Azek decking - Board spacing


  #1  
Old 05-29-11, 09:06 AM
T
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Azek decking - Board spacing

A local contractor is building me a new deck with Azek decking. The company has many Azek deck projects under their belt. The deck itself is about 10 feet off the ground.

So, 3/4 of the decking was screwed down while I was at work. When I came back to inspect the progress, I noticed that installer installed the boards tight together instead of the 1/8th inch side-to side and 1/16" end-to-end spacing specified by Azek. The latter I believe may only apply if it's less than 32 degrees outside during install. The ambient temperature was about 65 degrees.

I've got my opinion: what they did voids the Azek warranty, prevents water from draining well and sets me up for possible expansion problems later.

What's your opinion?

How serious of a mistake is this?

Can the boards be reused? (the fasteners have two sections of threading, and they run different directions)

Does the 1/8th inch side-to-side rule apply to decking on stairs?

The contractor is willing to have his installer "change" the spacing but won't admit it was an error.

Your thoughts are really appreciated.
 
  #2  
Old 05-29-11, 02:20 PM
P
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,982
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
If the boards were screwed to the joists, they can be moved. Let them do it. It doesn't matter if they admit it was a mistake or not. I've been on many deck jobs & we always left some space between the boards.
 
  #3  
Old 05-29-11, 03:27 PM
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 29,249
Received 1,528 Votes on 1,372 Posts
It doesn't matter if they think it was a mistake or not?? I dunno about that- its clearly a mistake- the installer is an idiot! Whether they admit it or not is beside the point. Yes this is bad, and yes they better unscrew and space the decking correctly! And not charge you any more to do it!
 
  #4  
Old 05-29-11, 09:42 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
First off, is he using Azek DECK, or Azek PORCH??

If he's using Azek Deck and installed it without gaps between the boards, he has no clue how to install it.

If he's using Azek Porch and you can't see a gap between the boards, he's doing fine.
 
  #5  
Old 05-30-11, 08:34 AM
T
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the input. The product is decking, not the porch product. I've heard enough people say this indicates incompetence that I'm going to ask him to bring a new installer on site that knows what he or she is doing.


Do you think the existing decking can be reused? I'm worried removal will ruin the threaded holes due to the fasteners' multi direction threading.
 
  #6  
Old 05-30-11, 09:32 AM
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 29,249
Received 1,528 Votes on 1,372 Posts
I'm not sure you understand the reason the screws have different threads. One thread is angled, and it grips into the wood. The other threads near the head are more horizontal, almost like rings, and they help pull any loose fibers downward into the hole that the screw is going into so that the head of the screw can be driven down flush. The part of the screw thread that is important is the part that goes into the wood, not the part of the thread that goes through the decking. Removing and reusing the screws (and the predrilled holes in the planks) will not affect the way the decking is held to the framing. The wood threads and the head of the screw do the holding, not really the horizontal threads that are in the decking.

The problem may be removing the screws. Depending on what length screw was used, they sometimes don't like to back out very well. And they run the risk of rounding the heads, etc. If the heads get buggered up, the installer may need to use new screws, provided he can even back all the old ones out in order to reuse the decking.
 
  #7  
Old 05-30-11, 01:37 PM
T
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by XSleeper View Post
I'm not sure you understand the reason the screws have different threads.
I didn't, but I do now. Thanks!

I'll cross my fingers, for my contractor's sake, that the screws back out. I'm glad this isn't my task to complete, it's a lot of fasteners.
 
  #8  
Old 05-30-11, 04:58 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 9 Votes on 8 Posts
There's a difference in doing it right the first time and doing it over. The latter costs him more money. He won't be a happy camper, so be aware.
 
  #9  
Old 05-30-11, 09:22 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
ThinkSnow,

To put it in terms that I can post in here, your installer messed up. It's gonna be on his nickel to fix it. Backing out the screws -- three or four will come out, MAYBE, and then one or two won't. The heads will bugger. I doubt that the decking can be removed in a reusable condition. (Been there, done that, and really haven't been successful yet!!) If you mess up a board installing it, you might as well call it waste. And he messed up your entire deck.

My suggestion is to try to work with him and get him to eat the job, and correct on friendlly terms. It'll be cheaper for both of you. He needs to be ready to step up and replace all of the decking if it comes to that. (I certainly hope he has insurance!!) In the meantime, line up a good attorney -- you're gonna need one.

You haven't told us how big the deck is, but Azek is over $3.00/lin ft. That's about $7/sq.ft. Don't eat his mistake.
 
  #10  
Old 05-31-11, 12:23 PM
T
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It's 12' x 16', so not small but also not large. Based on your numbers that's $1,344 plus labor, which has to be a large chunk of his margin. He does have insurance.

It's really too bad, I was hoping we had found a contractor that we could use again for other projects. Of course, there's still hope for that depending on how he handles fixing this. I'll let you all know the result of my meeting tomorrow.
 
