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NickWa 05-31-2012 08:14 AM

Deck boards upside down - cupping
So long story short, thought the wood should be installed bark side up but apparently the common way is opposite. I thought the wood would cup "with" the rings - I guess not. All of my boards are now "upside down".

Deck is 16x18 and I don't really want to but if I need to, I can flip them. Is it worth it or will it be ok? I can notice a bit of cupping already...

Thank you!

md2lgyk 05-31-2012 08:29 AM

Well, how much does it rain where you live? If a lot, I'd flip the boards. If not much, maybe not. But the job shouldn't be that hard.

robertcdf 05-31-2012 08:34 AM

Actually it's "Best looking side up" when it comes to wood, but then again wood does what wood does, in other words it cups, bows, splits, cracks, etc.

NickWa 05-31-2012 08:40 AM

Thanks for the info guys.

I am in Ontario Canada so not terribly wet/humid but we do have pretty significant weather variances between summer and winter.

I bought a lot of extra wood and chose the best ones with best side up but made sure that the best side was the bark side. All of the boards look good how they are but they are all bark side up.

We won't be in this house for more than 2 more years so longevity isn't a concern but the quality of my work does matter and I would hate for it to be terribly cupped in 1 season.

I know it isn't hard to do but it is a LOT of screws to remove and re-screw.

If it isn't that big of a deal, I will certainly just leave it as is.

lewisthepilgrim 05-31-2012 08:52 AM

Just curious... How deep are your footings there in canada?

NickWa 05-31-2012 09:01 AM

48" + to get below frost.

mae-ling 05-31-2012 10:14 AM

Depends on where in Canada, It is a big country. some places go 8', I have even heard of some going 10'.

Duckweather 05-31-2012 03:47 PM

If the deck gets a lot of sun the exposed side dries and shrinks causing cupping. If you turn them over they may just do the same thing again.

kwikfishron 05-31-2012 05:00 PM


Originally Posted by robertcdf (Post 932927)
wood does what wood does, in other words it cups, bows, splits, cracks, etc.

A statement like that is like comparing all non-wood decking to Trex. :whistling2:

robertcdf 05-31-2012 06:37 PM


Originally Posted by kwikfishron (Post 933268)
A statement like that is like comparing all non-wood decking to Trex. :whistling2:

Are you saying that wood doesn't cup, bow, split, crack, etc? (when exposed to the elements in a exterior environment)

Gary in WA 05-31-2012 10:35 PM



Duckweather 06-03-2012 10:04 PM


Originally Posted by GBR in WA (Post 933572)

After reading the article I was surprised at how much of it I knew from experience, and reading. The one thing that caught my attention was the 50 year warranty. I wasn't wondering if the process would perform that long, but if the company would. The best advice I can think of came from the first framing crew I worked on. When nailing or screwing the lumber, the fasteners should go as close to the edge as possible. For decking that would be no more than 3/4" from the edge. It is much harder for that 3/4" to cup than 2", and fasteners near the center do little. whichever side dries faster, shrinks faster. Even more important was fastening 2 pieces of lumber together, i.e. studs & jacks, sister joists, etc. All the outside edges shrink faster than the adjoining surfaces and they cup away from each other. One major cause of drywall screw pops. All things considered I favor wood, and Trex is my lowest choice for composit decking compared to others

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