Saturday, June 27, 2009

Spacing Decking - Why it is necessary.

Spacing Decking- To Space ... Or not To Space

Here is the number 1 reason we space our decking.

This project has magnified the issue for us. As you can see this builder pushed the decking tight.

Last year was the wettest year in many decades in the area it was built. The deck faces east in townhomes and has homes to the southwest on the other side so the placement is sort of cave like.

This yard gets very little sun at the best of times so mold runs rampant.
For these reasons mold has formed all over the surface of this deck.

As you can see the mold is running up the wall (though it is winter killed here it was a pretty colour of green). When decking does not dry out it can actually absorb moisture and become wetter and tighter than when it was installed.
When decking is wet you cannot apply a coating and have it stick. If anyone attempted to stain this deck the finish would be peeling within months. If the pores are full of moisture--they cannot accept the finish into them.

I hear all the arguments--the wood is wet, it will shrink and then the spaces will be too big! Nothing looks more professinal than a uniformly spaced deck. Seeing a deck with no spaces tells me that the deck builder is an amateur.
This is a nearly 400 square foot deck with tight decking and tight skirting with no space below (floating grade beam footings). If the decking was spaced and the skirting were spaced this deck would not have had mold issues.

So if mold growing up the customer's snow shovel and furniture is your idea of a quality build--Enjoy your tight decking and prosperous future .


Chris said...

I agree, this deck should have been spaced given the landscape it was in, but I don't think that should apply to every deck. When you are building in a yard with little shade, good ventilation, and you are working with wet wood, it makes sense to install them tight. To gap in those circumstances could be dangerous to anyone in heels in the future.

captnkoo said...

I have been in the business for 35 years and one should always space decks. What is not mentioned in the article is that tight fitted decks will expand and contract....when expansion occurs the grain will be crushed and permanently deformed. Wood is a cellular material that is dependent upon the maintenance of the cells. A similar occurrence to this phenomena is when people wash hardwood strip flooring w/ water. The flooring expands, crushes the grain and cannot properly contract, forming permanent gaps between the floor boards. Don't be lazy and just put a 16d nail at each joist, butt the next board up to the nail and fasten the decking properly!!!