Decks and Porches Glossary

by Matt Goering

See if We Have Top-Rated
Deck Builders in Your Area

Related Articles

  • Find Top-Rated Pros
Decks & Porches

Beam: The boards that sit on top of the posts and support the joists.

Cap rail: The horizontal board that runs along the top of all posts and pickets running around a deck.

Decking: The boards that make up the surface of a deck. The decking boards are secured to the joists.

Fascia: Boards that cover the ends of the deck boards and the perimeter joists for decorative purposes.

Footing: Any concrete base embedded in the ground in order to provide the main support for the deck.

Guardrail: A lower, horizontal board that runs across the railing posts.

Joists: The boards that act as support for the decking boards.

Joist Hangers: Metal fasteners that attach joists to ledger board.

Ledger Board: The board that attaches directly to the existing structure or to lateral joists.

Piers: Concrete blocks located above the footing. Usually 6 inches high.

Porch: Any opened or closed, covered projecting entrance to a house or building.

Posts: The vertical supports that rest on piers and support the beam, most often built from 4x4 pieces of lumber.

Post Anchors: The metal brackets that connect the piers to the posts.

Railing Post: The vertical posts that hold the rail.

Rim Joist: The joist which runs up against the joist ends, usually on the far side of the deck, away from the house. Also called the perimeter joist.

Rise: The height of a step.

Riser board: The vertical board attached to the front of a step, between treads.

Run: The length of a step.

Stringer: The end pieces that hold the stairs and steps together, and onto which the treads are attached.

Top rail: The upper, horizontal board that runs between the railing posts.

Tread: Horizontal board that makes each step in a stairway.

Deck Installation Project Guide
If you enjoyed this article, check out our free Deck Installation Guide, which features expert advice, design & material comparisons, and custom price estimates for your remodeling project.
Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.