The proper deck joist span (distance between supporting beams below the joists) for your deck should be known before you start building and is needed to draft your deck plan. The spans of joists varies based upon several factors: joist size, spacing between joists, decking material and wood species.
Deck Joist Span Calculator When it comes to the anatomy of a deck , joists are part of a deck’s framing system. Each joist is one of a series of long, horizontal structures that support the decking itself.
Most decks use 16" on center spacing for joists. Most decking is not strong enough to support longer spans than 16". Some builders reduce joist spacing to 12" on center to strengthen the deck frame or to increase maximum allowable joist spans.
The decking span you choose will effect the feel and potentially the safey of your deck. So read on and learn a little bit about what affects the strength of your decking - like material and joist spacing.
The table makes it easier for deck builders to accurately size deck joists and for inspectors to check decks for adequate framing. I asked my local building official how he checks a deck plan to make sure the joist size and spacing combination will meet the code.
One 2x12 joist that is 25 feet long at it's weakest point can support over 1000 pounds at it's weakest point(the center). So assuming they stuck with building codes and have a supporting joist running through the center of the 2x12s, you can hold about 3000 pounds at any spot in the room(the edges near the walls are many times stronger).
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