hydrangeas interfering with deck install - diagonal decking

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I’m building a DIY floating deck in my back yard! Catch the whole thing, start to finish, right here. In this chapter, I’m covering the details on decking on a 45-degree angle.

Hey hey! I know some of you have been waiting since last month’s post for the next update on my ground-level deck, and here it is!

how to install diagonal decking - diy floating deck

The last time I posted about the deck, it was a full recap on all of the things required to ensure a solid foundation, water resistance, type of wood to buy for the frame, etc. Since there has been way too much info to cover everything in a single post, I’ve been dividing it all into separate parts.

And now, it’s onto the the next step: decking on a 45-degree angle.

Watch the video

This was one of the most exciting completion steps for me, since this is when you start to see the deck really come together.

floating deck before trimming down all edges

Tools & materials used:

Laying the deck at a diagonal:

Getting the 45-degree angle was easier than I thought it was going to be. I think the main reason for that is because the angle was spot-on from the frame underneath. To make sure I kept my alignment correct, every now and then, I’d extend a board with a square edge perpendicular to the 45-degree angle I was laying the boards to. As long as the bit hanging off of the other end was even and not crooked, I was good to go.

full frame of floating deck

(I know it looks like Stella might be having a, erm, private moment here, but this is actually how she sits in the heat. Go figure.)

I planned for a 1-inch overhang on all sides, but it really only mattered when fastening the first deck board on. After that, I just kept the ends jagged and hanging off; I would later trim all of the other sides down to continue the 1-inch overhang.

overhang of deck boards

Using a deck fastening system:

The new decking tool was simple enough to use, and I bought it for two specific features:

  • It worked almost like a clamp, expanding itself over the edges of each deck board. When clamped down on the board, its metal tabs provided a consistent 1/16″ gap between each board. I think this is plenty, since I did most of my install between rain storms (this has been the wettest summer!). As the deck boards have since had time to dry out, they have a little bit larger of a gap now. I think if I had gone with something wider initially, it would look too gapped by now.
  • Once clamped onto the deck, it had a screw guide on each end to guide one of the specialty screws at an exact angle so as to fasten the deck right at the edge of the board. This makes the whole deck pretty much look fastener-free. It doesn’t work for the very ends when you have a little bit of an overhang, but I don’t mind having just a few screws visible.
  • I bought the CAMO materials as separate items, but sometimes it’s sold as a whole kit as well. Note that they work as a system together, so you’ll need to invest in buying the screws that match up to the tool if you go the same route as I did. I had enough screws to last me through my deck, the pub shed deck, and the pub shed bar… so they go a long way! No regrets!
  • Since the CAMO screw box comes with two bits to use with the screws, I found using multiple drills and impact drivers at the same time sped things up a good bit. K and I could both work on the same board at once and just pass the guide tool in between.

Seams and supports: fight the wiggle

When I started with the first board, I realized that I didn’t have enough support where the deck went over the patio. It was easily fixed with a few scrap pieces added in, but the rest of the deck’s framework needed no modifications.

first part of deck frame is too weak - need to add supports

The boards I bought were only 12 feet long. The store might also sell 16′, but even that wasn’t going to be long enough to extend over the longest parts of the deck. That meant I would have to lay two boards side by side in multiple places along the deck. It’s probably no surprise that I have notes for you on that, too!

Work in a Z pattern: When one board wasn’t long enough to span a single row, I used a full board, then cut off another piece to fit the remainder. On the next row, I again used a full board, but started from the other end (where the shorter piece from the previous row was). I would usually then be able to use another cut piece for the rest of the row, and so on. Doing this Z pattern of swapping which end to start with a full piece resulted in fewer seams meeting up across rows, so they weren’t as noticeable.

