deck board spacing question

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Old 05-18-04, 09:54 AM
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deck board spacing question

OK, I bought the pt 5/4x6 boards for my deck and they are fairly "wet" still. I put galvanized flashing under the siding and over the ledger and cut the flashing to rest on the joists and to aim down away from the ledger. The 1st course of decking boards along the house are slightly angled away from the house and toward the deck. Now, i am almost ready to run all the decking boards to the opposite side of the deck. My questions are:

1) I bought the lumber from Home Cheapo and got the best I could find (I needed 93 boards mixed 8 and 12ft lengths). My concern is boards that are not exactly straight. How do I keep the boards "spaced" properly to get to the opposite side of the deck and be able to cut a straight board instead of a wedge?
2) I am assuming NO spacing where possible (unless it is bent a bit), is that correct?
3) Do I assume the last piece to be the cut piece out on the outer edge of the deck OR run a few slightly trimmed (width decrease) boards when coming to the end?
4) Where some boards are a little bent a gap will exist at regions. Will this periodic gap become less obviouse as the boards shrink when drying?

Any/all help is highly appreciated. Peace: e3
 
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  #2  
Old 05-18-04, 01:34 PM
thevolcanogod
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I have heard that some people use those square carpenter’s pencils to space the boards. Start at one end and every time you get to a joist, put the pencil in and bend the board so that you get the proper spacing and nail it in and move on to the next joist.

Make sure you “crown” your boards – for slightly warped boards, put the board down so it looks like an arch, not like a smiley face.
 
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Old 05-19-04, 12:48 PM
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If you butt the boards, they will squeeze together when wet, won't drain water off well, and will trap leaves, pine needles, etc. between them.
I live in a humid climate and use a # 16 nail for a spacer.
Drive a nail or nail a piece of scrap 2X in the middle of the joist and use a crowbar against it and the board to pry warped boards over to keep the spaces even as you go.
As thevolcanogod said, turn the boards so that the bark side is up and the grain is curved down to help prevent cupping and warping.
When you get near the edge, try to end up with at least half a 5/4X6, nail it to match the rest ofa the spacing, and let it overhang the edge to make up for any uneveness.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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Old 05-19-04, 07:15 PM
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Since the boards are still green, or "wet", I would use the 16d nail as a spacer, like Mike suggested. The boards are going to shrink when they dry, and your gaps will be pushing 1/4" when that happens. A carpenter's pencil will start the gap out at 1/4" -- that would result in gaps pushing 1/2" in August!!

You're right -- you don't want the last board to be a "wedge". Keep measuring IN from the outside facia board as you lay the decking, You can adjust a little at a time as you get closer to the facia. Be more concerned about that than the actual spacing between the deck boards. In 2 years the spacing isn't going to be anylhing like it is when you put it down anyway!!!
 
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Old 05-20-04, 07:24 AM
ChipJ
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Spacing

I built my deck last fall with pressure treated decking. I ended up butting the decking together with no spacing. The only spacing was where boards may not have been straight. I am glad I did that, because now there is an 1/8" - 1/4" gap between the boards. I think this is a good space. My recommendations would to but the boards. That is my 2 cents based on my own experience.

As far as the end boards, lay out the decking before you attach it. Space it however you are going to space it. That way you can see exactly where the end piece will end up. You can make your cuts accordingly. Cosmetically I don't think you would want one skinny board at the end. You may want to even take a bit of the very first course, against the house.
 
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Old 05-20-04, 09:33 AM
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ChipJ: Thanks for the reply. I would lay the boards out but I need to run out 20ft. So that turns out to be approx. 43 courses of boards. I will go nuts doing that and then removing, cutting, and then screwing them home (spaced or not-spaced). My next question for everyone is:

The deck is 19 ft wide and I bought 12ft and 8ft boards. I want to minimize the number of joints between the board ends on the deck but also want to have a random pattern. Can I get some thoughts on whether I should use, only 2 boards per course (ie. 8ft and 11 ft - stagger every other) OR some courses with 2 boards some with 3 (8ft and 11 ft , next 6ft, 8ft, 5ft) etc?

Does my wording make sense? If I go with only 2 boards I will have the same seam every other course going down the middle of the deck.
 
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Old 05-20-04, 05:45 PM
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spamman,

I would make the pattern more random than just 2 boards per course (an 8 and a 12) and alternate. That would put all of your joints on just 2 joists, with just a board between the joints. Your idea of putting 3 boards on some of the courses and 2 on others will (IMHO) give you a better looking deck. The other alternative would have been to use 20' boards and have no joints.
 
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Old 05-20-04, 09:55 PM
vmg_inc
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Lightbulb Oh Deck oh deck...

First things first... Spacing is critical when you build a deck.... Just because one board has alot of moisture in it doesn't necessarily mean another board will be the same... I have built decks in many states and the general rule of thumb is to use a 16d Sinker width between the boards... This will insure that you will have at the very least a little spacing between the boards...

Now since you are worried about the straightness of the boards... Did you pile the boards up when you got home in a pretty lumber pile one on another stacked and slightly off the ground... There is a reason that lumber is stacked that way and that is too keep it straighter until you get your structure built and fastened... Also, there is a tool out there that you can purchase that will help you straighten out the boards as you go... It looks silly, but it does work and is well worth the investment of $20 to 30 bucks or so...

