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Do You Leave a Space Between Composite Deck Boards?

Friday, April 19, 2024

What do deck boards usually mean? Deck boards are the wooden planks that make up the surface of a deck. They come in different forms and sizes and are mostly made of wood or composite decking boards. The space between deck boards is one of the most important parts of a deck.

If the decking boards are not spaced correctly from each other, there are a number of problems that may arise. For example, the deck may get moisture, seepage, and dents, and may not drain well. We’ll discuss why spacing between deck boards is so important and how to do it in this article.

What Does Spacing Between Deck Boards Mean?

The spacing between deck boards is the distance between adjacent boards when installing a deck. Deckboard planks need to be spaced correctly so that water doesn’t get in and cause dents or poor drainage. It also won’t allow the deck to expand with heat and warp. For a deck to work well and look good, the deck boards must be spaced correctly.

Why Is Correct Deck Spacing Important?

The spacing between deck boards is important to keep the deck structure strong. If the boards are too close to each other, the deck may fall apart because they are not strong enough to hold the weight.

If the deck planks are too far apart, someone could slip and fall and get hurt. A safe and stable deck requires correctly spaced deck planks.

Volume Change of Boards

Both wood and composite decking materials expand and contract in response to changes in temperature. If the boards are too close to each other, as the temperature rises, the adjacent boards expand and touch each other. This causes the deck boards to warp and break. If the deck boards are too far apart, when the boards contract in the cold they will cause the gaps to widen. This can create a safety hazard for pedestrians on the deck.

Not only does a deck that is crammed together look bad, but it can also void the deck warranty. This is because it does not install the deck properly as required by the deck manufacturer. It’s a good idea to leave a little space between deck boards so they can expand and contract without causing damage.

Composite-Deck-Boards

Keep the Deck Ventilated

Proper spaces between deck boards also allow the deck to breathe. This is important because it allows air to flow between the deck planks and prevents the deck from getting too hot or too wet.

If you don’t leave enough space for the deck, then moisture may accumulate underneath the deck. The deck may then be damaged and may not last as long as a deck with enough space.

Facilitating Drainage

When it is wet outside, proper spacing between deck planks allows water to drain away from the deck. This prevents the deck from getting wet, moldy, and rotting.

If too many boards are leaning together it can result in the deck not draining. This can mean that the deck gets too wet, which can damage the deck boards and cause other problems.

If deck boards are left with the proper amount of space between them, water can drain smoothly away from the surface or underneath the deck.

Wood-Deck-Defects

Different Types of Deck Boards

Wood decking and composite decking boards are the two main types of deck trim. Wooden decking boards usually come from trees such as cedar, pine, and redwood. While composite decking is usually made from a mix of recycled plastic and wood fibers.

Each type of decking material has different advantages and disadvantages. Wooden decks are more prone to rot and moisture and therefore require regular maintenance and upkeep work. Composite decking boards, on the other hand, cope better with weather and pests and require little maintenance.

Composite decking has excellent water and stain resistance, so you can’t stain or paint it. And to protect your wood deck from the weather, you’ll need to stain or paint it regularly. On the other hand, composite decks come in a wide range of colors and surface textures to meet your varied deck design needs.

If you want to choose between wood decking and composite decking, you should consider your needs and tastes. However, when making your choice, you should keep in mind how important proper spacing between deck boards is.

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Different Types of Deck Board Spacing

There are three main ways to space deck boards: evenly, unevenly, or diagonally.

  • When all the boards are spaced the same, this is known as even deck spacing. This is the most common way of spacing deck planks and is what most people recommend when laying a wood deck.
  • When the deck planks are spaced at different lengths, this is known as staggered deck spacing. Many composite decks utilize this type of plank spacing because it helps to hide seams.
  • Diagonal deck spacing is when the deck boards are spaced at a 45-degree angle from each other. If you want a more rustic deck look, you can use this deck design option. It is not as common as the other types.

Why Is It Important to Have Proper Deck Spacing?

If you don’t leave enough space between deck boards, it can lead to problems such as water seepage, deck dents, and poor drainage. For the following reasons, most deck builders make sure that the spacing between boards is the right size.

It ensures that the deck stays stable and level. If the boards are too close together, the deck becomes unstable. They will buckle and dent.
Allow water to drain properly. Too much space between the boards allows water to pool between them, which allows the deck to rot and mold.
It prevents boards from buckling. Bent deck planks are common and difficult to fix. The buckling of the planks is usually caused by uneven drying. This can happen if the deck is not spaced properly.

Composite-deck-board-3

How Do I Get the Correct Spacing?

Optimal deck spacing depends on the climate, the type of wood used, and the type of decking material. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. But here are some general rules to help you figure out how much space they need:

  • When laying a wood deck, leave ¼ to ½ inch of space between each board.
  • When installing a composite deck, it’s best to leave ⅛ to ¼ inch of space between boards.
  • If you choose a hardwood deck, each plank should always be spaced the same distance apart and the ends of all planks should be flush with each other.

When spacing the planks, take your time and make sure they are the same distance apart. This will ensure that the deck is level, and stable, and allows for easy drainage. A deck that is not spaced correctly can cause major problems, so make sure you take the time to get it right.

Lay-Composite-Decking-on-Patio

How Do I Set the Correct Deck Spacing?

If you want to place your deck planks correctly, you can use shims, draw lines with chalk, or use a plank wrench.

Using shims

A shim is a tool that helps to place the boards in the correct position. It is a small piece of wood or plastic that is placed between pressure-treated boards and can be used to leave any space between them.

Drawing a Line with Chalk

Another way to properly space PVC or composite decking is to draw a line with chalk. When using this method, you can draw a straight line between the boards with chalk and then pull them apart so that the line is straight.

Using a Deck Wrench

A wrench is a tool that does more than just pull pressure-treated boards apart at an angle. It acts like a shim, but it has curved edges that help you get the spacing right.

Floating-Deck-5

How to Keep Your Deck in Good Shape

The spacing between deck boards is an important part of deck maintenance. The spacing between them can vary depending on the type of deck and the weather where you live.

There are a number of ways you can maintain your deck to make them durable for years to come:

  • Clean the deck regularly. Regularly cleaning debris, such as leaves and branches, from the surface of your deck will help keep it looking great.
  • Regularly inspect the deck and framing structure. Regularly inspect for breaks, cracks, and rot. If you find any damage, repair it immediately. Repairing your deck in a timely manner will extend the life of your deck.
  • Protect your deck from weather damage. To protect the boards from UV rays, rain, and snow, you can use a deck sealer or deck coating. Of course, composite decks with excellent resistance don’t need these jobs.
  • Replace broken decking. If you find a badly damaged deck board, you need to replace it promptly rather than trying to repair it.
Composite-or-PVC-Decking-1

To Summarize

Whether it’s a wood deck or a composite deck, it’s important to maintain proper deck spacing. There are a number of reasons for this, such as making sure it ensures that the deck is level and stable, allows water to flow properly, and prevents the boards from denting.

When laying your deck, you should take your time and make sure they are the same distance apart. This will ensure that the deck is level, and stable and will allow for easy drainage. The wrong spacing of the ports can lead to big problems, so make sure you take the time to get it right.

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