I'm going to be building a deck and would like to know the best way to attach joist hangers. (It's low to the ground and beams under the joists would result in trenches and that would also block water drainage).

What I usually do is install the beam and nail through the end of beam into the joist. Then I put the hanger on. This allows me to position it such that the top of the beam (or rim joist) and joist are perfectly flush. It's alot more work though. I really don't want to waste nails or have them showing on the outside though.

I've also attached them first and then installed the beam, but then I'm shaving off the tops of joists where they're a wee bit high and I'm shimming the low ones. No good.

What do you do?

Thanks,
Jason