The 4 Most Important Reasons Why Gap Spacing Is Crucial When Installing A Composite Deck
Want to install your composite deck boards properly? Be sure to leave the right gap spacing between them. Spacing is an important step when building a deck, but do you even know why? In this article, you will learn why leaving gaps between composite decking boards is essential.
If you are going down the DIY road, you need to know about the most important steps for installing a deck. One of the main problems with decking is the expansion and shrinking of the boards and the proper drainage system. Decking boards expand in the heat and contract in the cold, so picking a day when there are no huge temperature shifts for the installation process is a good start.
If a deck shrinks, the gaps may become too big, and the hardware will come loose. Also, if the decking boards do not have enough room to expand, the friction could end up damaging them. They will cup or warp and damage the hardware.
Therefore, leaving spaces between the composite boards ready for thermal expansion is crucial to avoid severe damage to the entire structure. It is always a good idea to let the deck boards acclimatize for about 48 hours before assembly.
Provide a 1/8” to 1/4” side-to-side gap between deck boards, but be sure to always check your local building regulations and requirements.
But here is the thing, not all composite decking choices behave the same. Depending on the brand you will use, some may be more susceptible to expansion than others. For instance, our alternatives are of the highest quality and are not too prone to structural changes.
Our composite choices are scratch, and dent-resistant, made with advanced technology, and durable. They all stay cooler to the touch and have more traction, superior mold resistance, and other moisture damage. In addition, they have a protective surface against weather and UV rays. Click here to see the variety we carry.
|Brand||Quick Link to Installation Guide|
|TimberTech||How to Install Decking & Installation Help for Our Products | TimberTech|
As composite materials’ features can vary from brand to brand, it is always a good idea to look over each brand’s installation guide. You can also always consult with our sales representatives who can guide you. At Brazilian Lumber, we have plenty of composite options you can choose from. With all of them, we suggest using Deck Board Gap Spacers by DeckWise.
Deck Board Gap Spacers by DeckWise are a great addition to any deck-building toolbox. Their versatile design allows builders to use these board spacers in any position between boards. These spacers work flawlessly with the hardwood wrench or any other board straightening tool. Here are two useful tips when it comes to working with composite decking.
- Put the deck spacers between the limit of the deck boards.
- Use a straightening tool to reduce the gap between the boards. This will prevent the leg fasteners from being crushed over time.
The uniquely engineered blade design and style inhibit dents and the marring of hardwood, thermally modified woods, and composite decking material. Depending on the span of any deck boards, place two or more spacers every 24 inches between boards. Going along any board is actually a snap, thanks to the spacer’s distinctive handle.
Another aspect to consider is the fasteners you choose for the installation. The kind of fasteners can also affect the size of the gap between the boards. Composite decking mainly uses the hidden fastener system, where the spacing ranges from 3 mm to 6 mm.
Why Is The Gap Spacing So Important?
Here are the 4 key reasons why gap spacing is a big deal when installing composite decking.
1. Proper Gap Spacing Allows The Material To Expand And Contract
Humidity changes the dimensions of some materials. For example, it can cause composite decking to expand or contract depending on how hot or cold it is. That is why giving the boards the spacing they need for any shape changes that may occur is so important.
The gap spacing in a deck refers to the small edge-to-edge division that needs to be left between the boards. Although this is a small space, its importance is crucial for keeping the deck’s integrity in optimal condition. The division between boards allows them to adapt to changes in the material, so you don’t have to replace broken pieces or reinstall new boards.
2. Let The Deck Breathe With Proper Gap Spacing Between Boards
Maximizing the airflow between deck boards is essential to prepare it for any structural changes throughout the seasons.
3. The Right Gap Spacing Allows For Water Drainage
You may have a top-quality moisture-resistant material like any composite decking we offer, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need proper care to stay in the best condition. When there are no gaps between the boards, this moisture is trapped, which can lead to problems like rot and mold.
Take the guesswork out of properly sizing the gaps between deck boards regarding water drainage and drying with the excellent spacers we carry from DeckWise. Build beautiful, consistent deck board spacing time after time for expert results.
4. Gap Spacing Makes Cleanup Easier
It is easier to sweep and remove debris from the surface of your composite deck when the boards are correctly spaced. You may think having waste on the deck surface is not a big deal, but it is always better to have your deck spotless.
Residue buildup can aggravate moisture problems, which causes the material not to dry properly, leading to rot.
Long story short. If you want your new composite decking to have adequate water drainage while providing its boards with space to breathe, expand, and contract due to climate changes, leaving the proper gap spacing between them is crucial. Follow our recommendations, and don’t take gap spacing lightly. This installation step will either help preserve the integrity of your decking or cause it to be ruined if done incorrectly. Get information from the right source to get amazing results.