Western Red Cedar (Thuja Plicata) decking is life affirming. It is truly people friendly. Natural cedar feels different; its low density makes it an excellent thermal insulator which means its super comfortable to walk on even on a super hot day. Natural cedar isn’t prone to get slippery when wet and naturally inherent properties cause cedar decking to remain sound and perform for decades.


Concepts & Design

  • Take a look at the space you have available. Consider features you might want to include (BBQ, sitting area, dining area, sun bathe, shade); and constraints (views, elevations, privacy, door locations, windows, sidewalks, stairs, etc.). Multiple tiers can effectively accommodate changes in elevation and primary function.
  • Picture yourself using the space. If you wish to provide shelter from wind or the hot sun, incorporate screening or a pergola into your design. Map out your seating areas, place the BBQ, and other daily needs. Than take a serious look at how the traffic would flow, make sure it won’t be disruptive. Place commonly used stairs away from your leisure space.
  • 12×12 is an effective living circle, striking a good balance between personal space and intimacy in a small group setting. Large groups tend to fragment based on shared interests. Hence, multiple spaces are an effective way to engage a larger group of people.

Construction tips

  • 8’ – 10’ is suitable for personal use, 10’ – 12’ is a good size for couples or a small family, 12’ and beyond is better suited to larger families and groups.
  • Maximum joist spacing for decking support is 16” on 5/4 board and 24” on 2×6 decking.
  • Blind fastening systems are available and can be an aesthetically pleasing option.
  • Joist and beam sizing is dependant on spans and the size of your deck. (See Maximum Span Calculator for Wood Joist & Rafters)
  • Plan to offset the stairs from your main living area so through traffic flows off to the side. Accurately anticipating logistical needs will greatly enhance overall functionality. Whenever possible, make the stairs at least 4 feet wide to avoid overcrowding.
  • Standard deck stairs have 7” rise and 11” runs. Odd size steps can be a tripping hazard.
  • After you start construction, keep you primary wood pile covered with a lumber tarp at all times, especially on hot days. This, more than anything else will help your building materials stay straight!


    • Standard post spacing for deck railings is 6’ per section.
    • Common railing heights are 36” for decks up to 6′ high and 42” for anything higher. Always check local building code for detailed guidelines and specific requirements.
    • Typically, decks less than 24” off the ground do not require a railing; however, stair railings tend to be useful regardless of deck height.
    • Palings come in a variety of sizes and finishes. Cedar: 3×3, 2×2, 5/4×4, 1×6, square, sculptured, turned, fluted. Aluminum: round, flat, square. Glass panels or glass palings. Custom.
    • For privacy or wind protection, horizontal slat walls look great. Lattice is another good option. 7′ is an effective height in most applications. In consideration of increased wind load, post intervals of 4′ increments will provide good support.