Deck Terminology: A Handy Guide for Better Communication with Deck Builders and Repairs

deck skirting

If you are a homeowner with a deck, it’s important to know the right names for different parts of your deck. Understanding deck terminology can be incredibly helpful when communicating with a deck builder or requesting repairs. It allows you to accurately describe the issues or modifications you need, making the communication process smoother and more efficient. In this article, we will provide a handy guide to common deck terminology, so you can confidently discuss your deck with professionals and ensure that your deck is built, repaired, or modified to your satisfaction.


Joists are the horizontal beams that form the framework of a deck. They are usually made of pressure-treated lumber or other durable materials and are typically spaced parallel to each other and attached to the ledger board or the beams. Joists provide support for the decking boards and transfer the load of the deck to the beams and posts.


Beams are the horizontal structural members that support the weight of the deck and transfer it to the posts or other supporting elements. They are typically larger and stronger than joists and are usually made of pressure-treated lumber or other sturdy materials. Beams are typically positioned perpendicular to the joists and are supported by posts or columns.


Posts are the vertical structural members that support the beams and the deck above. They are usually made of pressure-treated lumber, steel, or other durable materials, and are typically anchored to the ground or attached to footings. Posts provide stability and strength to the deck, and their spacing and size depend on the design and load requirements of the deck.

Ledger Board

The ledger board is a horizontal board that is attached to the house or structure and serves as the main support for the deck. It is typically attached to the house with lag bolts or other suitable fasteners and provides stability and structural support to the deck. The ledger board is an essential component of a deck, and it’s important to ensure that it is properly attached and flashed to prevent moisture damage to the house.

Decking Boards

Decking boards are the horizontal boards that make up the surface of the deck. They are typically made of wood, composite, or other decking materials and are attached to the joists with screws or nails. Decking boards can be grooved, smooth, or textured, and they come in various sizes and styles. They are the part of the deck that you walk on and provide the aesthetic appeal of the deck.


Railings are the vertical or horizontal structural elements that provide safety and support to the deck. They are typically made of wood, metal, or other materials, and are used to prevent falls and provide a barrier around the perimeter of the deck. Railings can have different styles and designs, and they often include posts, balusters or spindles, and a top rail or handrail.

Balusters or Spindles

Balusters or spindles are the vertical elements that are used in railings to provide support and prevent falls. They are typically made of wood, metal, or other materials, and are spaced evenly between the posts to create a barrier. Balusters or spindles can come in various shapes and designs, such as square, round, or decorative, and they are an important safety feature of a deck.

Deck skirting

Deck skirting is any material that covers the gap between the ground and the flooring of your deck. It can be purely aesthetic or used to keep out wildlife. Learn more about deck skirting here.


Footings are the structures that support the posts and provide stability to the deck. They are typically made of concrete and are installed in the ground below the frost line to prevent movement or settling of the deck. Footings are an essential part of the deck’s foundation and ensure that the deck remains stable and secure.


Fasteners are the hardware used to attach decking boards to the joists. While there are multiple options for fastening the boards, such as decking plug systems, deck fasteners remain the most popular option.

By Synthia

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