread cut made in a stringer.

Sealer. A protective coating applied to wood or metal.

Setback. The minimum distance between any structure and property line, per local building codes and zoning.

Set a nail. To drive the head of a nail just below the wood surface.

Shim. A thin strip or wedge of wood or other material used to fill a gap between two adjoining components or to help establish level or plumb.

Site plan. A map of a property that shows major permanent features, such as the house and trees.

Skirt (skirting). Horizontal pieces of lumber installed around the perimeter of a deck to conceal the area below the decking. Skirting could be made of solid boards, either vertical or horizontal, or of lattice.

Sleeper. Horizontal wood member laid directly on the ground, a patio, or a roof to support decking.

Softwood. Lumber from evergreen trees, i.e. trees that do not lose leaves.

Span. The distance traveled by a beam, joist, or decking board between supporting structures.

Square. The condition that exists when one surface is at a 90 degree angle to another, or a tool used to determine square.

Stringer. A sloping board used to support treads and risers on a stairway. Stringers are usually made of 2x12s.

Toenail. To drive a nail at an angle, to hold together two pieces of material.

Tongue-and-groove. Joint using boards that have a projecting tongue on one edge and a matching groove on the opposite edge.

Warp. Any of several lumber defects caused by uneven shrinkage of wood during drying.