How To Space Deck Boards

Ensuring your deck boards are spaced properly will prevent damage and weathering. When spacing deck boards, keep these tips in mind.


Sixteen penny nails are the best way to establish the amount of space needed between your deck boards. Just place the nail in between the boards to ensure you have enough space. This will allow water to drain in between the boards and not pool-up, causing damage to the deck. Make sure the boards are dry when you begin spacing them.


It’s rare to have perfectly straight boards. You will need to straighten the boards before they can be spaced. Using a flat bar is the best way to accomplish this. It needs to fit snugly, and you may need to use a hammer to get the desired straightening against the joists.

If your building a larger deck that requires joints, their spacing and placement are important as well. Use the same sixteen penny method and try to avoid placing joints on the same joist too often. Staggering the joints as much as possible makes for a much nicer looking deck.