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roasted 10-28-2012 10:14 AM

Deck board spacing is very wide. What can I do?
We moved here back in January. While I love the deck, the degree of space in between the boards is a little frustrating. I'm finding myself continually afraid that I'm going to drop a cellphone for something else underneath. The problem with that is this is a ground level deck, so that means I can't just go underneath the deck and retrieve whatever fell through.

Of course I could bring the boards up and end up redoing the entire thing, but the only problem in that case is with the walls for the deck, as I would need to uproot them. It would just turn the project to do a substantially larger one, which is okay, but I'm open ears to easier solutions.I got to wondering if instead maybe I could just put new boards on top, but maybe thinner ones since the boards underneath would be providing a substantial amount of strength. Check the pictures and see what you guys think.

Daniel Holzman 10-28-2012 10:35 AM

I don't understand your comment about needing to "uproot" the walls for the deck. Your board spacing seems very wide indeed. I do not understand the problem if you remove the boards and reinstall them at a more reasonable spacing, say 3/8 inch gap in the dry season. Note that the boards will shrink and swell with changes in humidity, so if you install the boards in the dry season you need maximum spacing. Typical expansion factor is between 1 and 2 percent for most species of lumber, so a 6 inch wide board would typically expand about 1/8 inch or so between dry season and wet season, so a 3/8 inch gap is pretty generous for 6 inch wide boards. I used 1/4 inch spacing for my ipe deck, but ipe is one of the species of wood with very low moisture content related expansion, so a 1/4 inch gap was plenty.

joecaption 10-28-2012 10:48 AM

Those 2 X 4 boards laying flat on the deck never should have been installed that way anyway so no harm done if they have to go to remove the boards.
They should have been higher but no more then 4" up off the deck.
The way they are now there trapping water under them, and there no way to simply blow or sweep sweep leaves off the deck.
If you do decide to move them together plan on some of them getting distroyed trying to get them off.
I use a tool called a Guttster to pop deck boards. Google it.

And no going over it with another layer is a very bad idea. It would rot out and mold up because there's no way for the water to drain and water will never dry out that gets between the layers.

roasted 10-28-2012 11:19 AM

The deck boards go out to the very edge, at which point THEN the "walls" with the railing were installed. So if I rip up the board, I'll effectively need to rip everything out to do the replacement... which is fine... but that's getting to be enough of an issue to consider dealing with it since there's countless other projects to do. If I could spend a Saturday with a pickup truck full of lumber and just nail-gun a set of new rows down right on top of it, I'd be game.

I thought about installing some sort of thin 1/8 inch strips down in there just to make sure if anything does hit the crack, it doesn't effectively fall down there. But that would take enough time to, once again, question whether it's worth it or not.

I fear that a massive summer project is coming my way... (as if that list isn't long enough already) :laughing:

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