Make sure when you measure out your spacing, yes you can figure it out via pencil and paper, that you don't leave a "sliver" at the end... and honestly you will probably like a more random pattern to the boards than just 2 seams all the way across your deck... But that is entirely dependent upon what you prefer... Draw it out on paper just like you want to lay it out if you have problems visuallizing...

Good Luck and good decking...
OH... One other thing, use a good quality deck screw and you will be very happy with the result... They cost a little more but are well worth the effort...
 
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Old 05-22-04, 04:00 AM
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I am going to start in about an hour in the drizzle today. Loving the rain. But I am using deck screws that are said to be good with this new PT lumber. Coated but not SS. They were not cheap either. I am going to stagger the seams and will do the 16 penny nail spacing. And yes, the wood is nicely stacked in my driveway. I have seen the wood straightner jammy but will have 2 guys with me today (if they can stand the rain), and we can push/shove the boards straight as we go. For the determination of the last course width, what should I assume for the spacing? 1/8" for the nail diameter?

Also, anyone have a site or pictures of various railing styles that I could look at and choose from? I kinda like the ballisters that attach to the cap rail and then face attach to the 2x10 box of the deck structure. But then I need to cut the deck board ends flush with the box too right? I was told to overhang the deck board ends a little to aid with water runoff away from puddling on the frame.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 05-22-04, 05:10 AM
vmg_inc
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well.. I know deep subject...

To be honest, it is entirely up to the person about the deck boards being slightly longer... It does aid a little in water shedding... I myself prefer to run the boards a little longer depending upon the deck style... I think it looks a little better than just flush cut... Also the length of run after the last joist is up to you, I almost always run them as long as the support posts as it makes the look come together... I just trim them even with the post edge. Have a great day and take your time in building the deck, a person's first thought should be on quality...
Have a great day...
 
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Old 05-22-04, 06:20 AM
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Overhang or flush the deck boards with the facia -- that's up to the person paying for the deck. I prefer about an inch overhang, but, except for two (so far), I can't see any of the decks I have built from my house.

If the deck boards overhang, you simply notch the boards as needed so that the railing posts can be bolted directly to the facia board. I have also put them one the INSIDE of the facia board or rim joist and bolted them in the corner formed by the joist and the facia so I could bolt them in both directions. (You have to install the posts before you put on the deck boards, of course.)

For railing ideas -- look at the brochures that companies like Trex and Weatherbest have out. Check books on decks that are published by Ortho, Sunset, etc. Spend a few hours in Barnes & Noble or you local library.Search online -- sites like deckplans.com.
 
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Old 05-22-04, 04:35 PM
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Thanks for the ideas. I finished the decking boards today and it looks pretty good. It takes a while to put them down (bad wood from Home Cheapo) to cover 380sqft with 6" boards. About 90 boards worth. Next time I will learn my lesson and make the deck 16ft wide so I can use 16" boards. But those are probably all funny shaped. So I need to do the stairs and railing and also add some cross bracing underneath to beef it up more. Hell, its beefy already and no bounce, nothing as it is now. When you put the boards down like I did today, you get a feel for the size and it kinds seems to grow as you add wood. I am loving it. Its not picture pefect but its mine dammit! Don't get me wrong its coming out nice but I am a perfectionist sometimes. peace: e3
 
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Old 05-22-04, 04:56 PM
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spamman,

Post pictures! Stick them on a website like Yahoo, Photobucket, etc. and post the URL so we can see them.
 
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Old 03-26-10, 08:45 AM
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Don't space Pressure Treated Pine boards!

I bought the lumber for my deck in very early spring. (Decking doesn't sell very well in winter in ohio). Boards were bone dry (they were inside all winter). I used a nail for spacing and wish I wouldn't have. Although though they appear to be bone dry there is still moisture in them, Unless they have been in direct Hot summer sunlight for a couple of months. I have a pretty large gaps in between my boards and it bothers me when I think about and or look at them.

But those boards right up against each other (if using pressure treated Pine)!
 

Last edited by nateoverbey; 03-26-10 at 08:47 AM. Reason: change title.
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Old 03-26-10, 11:15 AM
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Deck

Well, it's almost six years later. I wonder how it looks now.
 
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Old 05-01-12, 10:10 AM
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Butt the boards together ! not butting deck boards together creates all kinds of problems ...things falling through and littering the ground below , hard to walk on with heels , looks cheap , things getting wedged ,it discourages your children from playing there because of creepy crawlies coming through and going through making it very unsanitary (like giving bugs free easy access), and most importantly the collapse of your boards ! . Weight in your boards collapses the grain and quickly your boards will look like a maze of unigue cracks and slivers ! it only takes a year or two for this to happen, and besides unless your boards are a finger apart they will join together after the years .Expansion and Contraction does happen but spacing for that reason is a myth and so is warping if anything butting prevents warping and collapse ,remember wood is fiberous and needs help to prevent slivers , cracking , collapse , and warping this is not like fencing where if you don't space the big bad wolf will blow your fence down (wind ) and that's the only reason why you space fence boards and why things such as lattice were invented because in reality putting up a fence has more to do with privacy and sound reduction than anything . BUTT your deck boards together . Your deck is a floor do you have spaces in the floor of your house? build your deck to be enjoyed .
 
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Old 05-01-12, 01:52 PM
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Almost 8 years later I wonder if he's finished yet.
 
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