How to Picture Frame a Deck: Proper Framing & Blocking

Miter Picture Frame Border

Looking for guidance on how to picture frame a deck? You've come to the right place.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN, make sure you've properly spaced and blocked your deck joists and that your deck's substructure is healthy. Please consult all appropriate installation guides.

WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUILD

Design Details >

This guide assumes the use of square-shoulder 5.5" deck boards and 1/8" spacing in a straight, edge-to-edge pattern, with the exception of the border.

Railing Details >

Your railing will either be installed top of the deck boards after their own installation, or you will need to trim your deck boards around the structural 4x4 posts.

How to Picture Frame a Deck: Installation Tips

Estimated based on a 16' x 20' deck; time will vary depending on the size of deck and complexity of the build.

ESTIMATED TIME: Minimum 2 hours

RECOMMENDED MAN-POWER: 1-2 people

PREREQUISITES: Secured framing, properly attached to the house. A confirmed deck design with a miter-corner picture frame.

OVERVIEW

  • Step 1: Install Suggested Blocking
  • Step 2: Cut Your Picture Frame Deck Boards
  • Step 3: Fasten Your Picture Frame Deck Boards
  • Step 4: Fasten Your Infill Deck Boards
  • Step 5: Prolong the Aesthetics of Your Deck

TOOLS YOU'LL NEED

  • Safety glasses
  • Power miter saw / circular saw
  • Cordless driver
  • Exterior-grade construction screws

Many other tools are available that can be used for installation. All tools should be used per applicable manufacturers’ instructions.

CHECK YOUR DECK
Do not move forward until you've confirmed your deck frame is structurally sound.

Step 1: Install Suggested Blocking

BLOCKING YOUR PICTURE FRAME

  • Picture framing requires additional blocking.
  • When a deck board runs the same direction as the joists, additional blocking / joists must be installed to your existing substructure to adequately support and fasten the deck board.
  • All infill deck boards that meet a picture frame boarder must be fully supported beneath the ends of each board.
  • All additional framing / blocking must be in plane across the tops of existing framing members.
  • All blocking / framing must be attached / installed using exterior-grade screws. DO NOT use nails.
  • Additional blocking / joists can be installed at 16” on center, maximum. However, consider installing blocking / joists at 12” on center for a more rigid feel.

Your Decking Masterpiece Needs a Frame

Choose whether you'll add a single, double, or triple picture frame border to your deck, then get the how-to.

SINGLE PICTURE FRAME BLOCKING METHOD

Use 2" x 6" flat blocking to support the mitered corner.

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1. Add Blocking to Corners

  • Place a solid block at all four corners of the deck to support the frame.
  • You will add blocking at even intervals along the perimeter.
Single Picture Frame Continue Blocking along the Edge

2. Continue Blocking Edge

  • Block: 2" x 6". Length of blocking: 3.25".
  • Continue applying blocking along the edge of the deck frame at an interval of 16".
Single Picture Frame Blocking Add Second Joist

3. Add Second Support Joist

  • Add a joist to support the infill deck boards.
  • Place another joist flush along the length of the first.
  • Fasten double joist together with screws.
  • Maintain all other spacing.
Single Picture Frame Substructure Blocking

4. Block Substructure

  • Space joists at 16" on center, max, and double joists to support infill.

DOUBLE PICTURE FRAME BLOCKING METHOD

Use 2" x 6" flat blocking to support the mitered corner.

Double Picture Frame Add Blocking to Corners

1. Add Blocking to Corners

  • Place a solid block at all four corners of the deck, leaving 11" clear space between the inside of the block and the corner. Corner blocking should be 9" x 11".
Double Picture Frame Blocking Add Corner Support Joist

2. Add Corner Support Joist

  • Place corner support joist perpendicular to the blocking.
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3. Add Two Flat Blocks

  • Use two (2) corner blocks, each 2" x 6," cut to 9" length. Combined length of blocking: 18".
Double Picture Frame Continue Blocking along the Edge

4. Continue Blocking Edge

  • Continue applying blocking along the edge of the deck frame at an interval of 16" on-center, max.
Double Picture Frame Blocking Add Second Support Joist

5. Add Second Support Joist

  • Add a joist to support the infill deck boards.
  • Place another joist flush along the length of the first.
  • Fasten double joist together with screws.
  • Maintain all other spacing.
Double Picture Frame Substructure Blocking

6. Block Substructure

  • Space joists at 16" on center, max, and double joists to support infill.

TRIPLE PICTURE FRAME BLOCKING METHOD

Use 2" x 8" flat blocking to support the mitered corner.

