Hire the best Decking Expert

Leaving no gaps between decking boards (really that bad)?

Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Williamstown, Victoria
    Posts
    106

    Default Leaving no gaps between decking boards (really that bad)?

    I was planning on laying the decking with no gaps between the boards (as my wife wants it that way - given most victorian period properties tend not too). Anyway, I know gaps are advisable; however has anyone else done this and if so have you had any problems?

    If I did leave a small gap, what would be the minimum advisable?

  2. #2
    Lumberlubber Bleedin Thumb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Sydney
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,198

    Default

    I quite often dont leave a gap if I'm using "green" hardwood as I know that it will shrink as it dries. If you are using treated pine the opposite is true:IE it will expand and your decking will warp so you must use a bigger gap than say on seasoned hardwood.
    WARNING
    This persons post may sometimes contain
    Course language
    Adult themes
    Drug use
    Violence
    Nudity

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Williamstown, Victoria
    Posts
    106

    Default

    I was planning on using Merbu or similar. I assume it is all dried.

  4. #4
    Champion Messmaker Dirty Doogie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Noosa Heads
    Posts
    512

    Default

    Merbua decking and most decking has a pencil round edge. I f you butted them hard up against each other, water, dirt, and muck would accumulate in the small v shape formed . Eventually even merbua would rot and cup. Only a tiny gap is necessarry - say 1.5 mm..

  5. #5
    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Pambula
    Age
    56
    Posts
    2,714

    Default

    Decking should be laid with a gap. Wood moves. When it's wet it expands, when it's dry it shrinks (this doesn't just refer to rain either, it refers to humidity). Decking is rarely completely dry when you lay it. Merbau in particular can be very wet still. It is most likely going to shrink. If you lay it with no gap, there will be one soon enough.

    Victorian style verandahs are usually laid with tongue and groove flooring, are they not? The tongue and groove allows the gap to be concealed whilst allowing the boards to expand and contract.

    I think you are opening the way for problems down the track.
    "I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ACT
    Posts
    344

    Default

    I used the 2.5mm deck nails from my coil gun as spacers and have had no problems so 2.5mm seems ok.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    154

    Default

    I agree with silentc ...use tongue and groove if you want a close finish....it'll save ya from years of naggin...

  8. #8
    Oink! Oink! pawnhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Sydney
    Age
    61
    Posts
    1,228

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bleedin Thumb View Post
    If you are using treated pine the opposite is true:IE it will expand and your decking will warp so you must use a bigger gap than say on seasoned hardwood.
    I laid a TP deck for a client about 6 years ago now. The foreman told me to lay them tight, and I thought he was mad. The architect came along and told him to rip them up and re lay them with gaps and he said OK.
    He did nothing, and before the end of the month they had reasonable and even looking gaps.
    I built a TP fence here five years ago, and put all the palings hard up against each other. Now there's about 5mm gaps between them that started appearing a few weeks after installing them.

    I suppose it depends on their MC when you receive them, but in my experience TP shrinks more than any other timber.
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


  9. #9
    Lumberlubber Bleedin Thumb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Sydney
    Age
    62
    Posts
    1,198

    Default

    Yep your right John, The process of treating the pine makes it swell, so if your buying it "wet" it will shrink, though you shouldn't use wet TP for decking as it is more likely to warp, twist & cup that kiln dried.
    WARNING
    This persons post may sometimes contain
    Course language
    Adult themes
    Drug use
    Violence
    Nudity

  10. #10
    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Pambula
    Age
    56
    Posts
    2,714

    Default

    Yes it is usually wringing wet when you buy it. And it shrinks quite a lot. But so does hardwood decking, and especially that has been my experience with Merbau, which is full of resin that leaches out as it gets rained on. It also shrinks in length.

    The point is that if you don't allow for movement, you will have trouble down the track. All timber is going to shrink and expand throughout the year. If you pay attention to the time of year and the moisture content at the point of laying, you may get away with no gap, as it will shrink away and may never expand as much again. But sooner or later there will be a gap. The only way I know of to lay flooring that allows for this movement and also conceals the gap is tongue and groove.

    So in short, don't lay decking with no gap and expect it to stay that way, and if it's really dry when you lay it, expect to have problems later on.
    "I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Western Australia
    Posts
    320

    Default

    I laid down 60sqm of Jarrah decking, that was kiln-dried, and then sat on the workshop floor for about six months.

    When I did the deck, I used a 3.5mm nail between the boards as a spacer.

    Over winter, the boards are nearly touching, as the wood expands that much.

    Now things are starting to dry out, they are begining to shrink back to their original size.

  12. #12
    Novice
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    perth
    Posts
    45

    Default

    do they make a tounge and groove reeded board??
    would be weird looking but you couls secret nail them
    i do think they would grow and end up cupping?

  13. #13
    2K Club Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    newcastle
    Posts
    2,198

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Williamstown View Post
    however has anyone else done this and if so have you had any problems?
    yes and yes - some boards on a HW painted deck needed replacement at about 7 years. gaps are good!

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 27th Apr 2008, 10:58 PM
  2. Filling gaps in boards before sanding
    By Milar in forum Flooring
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 3rd Dec 2007, 08:42 AM
  3. size of gaps for skirting boards?
    By minisue in forum Doors, Windows, Architraves & Skirts
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 10th Sep 2007, 02:23 PM
  4. Skirting boards - gaps underneath
    By FishHead in forum Doors, Windows, Architraves & Skirts
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 31st Jul 2007, 12:44 PM
  5. Filling holes, gaps and replacing boards
    By bionicbeatboy in forum Flooring
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 16th Jul 2007, 09:06 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •