do deck boards shrink
Any time you can use a long board,you should. But unless you are going to have your lumber custom milled,the longest standard lumber is 16″ at least where I live. I HAVE A LARGE COMPOSITE DECK THAT IS SHRINKING . So when the outside environment is humid, the fibers collect moisture and expand, leading the boards to expand. If you want to avoid these complications, you might want to consider installing your deck boards during the dry season. Air Drying vs. Kiln Drying: Whatâs the Best Way to Dry Hardwood? Wood, by nature, expands and contracts when there are seasonal humidity changes and the wood begins to absorb or expel moisture. When did you purchase the home and was the deck recently done. Another reason why it’s absolutely necessary to have proper spacing between deck boards is to allow for drainage. There is no gap. The boards shrink in width as they dry, creating a nice gap. I have to replace several boards because of rot. Many deck builders overhand the decking over the frame by about 1/4". When there are no gaps between the boards, this moisture remains trapped which can lead to issues like rot and mold. Why inconsistent gap between boards on new deck - Decksgo . Most deck boards are pressure treated, which means they will be somewhat wet when they’re new. This is important to prevent the boards from accumulating moisture for too long and, as a result, succumbing to rots. As the humidity decreases, the moisture content decreases which causes the wood to shrink. There is no reason to put a gap between the ends (also known as butt ends or butt joints) of wood deck boards. At that thickness the interior of those boards would have been even higher in moisture content so the outer parts of the board are drying out faster than the interior and the expansion cracks are opening up. Unfinished VS Prefinished: Which Flooring Is Best for Your Customers? Hereâs what you need to know about deck spacing, along with some tips to help you get it right.   For kiln-dried wood with a relatively low moisture content of around 10 to 12% and a relative humidity level of about 35 to 45%, the final deck gap should be about 1/4 inch. Composites – Composite deck boards will have basically no shrinkage so they need to be spaced with gaps from the get go. 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Or at least very minimally across the width. Backyard Sidekick also participates in affiliate programs with Clickbank, CJ, ShareASale, and other sites. Of course, this seasonal expansion and contraction of the boards depend on where you live. Air-dried decking can often be installed with a gap less than 1/4 inch (6.5 mm) because the boards will likely end up shrinking in width rather than expanding. By Tom M on 11/07/20 "The prior owner of my house installed 5/4x6 pressure treated decking about six years ago. Hardwood Decking End Wax â Is It Necessary? 24 Jun 2010 . There are many factors that determine the shrinking and expansion of deck boards. Experienced carpenters will know . As the humidity increases, the moisture content increases which causes the wood to expand. If you have a high moisture content, leave less space between the boards as they will shrink as the moisture is released. If you have a low moisture content, leave more space to accommodate the expansion of the boards as they gain more moisture. If you’re installing deck boards during the dryer months, you will have to consider that the boards will soak in moisture in the more humid months and, as a result, expand. By The ideal spacing can vary based on the season; for example, in the Pacific Northwest, the summers are dry but the winters are very wet, or in the Northeast, the summers are generally humid and subject to significant rain but the winters tend to be below freezing and, therefore, extract water from wood. Snow brings many fun activities with it, and sledding is usually top of the list, but snowball fights are also pretty common on many streets. That may explain part of the too-tight boards and no drainage - someone didn't realize that synthetic deck boards, unlike (usually wet) treated lumber decking, will not not shrink and open up later. This is because the boards will likely contract over time as they release moisture creating a larger gap during the drier seasons. Boards that haven’t been kiln dried after treatment and are still wet with preservative will shrink slightly when they dry, so butt them closely together when attaching. The first thing you need to consider and check is if your local building code covers deck board spacing. Read more about the movement of wood in relation to moisture content: Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material. First of all, cedar deck boards can shrink and expand depending on how high or low the humidity levels outside are. However when the shrink they tend to split along the grain where the screws are because the screws won't let the board shrink so it splits instead. 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Rain can prove especially detrimental to wood decking if it doesnât have a place to drain off the deck. When you don't take this into account and place boards too close together, they can expand which can cause them to buckle upwards off the deck, cracking boards and pushing the fasteners out of place. Comments? Some types of boards are less likely to be seriously affected by the changes and some are drastically affected. I have built more decks than I have fingers and toes and yes, most of the decking boards will shrink. Acclimation is Critical for Solid Wood Flooring Installation, Care & Maintenance - Prefinished Hardwood Flooring, Cupping And Gapping: Moisture And Its Effects on Solid Wood Flooring, Product Spotlight: Guajuvira Hardwood - Brazilian Hickory. Be sure to check multiple pieces of wood and take an average moisture count, instead of relying on just one piece of wood that could be an outlier. Wood fibers can hold moisture in them. These deck boards are Trex™ or another synthetic decking material. Over time, this constant cycle of swelling and shrinking will cause your deck to become cracked, splintered, and warped.
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