How to Frame Corners and Curves
You need to put in a little extra work to get a unique deck with inside corners, curves, and more. With our help, we promise it'll all be worth it.
Many alterations in the design of a basic deck can't be accomplished without modifying the framing. For example, you can visualize a wraparound deck as two decks with common framing, but each side will require its own ledger. Curves will add style to a deck, but will need joists cut in a contour. To learn how to do all this and more, take a look at our handy steps below. We'll show you how to make alterations yourself so you can make a deck or patio exactly how you imagine it to look.
What You Need
- Framing hammer
- Measuring tape
- Framing square
- Speed square
- Cordless drill
- Circular saw
- Carpenter's level
- Chalk line
Alternate Framing Patterns for Wraparound Decks
Framing for a wraparound deck will almost always be determined by the decking pattern you choose. Pick the pattern when you plan your deck, and install the framing accordingly.
Framing a Wraparound Corner
A wraparound deck needs support along two sides of the house, and that means two ledgers. Lay out both sides of the deck as single units and install the ledgers. Put the ledgers on different planes for a step-down design.
Framing the Inside Corner
Most decks on the inside corners of a house will need two ledgers. But before you lay out the site, check the corner for square. If the house is badly out of square, install one ledger, but treat the other as a rim joist — which will require posts and footings set close to the house.
Making a Framing Scribe: Lay Out Large Curves
Before you make a framing scribe, be sure to make a scaled drawing of your deck plan so you will know exactly where the center point of the curve falls on the framing.
Using your dimensioned plan, fasten a rectangular piece of plywood over the location of the center point. Mark the center point on the plywood and fasten a 1x4 scribe with one nail, centering the nail on the scribe and the center-point mark on the plywood.
Measure from the nail out to the end of the 1x4 and cut it at the length of the radius of the curve. Move the end of the scribe from one joist to the next, marking each with the angle at which the 1x4 crosses it.
Framing a Curve
Step 1: Mark Curves
Lay out the site and set posts, beams, and joists, keeping them at the proper spacing with a 1x4 tacked to their top edges. Make a framing scribe, fasten it in place, and mark the outline of the curve on each joist. Duplicate the angle of the scribe where it intersects each joist.
Step 2: Make Cuts
Using a speed square, transfer both ends of the angled marks to the sides of each joist. Cut the angled end with a reciprocating saw, making sure the blade does not wander away from either line.
Step 3: Attach Benderboard
Measure the circumference of the arc and either cut benderboard or 1x stock to fit. Saw kerfs in 1x stock every 3/8 to 1/2 inch so the board will bend around the curve. Fasten the benderboard or kerfed stock to the ends of the joists, adding perpendicular blocking where necessary.