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# lumber estimates

#1
06-20-01, 12:09 PM
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Is there a formula for estimating lumber needs for a deck project? Or do I just need to add up my plans? On the decking, my joints will be randomly dispersed across the surface of the deck, how do I figure out the lengths of the boards I need? Do I order decking in varying lengths, or do I count on doing a lot of sawing?

Building a deck isn't a small project, is it?

#2
06-20-01, 11:06 PM
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Location: Arlington, WA
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Estimating the lumber you need is a combination of the 2 ways you mentioned. For the deck boards, simply figure out the square footage of the deck, then convert that to board feet (since that is how lumber is sold). Joists, girders, posts, etc. will have to be taken off of the plans. Why will your joists be "randomly dispersed"? If you keep them on 12", 16" or 24" centers, you will be able to end your deck boards on the joists in either 2' or 4' increments, resulting in a lot less cutting, and a lot less waste. As always, once you figure out what you will need, add 10% more to the order (20% for the deck boards if you will be running them diagonally). This allows you some room for the errors that will occur, and allows you to be selective about which boards you need to cull out. You can always return any unused full lengths of lumber.

#3
06-21-01, 04:26 AM
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Lefty, he's talking about the ends of the decking boards being randomly dispersed across his joists. Blowe, you should plan on cutting both ends of each board anyway (at least I do) because factory edges are often not square and have splits or staples in them. So yes, you have to do a lot of cutting.
Probably goes without saying, but make sure your deck board joints always fall on a joist. So they're not totally random, just dispersed.
No, it's not a small project, especially if you're doing it yourself. Good Luck!
Matt

#4
06-21-01, 09:20 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
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Matt, you are absolutely correct. Blowe said "joints", and each one of the 4 times I read his post, I saw "joists"!! Must have something to do with the 10 and 12 hour days in 100 degree-plus weather.

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