Decking lumber


Old 10-04-05, 08:34 PM
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Decking lumber

I recently had my deck resurfaced with new treated wood. They were #2 deck boards 2"x6"x16' long and applied in 16' and 8' lengths onto a 32'x14' area. After application I noticed they appeared to be of different heights and widths. The lumber yard manager said that was standard with treated wood because of the drying process. He also said I needed to use 3 screws on each board and that they probably were not seated properly. When asked if that did not take care of the problem of the boards not being of the same height what then. He said "nothing could be done". I have purchased deck boards before and never had this problem. These boards are treated with the new treatment process. Is this standard for lumber these days. I know that a 2x6 is usually 1 1/2 by 5 3/4 but I didn't think they came in all kinds of widths and thickness. I don't want to have to measure each board. Can anyone help me with this problem or give me some possible answers for why that happened.
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Old 10-04-05, 08:45 PM
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Well, I don't claim to know everything about the quality of lumber that yards get nowadays, but I do know that the widths and thicknesses of treated boards do sometimes vary. A standard piece of 2x6 kiln dried framing lumber would measure 1 1/2 x 5 1/2. In contrast, a treated 2x6 will often be 1 5/8 x 5 5/8, or some variation of that. Usually, though, when the lumber has dried completely, it will shrink and be close to 1 1/2 x 5 1/2.

This doesn't really help you out with your deck problem though. All I can say is that if you need to butt joint 2 pieces, try to make them the same width, (5 3/4 with 5 3/4... 5 5/8 with 5 5/8, and so on) and hopefully they will shrink the same amount. Usually, with treated wood, you do not leave a space between boards, since when they shrink, you'll have the proper sized gap. If you gap them 1/4" now, when they each shrink 1/8", you'll have a 1/2" gap, which is too large.

I'd measure every board right away and then put them in groups according to size. That's not much different than what framers have to do when they open a bundle of 2x4's and have to sort them according to crown.

I don't believe you would have had as much trouble if you would have used 5/4 treated deck planks.
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