Help! S.O.S. - 5/4" x 6" Deck Boards


Old 05-21-01, 06:52 AM
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I am resurfacing a deck that is 12' x 20'. The exisiting deck had 5/4 x 6 Pr. Tr. 12' and 8' boards used to span the 20" length. I ripped out the old decking and bought the same Thompson 5/4 x 6 - 12' and 8' boards from Home Depot. As I began laying the new boards, I realized that the 8' boards seemed to be running and 1/8" to a 1/4" wider than the the 12' boards when I butted them together. This made it a nightmare to get my spacing and keep the deck looking nice visiually. I called Home Depot and explained the situation. They told me that that because they store their materials outside and then bring it inside, that the 5/4 x 6 - 8' boards are probably wet and should match up after they shrink. I explained that the home owner has stopped me from continuing until I research this matter and find out if that is true or not. His fear is that if and when the wider boards shrink, he will be left with huge gaps and an ugly looking deck. Home Depot told me to center the wider boards and continue on. I asked about what kind of guarentee they will give me that when the boards dry out everything will be fine? They then informed me that no Pressure treated manf. in the world will guarentee this, so they can't pass any guarentee on to me. (FYI while running these new deck boards when it comes to where the two boards but up, I have been centering the wider boards on the 12' boards). Is all of this true? If it is, am I running the boards properly? If I'm not, how should they be run? If this is not true, do I tear out everything and go back to the store where I bought the material? Please, any help that you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I hope to hear from you soon. THANK YOU.
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Old 05-21-01, 10:16 AM
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Step 1 could be to moister test the 8 footers and compare that to the 12 footers. A tester can be obtained at almost any hardware store. The hardware store can tell you the best moister level for deck board installation at this time of year. I do not know it off hand. Even if this obviously proves that the 8 footers have a drying period coming up, it may not get to the point where the joints match nicely. Step 2 could be to return what you can of the 8 footers, and purchase a few more 12 footers to use instead. If you just purchased them, perhaps you will be lucky enough to get them from the same bundle. I would also recommend that you do not space them when installing as most people say you should. Last summer I did the same deck project and did not space them and the drying period passed and I am very happy with the gaps. I also installed the boards on a 45 degree angle for better support, less creaking etc... This may help visually offset some of the "not so good" joints. Good luck.
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