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Staggering & laying out spotted gum boards...

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  1. #1
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    Default Staggering & laying out spotted gum boards...

    Well - somewhat surprisingly & hard to believe - I'm at last at the point of laying my boards on my low-level deck! I have all the joists in place (more or less), levelled, and capped with Protectadeck strip (see proof below! Try to ignore the walkway, assorted furniture etc.. ;-). The 86x19 Spotted Gum (350l/m) is arriving this morning, as is (apparently) the rain! I've got a plan to quickly carry it all in and lay it out under the pergola (where the deck is located) into 3 or 4 piles, sorted by whatever lengths it comes in. I'll then dock at one end and pre-oil before starting the layout process. Which is where my question arises!

    The deck is 4.2m x 6.8 & uses about 15 joists (perpendicular to the longer side). I would like some sort of regular, repeating pattern across the deck which 'breaks up' the butt joints visually but makes most economical use of the wood. I know that this will depend on what lengths it actually comes in and how those lengths will 'fit' the length of my deck, but I just wondered what other's experiences have been and if there are any pointers I should consider. I plan to lay out the boards, 'ping' some string lines, fasten every 5th board and then fill in.

    I've been considering what I think is referred to as a '4 butt pattern' where the butts move - from the starting joint - 3 joists left, 2 right, 3 left again, back 2 to the right, and then back another 2 to create a butt joint at the 5th board in line with the starting butt. But I'm yet to draw this out, and as I've said, I'm unsure how it might fit with the lengths I end up with!

    Do people have any particular thoughts on the most useful, economic &/or aesthetic pattern to use?

    On the question of Spotted Gum & butt joints, the supplier tells me that the boards are thoroughly kiln dried and shouldn't need a gap at the butt joints - that is, they won't move lengthwise! Does this fit with the experiences of others who have used Spotted Gum? I plan to leave a 4mm gap between adjacent boards and will be using the ceramic coated Razor screws.

    Thanks, Sam.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails deck.jpeg  

  2. #2
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savvas View Post
    On the question of Spotted Gum & butt joints, the supplier tells me that the boards are thoroughly kiln dried and shouldn't need a gap at the butt joints - that is, they won't move lengthwise! Does this fit with the experiences of others who have used Spotted Gum? I plan to leave a 4mm gap between adjacent boards and will be using the ceramic coated Razor screws.
    It is normal to butt-join the ends of any timber as expansion and contraction is greatest across the grain rather than with it. Four mm gap between boards is fine but I would go more if there is any chance of ground moisture issues.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response phild01 - appreciate it. The deck is entirely underneath a covered pergola and - apart from a few windblown drops - is unlikely to see much moisture. It's built over a concrete slab and any moisture present underneath will be very occasional - maybe from a spilt watering can etc. So I reckon I'll stick with the 4mm gap as it works well with the dimensions of the deck.

  4. #4
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    Re gap; I would listen to the experts (i.e. Phil) and if you did any research it would tell you are wrong.

    Stagger without having adjacent boards butting in the same joist space preferably for the next two boards.

    Butt them as tight and square as you can.

  5. #5
    Seasoned DIY droog's Avatar
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    I just re-stacked all the boards roughly based on length, then just started laying the boards using the fifth board method.
    Measured and laid every fifth board, when filling in between make sure butt joins are somewhat random, with the boards sorted by length it is easy to optimise their use and minimise offcuts.

    Utilising a "pattern" is going to depend on what lengths you are supplied, any pattern repeated often enough will look like a pattern, I would try to make it as random as possible.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Bushy - advice on the staggering sounds good. Not sure on what point you are indicating I'm in the wrong (ie; with reference to Phil's advice). He was referring to a situation where there's some possibility of 'ground moisture issues' I believe. There are none applying in my deck's situation...

  7. #7
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    Thanks Droog - encouraging advice. After lots of 'standing and looking' sessions I've decided to abandon any idea of working out a 'pattern' based on the lengths I have to hand. I've roughly sorted out the lengths and If I follow any sort of repetitive pattern I think I'm going to see a lot of waste. A truly 'random' approach will I think be much easier and will probably allow me to concentrate a bit more on dealing with the quite large number of 'bent' boards I've encountered when sorting them out. I've now watched a couple of videos on youtube and the 'every fifth board' approach really seems to make sense. I am worried about a couple of the joists which are not as straight as they should be so I'm going to have to try and avoid having joints on them. I'm pre-oiling the boards back, front & sides, so will need to get all that does before I start laying.

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