Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Contentious issue this spacing--Should we space Decking?
I hear it all the time--"I've always pushed the decking up against the last row... it looks great". I have only one thing to say ... BS.
If any decking is installed tight it will hold water like a barrel and you will NEVER keep stain on it.
In order for air to flow through the underside of the deck, the skirting needs to be spaced. There are two things that scream "ROOKIE DECK BUILDER"... Routered hand rails and tight decking. Hey, we all started somewhere, but just because you can, doesn't mean you should. More is sometimes too much.
Do you know what happens when you park a car on the grass? In about 2 years the floor will be hanging on the brake lines. This is because grass retains and releases moisture every day. This is why we put down a vapor barrier and gravel below our decks. (Even though the city of Toronto is demanding that we don't).
Using filter cloth is the second best solution, however my preference is to slope the ground and use a vapor barrier to slope the water away from beneath the deck . The other issue has to do with water infiltrating into the basement of the home... you have less chance of a leak with properly installed drainage.
Here is a deck that a builder with 20 years experience built--During the very wet last couple of years, mold covered this deck... not just a little green, more of a squid like multi-colored mold. The house faces east and is in the shade most of the day, so this seems to be the worst mold issue I have ever seen. Tight red cedar decking. Believe it or not, even after showing this builder what happened, he didn't believe it and he refused to fix it.
Ed Morkin of MorDecks, AKA Morkin Outdoor Structures offered a 5 year written workmanship warranty, then reneged. Keep in mind that if you have decks built by Ed Morkin, he simply refuses to space decking and you will end up with the same issues as this unfortunate client.
All the more reason to go and see some of your builder's previous decks when you shop for a deck builder.