Square up the seam: I found that the edge of most of the deck boards to be slightly off square. Using my miter saw, I squared them up and was able to lay them side by side with almost no perceptible gap. Just be sure to lay the board so that both ends, when laid side by side, are well-supported at this seam. Add another support if not, or move the seam to . Test before screwing them in that you can step on top without any wiggle (that seam will only get weaker over time if so).

example of support underneath deck

Use clamps where possible

Pressure treated wood is often wet when purchased, and the rain continued to wet down my boards as I installed. So, it was inevitable that some of the meticulously-checked straight boards I bought warped a little once they were home and drying out. I was able to fight a lot of it by regularly flipping boards on a flat surface so that they could dry evenly, but I still wound up with a few that twisted on the ends and such. For this, clamps were my best friend. I would also sometimes position the boards so that the warped part got cut off once the deck was trimmed down to its actual shape.

Trim back surrounding plants

Something I know I could have made the job easier on myself, but didn’t: trimming back plants! Installation happened right as my hydrangeas were blooming like crazy, and I hated the idea of chopping them down to make it easier to access one of the corners of the deck. I eventually did, but if you watch the video, you’ll see one funny part where I’m basically installing with a faceful of blooms.

hydrangeas interfering with deck install

Before long… boom! Deck finished, and time to celebrate. (Psst, for more celebrating shenanigans from Charlie, watch the video.)

celebrating finished deck install

Ok, so not exactly totally finished when the decking is in place. In the next part of the deck series, I’ll have to walk you through how to trim the boards to a straight line and round off the end. Then we’ll install some steps, improve the landscaping, stain, and more. But this was a huge step! More soon.

DIY Floating Deck Series

DIY Floating Deck Series

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  1. Your links all seem to go to the main Target website. I don’t think that’s your intent as they don’t seem like the place to buy a specialty decking tool. Might want to check things over.

  2. Looks great! I love darker stains like mahagony & black cherry! Poor little pup! She doesn’t like the grass tickling her tush!

    1. Thanks! I am thinking of going black with the deck furniture, so maybe something lighter on the deck itself, like a Golden Brown that’s a little darker than the house color?? I would love gray but it would clash with the house color too much (and the roof color is on the reddish side too, ugh).

      1. Love black deck furniture – looks cleaner longer :) I see your point about tying it into to house & roof. Hmmm …. mixture of Walnut and Golden Oak? Stains are my only frame of reference.

        1. I’ll be picking up samples tonight and sharing on IG stories (@uglyducklingDIY) but it’s going to be similar. I’m going with opaque stain so that it lasts longer on the wood.

    1. 5/4″, and we got the longest ones we could since diagonal installation would require longer boards for fewer seams!

  3. I’m wondering how the Camo system is holding up. I am doing a deck project and was sold on using it but have seen mixed reviews about its holding power. Are all of your deck boards still solidly attached to the joists? Also, did you let your deck boards dry out before you put them on, or did you install them right after purchasing?


    1. I let them sit in my yard for pretty much the whole summer as I installed, so they got wet and dried out and got wet a lot. I’ve seen the gaps get larger over the last year (as I expected, since wood will shrink and expand, which is why I was comfortable installing them with almost no gap with the CAMO deck fastener setup). I screwed them in everywhere I could, and they’ve held up extremely well! Deck is still nice and solid.

  4. This series of posts is amazing! I’d been thinking about building a deck in our backyard and after reading these posts, I decided to do it! It isn’t as complicated, shape-wise, as yours (mine is a 16’ x 12’ rectangle with 2’ squares cut out of each corner), but the space it went into didn’t need anything complicated. I also decided to attach the deck boards perpendicular to the joists rather than diagonally. I used the concrete deck blocks as the foundation, which was a great suggestion, and followed most of your other steps as well, including using flashing tape on the joists and the Camo fastener system. The thing I was most scared of? Cutting the edges off the boards into a straight line. I didn’t have a super straight board, but snapped a chalk line and (after a lot of talking to myself) just went for it! It’s not 100% perfectly straight, but I did it! Thank you so much for the inspiration!!!

    1. I’d love to see photos if you feel like emailing me! I’m so happy for you because I KNOW how proud of yourself you must be. Building a deck is a huge accomplishment!