What Direction Do You Lay Decking Boards

What direction do you lay decking boards

In what direction should I lay decking boards? This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to laying decking boards. We have been a part of this debate for so many years. 

We know that a deck can be built in a variety of ways. You can attach it to a house via a ledger board or detach it from the house and build it stand-alone. If you don’t have a lot of experience building decks, you probably are wondering in what direction to lay decking boards. Should deck boards run parallel to your house or not? 

In this post, we’re going to help you understand what direction you should lay decking boards, the correct way to lay decking boards, and the ideal space between deck boards.

Does It Matter Which Way Deck Boards Run?

Simply put, it matters what direction you lay decking boards. Let’s take a look at two possibilities. First, the deck running parallel to your house creates a wider appearance while blending the deck into the house. Second, the deck running perpendicular to your house looks long and extended, not blending into the house. 

Regardless of what kind of look and feel you want to create, the direction in which decking boards should run depends on the joists. If the deck is attached to your house, the deck boards will run parallel to the house and vice versa. 

The deck boards should run in the same direction as the joists. If you choose to do otherwise, you might end up building a structurally poor deck. For example, if you decide to place a decking board parallel to the joists, the board is likely to fall through as it wouldn’t be able to hold sufficient weight. 

What is the correct way to lay decking boards?

Another common query is whether you should place deck boards bark side up or bark side down. So many people are of the opinion that the bark side up is the right way, always. However, this is only true to some extent. You have the freedom to choose which way is correct for orienting the board. 

While the reeded side down gives a sleek and pleasing look like the racing stripes, ridged side up increases traction and makes your deck less slippery. If you like the feel of the textured surface under your bare feet, consider laying the decking boards with the ridged side up

Regardless of your aesthetic or functional requirements, it’s important to read what the decking board manufacturer has to say about this. Most manufacturers recommend builders install decking boards with the ridge side down. Why? Because the prime function of ridges is not to keep households from slipping or sliding around the deck. Instead, the ridges are there to enhance the longevity of garden decking boards.

Barbecue on decking installation boards

While it’s ideal to lay decking boards in the same direction as the joists, consider installing decking boards ridge-side down to allow air to circulate. Also, fit the boards with a slight tilt in the direction of grooves. 

Most importantly, be sure to follow the local building codes. Poorly built decks can collapse when exposed to heavy weight. The installation of decking boards also depends on the materials you use. Whether you prefer to use Trex-style deck boards or pressure-treated wood, be sure to lay them right the first time. 

Related: Does a deck increase the value of your home

How to make wooden planters from decking?

We’re sure you love gardening. Don’t you? So, how would you make wooden planters from decking boards? You can use composite and wood decking materials to make different things such as planters to grow plants. If you don’t want to buy a decking planter kit, consider making one with wooden decking boards or composite decking as both are versatile building materials. 

On the bright side, it’s easy to build a wooden planter with decking. You can either buy a decking planter kit or build it from scratch. Here is a quick, step-by-step guide on how to make wooden planters from decking

  • Get the tools and materials ready 

First up, gather all the tools and materials required to take on this DIY project. While decking boards is an essential material you need, here is a list of tool you need: 

  • Hand saw 
  • Drill 
  • Fabric liner 
  • Screwdriver
  • Galvanised screws 
  • Staple gun 
  • Wire mesh panel 
  • Measuring tape 
  • Cut the wood to length and create holes 

Before you start cutting the wooden decking boards, sketch out the planter and figure out how many pieces of wood you need to build it. Then mark and cut the lengths to the size you require. Use a measuring tape to measure the length of the wood. To prevent decking from splitting when screwing the planks together, you have to drill pilot holes 2.5 cm from the edge of each board. 

  • Fasten boards 

Once boards are cut to length and holes made, the next step is to fasten them with galvanized screws. Why galvanized screws? Because they don’t rust when exposed to moisture and air. To fasten the screws, you can use a power or a manual drill. A screwdriver can also be used if you don’t have a drill. 

If you don’t have the tools, skills, or time to lay decking boards or make planters, make sure to call a professional gardening service

How Far Apart Should Decking Boards Be Spaced?

This is another important question people ask when installing garden decking. Generally speaking, you should install decking boards in a way that they have gaps between 1/8” and ¼” of an inch. Make sure you have space between deck boards anywhere from  ¼” to 3/8” inches. A popper spacing between deck boards ensures the flow of water between the boards and space for debris to fall to the ground. It’s recommended not to have spacing greater than 3/8” of an inch

Your goal should be to have consistent spacing and the deck boards to be in a straight line. It could be a difficult task to keep the spacing consistent when it comes to wooden decks. Consider using a decking spacer and make sure the first deck board is straight. You can find out more about decking as we provide our readers with valuable decking knowledge, tips, and tricks. 

Final thoughts

No more scratching your head while thinking about the direction in which you should lay decking boards. Consider three factors: manufacturer’s instructions, local construction codes, expert advice, and your preferences. If you need professional decking installation in London, contact Pi Gardening

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