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Old 03-05-2008, 05:15 PM   #1
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Composite deck- gaps to close - how to resolve this problem


We just got deck built from a non-licensed contractor. The decking material is solid wood composite by Veranda. The contractor did a great job except that he did not leave enough space for the decking board to expand. Manufacturer suggests that their should be at least 3/16 gap between two boards. The contractor has used hidden fasteners. He is saying that there is no way he can fix that. Is there any way we can trim the decking boards without removing them. Can we use small circular saw while protecting the two board with some kind of a metal sheet and do the edges with a zig saw? Thanks for your help. Miva

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Old 03-05-2008, 10:53 PM   #2
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Composite deck- gaps to close - how to resolve this problem


I wouldn't think so. To get through the whole board you would cut into the hidden fastener.
It sounds like the decking would need to all come off and be redone.
This is the opposite of a great job in my opinion.
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:01 AM   #3
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Composite deck- gaps to close - how to resolve this problem


You could try to cut it back. Unfortunately, it will look like total crapola.
I do not suggest that you even consider that as a viable option.

I am compelled to state this:
Mistake # 1: Using an inexperienced contractor.

Now aside from all that -

Question: What type of hidden fastener system did this hack use?

Some hidden fasteners are essentially brackets, with sharp prongs. One end contains the sharp prongs, that are imbedded into the boards, the other end is fastened to the joist with a screw.
Now, not all the hidden fastener systems out there are like that. Some can be more complicated.

It's obvious, that a hack's first answer to you is going to be: It can't be removed and re-done correctly. Why? Because the hack knows that such a situation, requires that he do all the removal and re-installation for "free", since he messed it up to begin with. So, I would not trust his answer; that it cannot be re-done.

I think that you should:

1.) Find out the type of hidden fasteners used, and look into it's "attachment" design.

2.) If it looks do-able, consider carefully attempting to do it yourself..without the help or notification to the hack.

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 03-06-2008 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:23 AM   #4
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Composite deck- gaps to close - how to resolve this problem


The contractor used hidden fastener by Simpson. Similar to the image below ...


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Old 03-06-2008, 08:35 AM   #5
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Composite deck- gaps to close - how to resolve this problem


I'd say, to give it a try re-doing them all. Be aware, that by spacing the boards, (as they should have been: 3/16"), that you will have to purchase additional stock to re-cut and install at certain locations.

Good Luck

BTW: I don't know if I'd call him a "contractor". Spacing those boards is Deck Building 101. Any contractor with a clue knows to space boards (non PT) for drainage.

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Old 03-06-2008, 01:31 PM   #6
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Composite deck- gaps to close - how to resolve this problem


Here are the actual pictures of the gaps. The gap between two boards are fine, thanks to hidden fasteners. Only the gap where the two boards are joined together are the problem.

Is there anyway can we do it without uninstalling the entire deck? He is not going to do it.

Here are the pictures.




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Old 03-06-2008, 01:53 PM   #7
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Composite deck- gaps to close - how to resolve this problem


I was looking at the fasteners, and they did look like they created a natural gap with their design.

Aside from that, I think you may be confused.

Where two board ENDS meet (seam together), they are supposed to be butted edge to edge (like your picture).

The gaps are required on the runs (lengths) of the boards. Those are sufficient for drainage. Generally, there is no need to gap board ends. Board ends are rarely gapped.

(if that is the point of concern, then I owe the contractor an apology, he isn't a hack)

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Old 03-06-2008, 02:15 PM   #8
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Composite deck- gaps to close - how to resolve this problem


Veranda install instructions:
"End Spacing - allow a minimum of 1/16" gap for every 20 degrees F of difference between installation temperature and the hottest temperature expected. "

What was the install temperature? What is the highest temperature you get to where you live?
This is easier to fix then side by side closeness.
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:53 PM   #9
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We are in New Jersey, when the decking boards were installed in December the temperature were between 30-35 degress. In summer it goes up to 98 degrees. According to Veranda, the gap should be at least 2/16".
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Old 03-06-2008, 05:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miva View Post
We are in New Jersey, when the decking boards were installed in December the temperature were between 30-35 degress. In summer it goes up to 98 degrees. According to Veranda, the gap should be at least 2/16".
ewww...Composites shrink in the colder, drier seasons, then expand in the warmer humid seasons.

Personally, I'd just leave it for now. The expansion may not be that bad.

There is no sense in doing alot of additional work, if the boards don't end up expanding that much. IMHO: Wait and see...
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:17 PM   #11
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Composite deck- gaps to close - how to resolve this problem


Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. View Post
ewww...Composites shrink in the colder, drier seasons, then expand in the warmer humid seasons.

Personally, I'd just leave it for now. The expansion may not be that bad.

There is no sense in doing alot of additional work, if the boards don't end up expanding that much. IMHO: Wait and see...
I agree. I would leave it alone for now. Those fasteners look like that may allow a little give when the boards expand and contract. I have a trex deck and I hardly seen any difference in the gap sizes between summer and winter.

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