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jdm001 12-19-2011 11:35 PM

Wet PT Lumber for Deck
I have a deck that i was able to get all the joists installed while it was still warm; but weather has changed and it's gotten cold in my area. I'm afraid it might snow soon, and i want to finish the deck by laying all the wood down; and all the joists are ready to go (and i've already installed the railings--so it's just missing the actual "floor" of the deck).

I have the lumber, but it's wet from the PT wood treating process... some boards actually feel almost twice as heavy. I've seen where if it's this wet, and you try to screw it; the board turns to "mush" and will just put holes in the wood.

My question; since the deck is already roped off; and in order to minimize the amount of exposure to water/snow of the joists; should i way the wet PT wood on the deck.

Should i put a couple screws in the top & bottom of each board; or would that make it warp and twist?

Should i leave the deck wood on the top of the deck just to "air it out" and screw it all in eventually when it dries out (say after 3 weeks of no rain/snow or something like that)?

Or do i need to leave it in a shed completely out of the weather to dry out. I'd rather put it up, even if it's not secure; just so that the joists aren't sitting out in the open, completely uncovered, and begin to twist/warp while waiting for the other boards to dry.

I appreciate any advice in advance.

NancyNGA 12-20-2011 08:21 AM

If you let it dry out, a lot of your PT boards will likely warp and stay that way and then become really difficult to work with. Assuming you sorted out the straightest boards to begin with, I'd screw it securely while it's wet and keep in mind it will shrink a lot when it dries, both lengthwise and sideways. That's been my experience, but maybe you got better lumber than I did.

Millertyme 12-20-2011 04:49 PM

I would install now. Really no reason not to. Don't use any space between boards. They will shrink in no time and leave a space anyway.

jdm001 12-20-2011 06:14 PM

The other times I've used wet lumber like this, when the screw heads were tightened, a little liquid came out the board.

I then moved it and found out the wood that the Screws removed (the spirals around the screw) were mush and I can literally pull the screw out without much effort.

This was probably an extreme example, but won't the deck wood do the same, especially if people walk on it in the next week or two while it's wet?

Thanks again for the help!

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woodworkbykirk 12-20-2011 06:47 PM

miller is correct. it should be installed now and not later. this is pretty standard with pros. a couple times ive worked for renovators who bought allthe material for the deck way in advance.. time came to build the deck and 1/2 of it was useless as it had warped so badly

as for the liquid coming out of the wood when you drove nails or screws into it.. this is fine its simply where the slogan "Make the nail bleed" comes from

jdm001 12-20-2011 07:45 PM

Cool thanks. Also, I thought I was supposed to leave 1/4 inch gaps between widths (not ends) by using flat pencils as spacers.

Is that not right?

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Millertyme 12-20-2011 08:05 PM

Pt will shrink a lot.keep it as tight as you can. Composite usually require a will not take long for that material to shrink with the dry winter weather

woodworkbykirk 12-20-2011 09:05 PM

pt decking doesnt have to be slammed tight but looks better that way. using a carpenters pencil as a spacer is a bit much as they are 1/4 thick roughly, a paint stir stick is more acceptable. for composite it needs to be spaced as when the sun hits it in the summer you can literally watch it grow in less than an hour if its really warming up outside, in this case i space the very ends 1/8 from the ribbon cladding i do with azec. i space boards with my speed square, it just drop it between boards

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