Flush Vs Dropped Beam-Which Is Best For Your Deck?

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When it comes to building a deck, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is whether to use flush beams or dropped beams in your deck framing. Each option offers its own set of unique advantages and considerations, so it’s important to understand the differences between the two before making a decision. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between flush and dropped beams, discuss the pros and cons of each, and provide tips for choosing the best option for your deck construction project.

Comparing Flush Beams and Dropped Beams

When it comes to choosing the right type of beam for your deck construction, you may be faced with the decision between flush beams and dropped beams. Each option offers unique benefits and considerations that can impact the overall look and stability of your deck.

Flush Beams: Flush beams are installed flush with the joists, providing a more traditional and seamless look to your deck. They require precise planning and construction to ensure proper support and stability.

Dropped Beams: Dropped beams are installed below the joists, offering a contemporary and visually striking design element to your deck. They provide added clearance and headroom beneath the deck, making the space feel more open.

When deciding between flush and dropped beams, consider factors such as design aesthetic, structural requirements, ease of installation, and long-term maintenance to determine which option is best suited for your deck project.

Pros and Cons of Flush Beams in Deck Construction


  • Clean and seamless look
  • Traditional choice
  • May be easier to install in some cases


  • Requires precise planning
  • Potential for less clearance
  • May not suit modern design preferences

Advantages of Dropped Beams for Deck Framing

Dropped beams offer several benefits for deck construction:

Unique and Contemporary Look: Dropped beams create a modern and stylish appearance for your deck, adding visual interest and architectural detail.

Increased Headroom: By lowering the beams below the joists, dropped beams provide more headroom and a more open feel to the space beneath the deck.

Easier Installation and Adjustment: Compared to flush beams, dropped beams are often easier to install and adjust, making them a practical choice for both DIY enthusiasts and those seeking a modern aesthetic.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Flush and Dropped Beams

  • Consider your design preferences and the overall style of your home when selecting between flush and dropped beams
  • Think about the clearance requirements, structural considerations, and ease of installation for each beam type before making a decision
  • Consult with a professional contractor or architect to help determine the best beam option for your specific deck design and construction needs
  • Take into account the maintenance requirements and long-term durability of each beam type to ensure a successful and lasting deck structure

Installation Process for a Deck with a Flush Beam

Properly measuring and aligning the flush beam with the joists is crucial for a stable and secure deck structure.

Follow manufacturer guidelines and local building codes when installing a flush beam to ensure compliance and safety.

Consider using temporary supports during installation to help position and secure the flush beam before permanently attaching it to the joists.

Regular inspections and maintenance are recommended to ensure the flush beam remains in good condition and supports the deck effectively over time.

Tips for Properly Supporting a Deck with Dropped Beams

1. Use adjustable metal brackets or posts to support dropped beams and allow for easy adjustments as needed during installation or over time.

2. Consider adding additional bracing or reinforcement if the deck design or load requirements call for extra support under dropped beams.

3. Consult with a structural engineer or building professional to ensure proper load distribution and support for the dropped beams in your deck framing.

4. Regular inspections and maintenance will help ensure the stability and safety of your deck structure with dropped beams.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Flush Beams in Deck Building

When it comes to using flush beams in deck building, there are several common mistakes that should be avoided to ensure the structural integrity and safety of your deck.

Avoid improper or inadequate support: Not providing sufficient support for flush beams can lead to structural issues and safety hazards over time.

Failure to accurately align and secure beams: Improper alignment and securing of flush beams with the joists can result in an unstable deck and potential collapse.

Neglecting manufacturer guidelines and building codes: Failure to follow proper guidelines and codes during installation can result in costly repairs or violations in the future.

Lack of regular inspection and maintenance: Regular inspections and maintenance of flush beams are essential to prevent sagging, shifting, or failure over time.

Final Thoughts on Selecting the Right Beam for Your Deck

When it comes to choosing the right beam for your deck, it’s important to weigh both aesthetic and practical considerations. Think about the overall design and style you want to achieve, as well as the structural requirements and ease of installation.

Consulting with a professional contractor or architect can provide valuable insights and recommendations based on your specific needs and preferences. They can help ensure that the beam you choose will provide the necessary support and durability for your deck over time.

Regular maintenance and inspections are essential to keep your deck in top condition, regardless of whether you opt for flush beams or dropped beams. By taking the time to select the right beam and properly maintain it, you can enjoy a safe, functional, and visually appealing outdoor space for years to come.


Whether you opt for a flush beam or a dropped beam for your deck construction, it’s essential to consider the design aesthetic, structural requirements, and ease of installation. Flush beams offer a timeless and traditional look but require precise planning and expertise, while dropped beams provide a modern and stylish appearance with added clearance and ease of adjustment. Consulting with a professional and prioritizing regular maintenance will help ensure the longevity and safety of your deck, regardless of the beam type you choose. Select the right beam for your deck based on your preferences and needs to create a beautiful and functional outdoor space for years to come.

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