  #11  
Old 05-31-11, 12:47 PM
S
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 20,166
Received 1,165 Votes on 1,123 Posts
I don't think I'd ever consider this installer again but the contractor still has the ability to earn your trust depending on how he handles this - sometimes the bad situations like this are the ones which provide the most ability for a contractor to prove their worth and inspire your trust in them
 
  #12  
Old 06-02-11, 07:57 AM
T
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Met with the contractor. Apparently he feels that installing them tight together is legitimate but is willing to accept the fact that it's out of specification. He also didn't disagree with the fact I should never have needed to specify the spacing. We were able to come to an agreement on moving the boards and he's 100% confident he'll be able to remove the boards without damaging them. If the boards are unusable after removal, however, it looks like we'll be at an impasse. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

There's some other things the installer did which were poorly executed, separate from the board spacing, and I could tell my contractor was a bit embarrassed. He's going to make sure everything is fixed. We'll see...
 

Last edited by ThinkSnow; 06-02-11 at 08:17 AM.
  #13  
Old 06-17-11, 07:53 AM
T
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Just wanted to provide a conclusion to my drama...errr... story.

At our request, the contractor assigned a new carpenter to the project and the difference is night and day. The new guy confirmed with us that the other guy should have known to add the spacing, no excuses. With the help of his bro, he was able to pull up all the decking without damaging it (lucky us). The spacing is correct now and looks great. He also went ahead and fixed a half dozen other issues the other carpenter created.

We are happy with the end result, but of course it could have been better. Because of the way the deck is picture framed, we ended up with two pieces of Azek (one against the house, one at the other end of the deck) which had to be ripped. It looks good enough since both rips left over 50% of each board, but it's not optimal.

I tell ya, you get what you pay for. The first carpenter was the lowest bidder undoubtedly. We're going to ask for the new guy specifically in the future, no matter the cost.

Thanks for those who provided input. The responses here and info from a relative in the business really helped me make sure we ended up with what we wanted. For that you guys get an anecdote.

The same project included fixing the fascia on the back of our house. It got pulled off this winter when ice build up and heavy snow destroyed our gutters (it wasn't just due to an ice dam). Maybe 4 feet of the fascia remained and the edge on the broken end left a small space that some birds used to gain access to our attic. I suppose that was more attractive then the wide open gaps further down. We tried to destroy their nest building efforts but they won out and laid eggs. Well, we told the original carpenter and the contractor multiple times that we wanted to remove the nest when the broken fascia is removed. Can you guess what happened?

Yup, the carpenter installed the new fascia without removing the nest. We came home that evening to peeps of little birds begging for food while trapped inside. The next morning the parents were in an absolute frenzy, food in mouth, trying to figure out how to get to their young. We felt awful and thought we'd have to just live with the horror of them starving to death. However, the nest was just to the right and above our bathroom, so we had to see and hear the tragedy all day long. That lasted about 2 hours.

I decided to pull the fascia off. When I did, I was glad I had a bucket ready because a little bird fell right out flapping it's just barely feathered wings. We carefully removed two more, all the while hearing some nasty squawking in the trees behind us. After putting them in a temporary home, we attached a perma-temporary nest for the birds near the original spot using a large water jug. Their chances were still slim but to our great surprise, the parents started feeding them within 20 minutes! Given the nest's location we were able to watch this over the next couple weeks. They've all now left the nest, so we took it down (I forget the species, but an expert told us they nest twice a season... so we had to get rid of it ASAP).

We're so happy with our efforts and all's well that end's well... but I must ask... who the *$&@ traps birds to starve to death and rot in a client's roof, not to mention lie about "taking care of it"?
 
  #14  
Old 06-17-11, 10:26 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,575
Received 15 Votes on 13 Posts
Thanks for letting us know.
 
  #15  
Old 06-17-11, 01:19 PM
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 29,249
Received 1,528 Votes on 1,372 Posts
Great feedback! What a story.
 
  #16  
Old 06-24-12, 04:11 PM
R
Member
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Board Spacing

Hats off to the contractor who made it right. Im not sure if the previous guy countersank the fasteners....but if he did.....even more kudos to the "good" guy. Im an animal lover.....so regarding the birds....my inclination would have been to nail the contractors doors and windows shut on his house! Glad it all went well!

I am a contractor....and I would estimate that about 90% of my jobs start with....."I had this contractor, and fired him".....or....."my husband started doing(fill in the blank). I dont advertise......it's all word of mouth and referrals. It's tough enough overcomining the general reputation that goes along with contractors not showing up....not calling....not finishing....etc etc.....so I am VERY glad you also had the experience with a "good" one. We are out there!
 
  #17  
Old 06-25-12, 04:17 AM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 49,240
Received 674 Votes on 597 Posts
Welcome to the forums Richard!

As a former painting contractor I know it doesn't take much to shine above the rest. I've never understood why someone wouldn't return phone calls [and I dislike talking on the phone] or lie to the customers. I also never advertised, some of my best sales agents were satisfied customers! Treat people right and do a good job - vaults you right to the top

I've been on more than one job where carpenters or drywall hangers nailed an animal up in a wall. I can understand it happening accidentally but the majority were obviously no accident
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: