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Cedar Deck Board Installation – Step by Step Deck Building Part 7

Cedar Deck Board Installation – Step by Step Deck Building Part 7
This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Building My Deck Step by Step
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How I Went About My Deck Board Installation

As I mentioned in the last part I needed to install a few pieces of the deck fascia before I can install my deck boards.  You might be asking why I needed to do this first and the answer is for proper drainage of any rainwater or melting snow. If I didn’t install the fascia first then the water would go under the fascia and possibly wick into the fascia board rather then drip away. The result of the wicking and pooling of the water over a few years would be early wood rot.

Click for a Larger Image

Click for a Larger Image

So this kind of thinking of how water is going to be handled is certainly one item I recommend to anyone who is building outdoors to consider highly. It can mean the difference of your deck or outdoor structure lasting a long time or having issues after just a few years.


Lets Get On With The Installation

I started my deck board installation by installing the border first.  On this deck I wanted one board width as my border and the boards are 5/4 red cedar decking material.

To get going I also have an overhang all around the deck of ¾” plus I also have the thickness of my fascia to be installed after the decking and it is also ¾”.  So at this time my overall overhang of my border is going to be 1 ½”. This measurement will be easy to maintain just by using a scrap piece of a 2×4 as my guide since the nominal thickness is 1 ½”.

The first board I started with was the one on the cantilevered edge of the deck where the long rim joist is and this first board requires two outside miter cuts to be made as well as a notch to go around the 3 posts. I think this is the most difficult board to get right, and the rest would be much easier to cut correctly once I have something to measure to.

corner mitresFastening the border to the deck was done by pre-drilling a hole for a #8 coated deck screw 2 ½” in length every 16” or there abouts.

To strengthen and add more surface area for gluing my miters I used my trim router with a ¼” rabbet bit that went ⅜” deep to create a hidden slot that I could insert and glue a spline of cedar. These wooden splines along with some good outdoor glue should keep things tight for many many years.


Installing The Border Was Time Consuming Work

After this fussy work of installing the border was done I could start installing the horizontal deck boards onto the surface of the deck.

finish nails as deck board spacersI started at the same end where I started the border, measuring the length of each board one at a time and then installing them. Each board was spaced using a finish nail which was about ⅛” in thickness.

I went with such a small spacing, not the usual ¼” because the cedar decking was still quite wet and I knew it is going to shrink quite a bit and that would leave me with a nice gap rather then one that was just too large and basically ugly. Each deck board was cut to fit tight end to end as well; no spacing was left, as again the wood is going to shrink a bit when it dries out completely from exposure to the sun and elements.

If I remember correctly I had 23 rows of cedar decking on the main deck with the last row being about 2 ½” in width that I had to rip cut. On the landing I had 9 rows of cedar decking with the last row having to be rip cut as well.

Using ⅛” Thick Finish Nails As Spacers

cedar decking installation with a borderFor each and every row I nailed a finish nail into the top of each joist as a spacer and also checked each board for bowing before installing.  Always  install with the crown of the bow facing the last deck board that was installed.  This is the only way you can straighten each board along its length as you are going across screwing the boards down.

I predrilled each screw hole using my countersink drill bit, and installed 2 screws at every joist location along the length of the deck boards. I set the screw in about ¾” from the edges along the length, and about 2” from the ends.

(Note – When I was constructing the floor system and spacing the joists out, I made sure that the ends of my deck boards overhung the joist about 1”, this was so I could set my screw in from the ends. If your screws are too close to the ends you get premature splitting, which leads to water penetration, then to loose boards and rot. Click on the drawing at the top to see this in detail)

Series Navigation<< 4×4 Cedar Deck Posts Installation – Step by Step Deck Building Part 6 .... Deck Fascia Installation – Step by Step Deck Building Part 8 >>
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Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any woodworking or home improvement task!

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