Undertaking a new outdoor decking project can seem like a daunting task. Whether you’re doing a complete overhaul with a general contractor and their crew, or just some minor upkeep of your existing deck — there’s still a lot of information you need to know before any hammering, pouring, or cutting takes place. This commonly revolves around the often-confusing deck terms decking and home improvement industries. 

So to help you, we’ve assembled a list of the most commonly used, and sometimes misunderstood deck terms you’ll need to know to have a successful and pain-free build. 


Firstly, balusters, sometimes known as spindles, are vertical posts on the deck’s railing. 


Heavy framing members that support the joists by attaching to the posts. 


These are short pieces of wood that exist between joists. They strengthen the framing and help to keep the joists from twisting.

Capillary Breaks

A waterproof material in between gaps to prevent water damage. 


These are concrete columns supporting the posts from below the deck. 

Galvanized Steel

A corrosion-proof material that has been coated with zinc. 


Horizontal frames that attach to the top of the beam, or flush with the ledger, and offer support for the deck. Also, a header has fasteners at each end of the deck’s interior joints. 

Joist hangers

These are metal fasteners that hold the joists in place at the ends of each board. 


A piece of wood is attached to the side of the house to give support to one side of the deck. 


A platform at the bottom of the stairs, that has the same width as the stairs, to offer support. 


These are pre-shaped concrete pyramids, made for in-ground footings, and designed to support the posts. 

Post anchors

These anchors attach posts to both piers and footings, to elevate the base to keep it away from consistent water collection and subsequent damage. 


Larger planks of wood that lie vertically to support the deck’s frame. Likewise, they can remain under the deck, or rise above to support railings. 

Pressure-Treated Wood

Lumber has been laced with chemicals to resist insect damage, rot, and other forms of decay. 


These are usually boards that cover vertical areas between stairway treads.


Lastly, stringers are narrow frames that lie diagonally and support stair treads. 


The horizontal surface of steps.

We hope this quick list of commonly used deck terms will come in handy when speaking to your deck builders, contractor, or specialist at your local home improvement store. As you construct your outdoor deck, you will want to make sure you waterproof it correctly. Therefore, working with WICR Decking & Waterproofing is an excellent option. 

In conclusion, our team of experts has the knowledge, experience, and expertise to keep your outdoor structures looking great and staying sturdy for years to come. Schedule a free consultation today!