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arkinect 08-31-2012 08:40 PM

Using PVC decking as sleepers
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I'm new to the forum so pardon any blunders I may make.

I am in Seattle and have a 6' x 20' covered porch on the front of my house that has a basement below. When I bought the house, the porch leaked and caused rot in the rim joist and subfloor. This is a 1910 craftsman house so the original construction of the porch floor went like this: 2x8 floor joists, diagonal ship-lap subfloor, tongue & groove fir flooring. Due to the amount of rot, all the flooring had to be pulled up and parts of the subfloor repaired. In order to keep from having the porch leak into the basement, I added an extra layer of 1/2" ACX plywood and then PVC membrane was professionally installed. (see attached image)

So now for the main issue. I've got this PVC membrane laid down and my intention was to "float" a set of 5/4 pvc sleepers on top that would then support new tongue & groove tigerwood flooring. (Note: I cannot attach the sleepers down to the subfloor because I cannot penetrate the membrane and cannot use thicker sleepers because of door threshold height.) So what I'm concerned about is whether or not I will have issues with the screws which attach the flooring to the PVC sleepers - will the PVC decking hold well enough to the screws without pulling out over time? Does anyone have experience with using PVC decking as sleepers and do you have any recommendations on techniques to use or maybe specialty screws? I'm currently just planning to use stainless steel trim head deck screws.

Thanks for your wisdom & tips in advice!


notmrjohn 09-01-2012 10:10 PM

PVC has plenty of screw holding power, no special screw needed jusy because its pvc. Screws do strip in it easier than most wood, so do final tighten by hand or clutch on power driver set way low. you'll probably need to counter sink holes in flooring because you wont be able to rely on pvc pulling even self countersinking screws to pull them down. I've used pvc planks and other "lumber" in places I has worried about water and haven't had any problems as far as screw holdng goes. its not a reliable structural material, but your sleepers are deck boards ment to be walked on, you're just putting something in between them and feet. Still you might wanta use a few more spaced closer than normal.

arkinect 09-02-2012 01:32 PM

Thanks for your feedback - that's great to hear since I've had several people at lumber stores say that they think PVC is too soft to hold the screws. I'll plan to engage the clutch when driving the screws....and do some practice tries in the beginning.


notmrjohn 09-02-2012 02:09 PM

"practice tries in the beginning" no fair, if everybodt starts doing that, there won't be any questions to answer. you should have no probs, i wouldnt wanta hang a porch swing from pvc, but you're just keeping those beeeyoootyfull deck boards from shifting. Screws through tiger wood, sigh... but quality no rust screws now, pre colored ones?

arkinect 09-03-2012 12:54 PM

Ha! Well I don't know about NO questions but maybe less. :) But there is no way I'd do this without some practice runs...too nice of wood to destroy on accident. But these are T&G boards so I'm screwing through the tongue into the sleepers - hence the trim heads so that they'll sit deep enough into the groove to allow the next board to slide into place. You shouldn't see the screws at all once everything is in place and locked together.


notmrjohn 09-03-2012 10:56 PM

Oh yeah sez T&G and trim heads right there at the beginning. duh uhhh

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