Triple Picture Frame Add Blocking to Corners

1. Add Blocking to Corners

  • Place a solid block at all four corners of the deck, leaving 15" clear space between the inside of the block and the inside of the corner. Corner blocking should be 14.5" x 16".
Triple Picture Frame Blocking Add Corner Support Joist

2. Add Corner Support Joist

  • Place corner support joist perpendicular to the blocking, which is set 1-1/2" below the top of the joists to support those flat blocks which will be added in step 3.
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3. Add Two Flat Blocks

  • Use two (2) corner blocks, each 2" x 8", cut to 14" length. Combined length of blocking: 29".
Triple Picture Frame Continue Blocking along the Edge

4. Continue Blocking Edge

  • Continue applying blocking along the edge of the deck frame at an interval of 16" on-center, max.
Triple Picture Frame Blocking Add Second Support Joist

5. Add Second Support Joist

  • Add a joist to support the infill deck boards.
  • Place another joist flush along the length of the first.
  • Fasten double joist together with screws.
  • Maintain all other spacing.
Triple Picture Frame Substructure Blocking

6. Block Substructure

  • Space joists at 16" on center, max, and double joists to support infill.

Step 2: Cut Your Picture Frame Deck Boards

For cutting TimberTech capped composite or capped polymer deck boards, make sure to use an appropriate saw.
NOTE: Do not use cordless saws.

CUTTING TOOLS

Deck Building Power Miter Saw

Power Miter Saw

FOR CUTTING TIMBERTECH DECK BOARDS:
Use a miter saw with a fine-toothed, carbide-tipped finish trim blade (12” 100-tooth or 10” 80-tooth minimum for PRO/EDGE, 90-tooth minimum for AZEK).  

Deck Building Jig Saw

Jig Saw

FOR NOTCHING AROUND RAIL POSTS:
Use a fine-tooth blade. (NOTE: Jig saw can also be used to cut PRO/EDGE decking).

Deck Building Electric Circular Saw

Electric Circular Saw

OTHER METHOD FOR CUTTING TIMBERTECH DECK BOARDS:
Use a 60-tooth fine-finish blade. (NOTE: Electric circular saw can also be used to cut AZEK decking).

TIPS FOR CUTTING PICTURE FRAME DECK BOARDS

  • Use the proper saw and blade.
  • Cut boards one at a time.
  • Confirm that you're cutting at a 45-degree angle.
  • Measure and cut your deck boards to length using a power miter saw or sliding compound power miter saw, depending on board width.
  • Measure twice and cut once.
  • Review additional info on how to cut TimberTech AZEK decking.
Cutting picture frame deck boards

Step 3: Fasten Your Picture Frame Deck Boards

FASTENING TOOLS

Cordless Drill

Cordless Drill

For TimberTech AZEK / PRO / EDGE.

AZEK TOPLoc TTAP Driver Bit

T-Tap Driver Bit

For TimberTech AZEK.

Fastener TOPLoc AZEK Multicolor TimberTech

TOPLoc Color-Matched Fasteners

For TimberTech AZEK.

Fastener TOPLoc Color Matched All Colors TimberTech PRO and EDGE

TOPLoc Color-Matched Fasteners

For TimberTech PRO / EDGE.

Fastener Cortex® for AZEK® Transparent

Cortex® Fasteners

For TimberTech AZEK.

Fastener Cortex® for PRO® & EDGE™ Transparent

Cortex® Fasteners

For TimberTech PRO / EDGE.

FASTENING FOR SINGLE PICTURE FRAME

Single Picture Frame Fastening - Lay Boards and Space Fasteners

Step 1: Lay Your Boards & Space Fasteners

  • Achieve a clean finished look by allowing the picture frame border boards to overhang the outside wood rim joist by ¾”.
  • Installing TimberTech AZEK fascia boards, each of which is ½” thick, will leave a slight (¼”) overhang of the picture frame border.
Single Picture Frame Fastening - Check Fastener Position

Step 2: Check Your Fastener Position

  • For TimberTech AZEK deck boards: You will need three (3) TOPLoc® for AZEK color-matched deck screws, or Cortex®, evenly spaced on both sides of the miter (pictured). Pre-drilling not required for TimberTech AZEK deck boards.
    • Miters must be tight prior to fastening.
    • Fasten along the mitered edge of each picture frame board within ½” of the edge.
  • For TimberTech PRO and EDGE deck boards: You will need two (2) TOPLoc #8 x 2 ½” deck screws, evenly spaced screws on both sides of the miter. Pre-drill the screws.
    • Fasten along the mitered edge of each picture frame board at a minimum of ¾” from any board edge.
Single Picture Frame Fastening - Fasten Frame Boards

Step 3: Fasten Your Frame Boards

  • Border board can be flush to the wood rim if no rim joist is used, or can hang over up to ¾” if TimberTech AZEK fascia is installed.
  • Installing TimberTech AZEK fascia boards, each of which is ½” thick, will leave a slight (¼”) overhang of the picture frame border.

