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Old 07-14-2011, 10:29 PM   #1
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Treated Lumber

I am building a deck!! I am just starting to lay the decking-only 8 12' boards done. On the web sites I have been reading instructions from they say to use a 16d nail to make the gaps between the boards. Two neighbors stopped by and were horrified. They say that the treated lumber is wet and there should not be a gap, I should lay the boards side by side and as the wood dries the gaps will get there on their own. Are they right?


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Old 07-14-2011, 10:44 PM   #2
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I would have to side with your neighbors. The old 16 penny nail trick was always shown on diy shows and in how to books. I butt the treated lumber up tight. By the time it dries it ends up with 1/8"- 3/16" gaps. If you were using the manmade decking that doesn't shrink, then the 16d nail trick works fine.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:51 PM   #3
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Generally, yes they are correct. But it depends on where you purchased your lumber. Big box stores like HD, Rona's etc tend to go through a lot more and tend to ship it in quick from suppliers. This means it tends to have more moisture in it. I've purchased PT lumber from a good lumber yard and they say it's been aged/dried and after using it, seen very little shrinkage due to drying (but still some shrinkage).

In general, most people using PT for decking do put the boards down just touching each other (not pressed together) and after the moisture dries out from the wood, each piece can shrink by 1/16th to 1/8 inch on each side of the board.

Good luck. Enjoy the build.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:54 PM   #4
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yes they are correct , wet lumber will shrink in time and gapping them now would cause bigger gapping later
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