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How To Lay Deck Boards (and hide the screws!)

If you’re building a wood deck, you’re probably wondering how to lay deck boards and better yet…is there a way to install deck boards and hide the screws? With the Kreg Deck Jig you can easily get the concealed deck look in 4 easy steps.

Thank you to Kreg for wood deck project! All opinions are entirely my own. This post also contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t recommend wholeheartedly. Read my full disclosure here.

Last summer when we completed our big backyard makeover, we removing a cracked concrete landing pad and ramp at the backdoor.

Since we were a little busy with planting new grass seed and installing a new paver patio, firepit and playground – we opted to just down landscape fabric and gravel in this area in the backyard.

We had planned to come back this year and build a deck to match the old wooden deck on the side of our house that we restored a couple of years ago.

Before pictures

View of the backyard showing the landscape fabric and gravel in the area with two wooden chairs before the makeover
Before of the backyard showing the back door, wooden step, window and two wooden chairs

Kreg Deck Jig: Overview

If you’ve been around a while, you know that we are big fans of the Kreg pocket hole system. So when our friends at Kreg reached out to tell us about their Deck Jig system, we jumped at the chance to try it on the wood deck we had planned for the backyard this summer.

The awesome part about the Kreg Deck Jig is that you are able to completely conceal to screws by attaching the deck boards with angled screws along the edges of the deck boards!

Close up of the Kreg deck jig on the wooden background

Kreg Deck Jig Features

  • The jig itself has an easy-grip handle that gives you a secure hold and complete control over each and every joint.
  • There are three separate Drill Guides that allow you to install the deck boards in a variety of hard to reach places – like along the edge of the deck where it means a wall
  • The drill guides are lined with hardened steel (just like Kreg’s pocket hole system) to keep your drill bit and driver at the precise, optimal angle.
  • Kreg Deck Jig comes with the handy spacer rings (those are the red things) that ensure accurate deck board spacing for proper drainage between the deck boards and lead to a longer deck life.
  • You can use the jig on solid wood decks (like we were) or even composite decking.
  • Depending on the screw size that you choose, you install 4/4, 5/4, or “2 by” decking. We used 2×6 deck boards.
Close up of the deck jig drill guides

For this wood deck, we teamed up with our friends Kreg again to create the woodworking plans! We are sharing the plans and a full detailed tutorial for the whole deck for free over at KregTool.com!

How to Lay Deck Boards: A Step-by-Step Guide

Today we’re just going just focus on one step of the bigger deck build and show you how to lay deck boards using the Kreg Deck Jig! If you want to see how to build the rest of the deck & get free plans with measurements, hop over to this post!

Wood attached forming a deck frame

Step 1. Start with a strong foundation.

Before even start to lay deck boards, you need to have a strong foundation! That means:

Once you have those items in place and ready to go, you can move on to laying the deck boards with the Kreg Deck Jig!

Close up of the deck jig getting the driver bit and drill bit stop collars on

Step 2. Set up your deck jig

If you are using the Kreg Deck Jig for the first time, there is some minor assembly that will only take you a few minutes. Refer to your instructions for the details, but essentially all you need to do is attach the drill guides to the jig using the provided screws and add some rubber feet to the bottom of the jig.

Next, you’ll need to set the depth collar of the drill bit and driver bit. The process is a little different if you are using grooved decking or non-grooved decking.

We are using non-grooved decking, so we used the recessed slots on the top of the jig that are labeled “drill bit setting” and “driver bit setting”. You simply place the drill bit and driver bit into the slots and align them with the dashed lines. Then put the stop collars in the slots and tighten them in place with a hex wrench. Refer to your instructions for detailed pictures of this process.

For grooved decking, it’s a little different. You set the stop collars on the drill bit and driver bit by holding the jig up to a piece of decking and aligning it to the grooves.

Once your stop collars are on, you’re ready to get started laying the deck boards.

Laying deck boards with the deck jig from Kreg is easy!

Step 3. Lay deck boards

Place your first deck board on the frame and make sure it’s nice and straight. We started with the deck board furtherest from the house and used a mason line to ensure it was straight.

Before you add the rest of the deck boards, attach your trim to the edges of the deck frame, screwing it in from the back so the screws are concealed.

To use the Kreg Deck Jig, set it on top of the deck board and align the drill guide to the joist underneath. Pre-drill a pilot hole using the drill bit and drive it until the stop collar touches the top of the drill guide. Keep the Deck Jig in place.

Kreg screws in container on top of the wood deck boards
Use Kreg’s deck screws which are made for the Deck Jig!
Woman pointing to the deck jig on top of the wood showing how to line up the deck jig to the joists in the deck frame
Use the lines on the deck jig to line up your joists

Next, grab a deck screw and add it to the end of driver bit. Place it in the drill guide and drive the screw into the same hole that you just pre-drilled. Continue driving until the stop collar touches the top of the drill guide. Now you can remove the Deck Jig.

Work your way down an entire deck board on one side, adding a pilot hole and driving a screw with the Deck Jig at every joist location.

Close up to the deck jig with driver bit laying deck boards on top of wood deck frame

Next, move to the other side of the deck board and continue. You want to have a screw going into both sides of the board at every joist.

Use the red spacer rings in between the deck boards to keep the proper spacing. The spacer rings allow for 1/4″ spacing, which allows debris to fall through boards and air to circulate under the deck to make sure there’s no moisture building up.

Man attaching wood corner with screws using deck jig and drill using the angled drill guide
Man laying deck boards using drill and deck jig

Kreg Deck Jig – Drill Guide Hole Placement

Whenever possible, try to use the center drill guide to drive the screws into the deck board. Use the lines on the jig to make sure the joist is lined up and your drilling the screw into the center of the joist.

In some cases, you won’t be able to to use the center drill guide. For instance, if the edge is obstructed, you’re splicing two deck boards on the center of one joist, or along the edge of the deck where you’re up against a wall… you will need to use the angled drill guides to get the screws in.

When you can’t position the jig effectively (like for the last row of deck boards along the house), you can drive a face screw into the top of the board.

There are several scenarios of drill guide hole placements outlined in the Kreg Deck Jig instructions if you get stuck.

Close up of the backyard with wood deck board attached

There you have it, that is how you lay deck boards using the Kreg Deck Jig. I’m so glad that you we decided to incorporate the jig because now we have a beautiful wooden deck without a bunch of screws on the top.

Full view of the backyard with wood deck board with two black chairs and center table with plants under the window and back door after the makeover

You really are able to see the beauty of the wood – rather than a bunch of screws!

Side view of the backyard with wood deck and black chairs, center table and plants as decor
Close up of the wood deck in the backyard

Let’s take a look at the before and afters!

Before view of the backyard with gravel and concrete deck
After view of the backyard with wood deck
View of the old deck with concrete and gravel flooring with text overlay that says before
After view of the backyard with wood deck

Don’t forget to hop over to KregTool.com to check out the full step by step tutorial for how to build this wood deck and download the free woodworking plans!

Full view of backyard with wood deck, chairs, center table, plants, windows and back door

Do you have any more questions about how to lay deck boards or using the Kreg Deck Jig?

Let us know in the comments below!

Collage of backyard before wood deck installation with kreg jig and screws, man holding kreg jig laying deck boards and after the installation of wood deck in the backyard with text overlay that says how to lay deck boards

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