FASTENING FOR DOUBLE PICTURE FRAME

Double Picture Frame Fastening - Lay Boards and Space Fasteners

Step 1: Lay Your Boards & Space Fasteners

  • Achieve a clean finished look by allowing the picture frame border boards to overhang the outside wood rim joist by ¾”.
  • Installing TimberTech AZEK fascia boards, each of which is ½” thick, will leave a slight (¼”) overhang of the picture frame border.
Double Picture Frame Fastening - Check Fastener Position

Step 2: Check Your Fastener Position

  • Picture framing with TimberTech AZEK deck boards:
  • You will need three (3) TOPLoc® for AZEK color-matched deck screws, or Cortex®, evenly spaced on both sides of the miter (pictured). Pre-drilling not required for TimberTech AZEK deck boards.
    • Miters must be tight prior to fastening.
    • Fasten along the mitered edge of each picture frame board within ½” of the edge.
  • Picture framing with TimberTech PRO and EDGE deck boards: You will need two (2) TOPLoc #8 x 2 ½” deck screws, evenly spaced screws on both sides of the miter. Pre-drill the screws.
    • Fasten along the mitered edge of each picture frame board at a minimum of ¾” from any board edge.
Double Picture Frame Fastening - Fasten Frame Boards

Step 3: Fasten Your Frame Boards

  • Border board can be flush to the wood rim if no rim joist is used, or can hang over up to ¾” if TimberTech AZEK fascia is installed.
  • Installing TimberTech AZEK fascia boards, each of which is ½” thick, will leave a slight (¼”) overhang of the picture frame border.

FASTENING FOR TRIPLE PICTURE FRAME

Triple Picture Frame Fastening - Lay Boards and Space Fasteners

Step 1: Lay Your Boards & Space Fasteners

  • Achieve a clean finished look by allowing the picture frame border boards to overhang the outside wood rim joist by ¾”.
  • Installing TimberTech AZEK fascia boards, each of which is ½” thick, will leave a slight (¼”) overhang of the picture frame border.
Triple Picture Frame Fastening - Check Fastener Position

Step 2: Check Your Fastener Position

  • Picture framing with TimberTech AZEK deck boards: You will need three (3) TOPLoc® for AZEK color-matched deck screws, or Cortex®, evenly spaced on both sides of the miter (pictured). Pre-drilling not required for TimberTech AZEK deck boards.
    • Miters must be tight prior to fastening.
    • Fasten along the mitered edge of each picture frame board within ½” of the edge.
  • Picture framing with TimberTech PRO and EDGE deck boards: You will need two (2) TOPLoc #8 x 2 ½” deck screws, evenly spaced screws on both sides of the miter. Pre-drill the screws.
    • Fasten along the mitered edge of each picture frame board at a minimum of ¾” from any board edge.
Triple Picture Frame Fastening - Fasten Frame Boards

Step 3: Fasten Your Frame Boards

  • Border board can be flush to the wood rim if no rim joist is used, or can hang over up to ¾” if TimberTech AZEK fascia is installed.
  • Installing TimberTech AZEK fascia boards, each of which is ½” thick, will leave a slight (¼”) overhang of the picture frame border.

FASTENING TIMBERTECH AZEK PICTURE FRAME BOARDS
TimberTech AZEK decking can also be installed using Cortex®.
For additional tips on TimberTech AZEK installs, visit the Deck Building Resource Center.

NOTE

TimberTech does not recommend any fastener that is not explicitly stated in the TimberTech Decking Installation Guide. Use of any alternative fastener does not void the TimberTech warranty; however, if a decking failure is caused by using one of these alternative fastening methods, any corresponding claims will be denied.

Step 4: Fasten Your Infill Deck Boards

lay infill boards to fill deck surface
To Install

The Remaining Deck Boards

  • Complete fastening the picture frame boards along the perimeter of the deck.
  • Measure the length between the picture frame boards:
    • If using AZEK decking, keep ends tight to the picture frame border.
      • Each end of infill boards: Use two (2) screws within ½" ends.
    • If using TimberTech PRO or EDGE, provide gap at the ends of infill boards, per BUTT JOINT GAPPING REQUIREMENTS chart.
      • Each end of infill boards: Pre-drill and fasten two (2) screws within ¾” from edges.
  • Install the infill deck boards per the installation instructions.

GET THE RIGHT INFO FOR YOUR CHOSEN DECKING LINE
Explore the Deck Building Resource Center to get installation tips for the specific TimberTech decking line you choose for your project.

NOTE

The techniques shown should be used for best results. Results may vary, as expansion and contraction could still occur. AZEK Building Products Inc. claims no liability or responsibility for the improper installation of this product. Since all installations are unique, it is the sole responsibility of the installer to determine specific requirements in regard to each decking application. AZEK Building Products recommends that all designs be reviewed by a licensed architect, engineer or local building official before installation. Please contact AZEK Customer Service prior to installing if you have question or concerns.

Step 5: Prolong the Aesthetics of Your Deck

While TimberTech capped composite and capped polymer decking is specifically engineered for enduring beauty, it's always wise to keep your backyard build free of dirt, debris, and spills. To maximize the aesthetics of your deck, we recommend using TimberTech® DeckCleaner™.

deckcleaner resize

USE THE APPROPRIATE BRUSH
When cleaning your TimberTech AZEK decking with DeckCleaner, use a stiff, natural-fiber brush. When cleaning TimberTech PRO or EDGE decking with DeckCleaner, use a medium-to-stiff nylon brush.

For full details on keeping your capped composite deck looking as great on day 1,000 as day 1, read more over on Care & Cleaning



Invest in Your Deck's Beauty

Keep surface buildup at bay with TimberTech® DeckCleaner™ featuring our effective, non-toxic and bleach-free formula. Makes cleaning a breeze for small spots or entire deck surfaces.

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