Deck Installation FAQs
How do I remove the grade stamp from my deck?
In most cases, a light sanding will remove or lighten the grade stamp.
How much will decking boards shrink and how should I install them?
Treated wood is often still damp when delivered, so it is recommended to butt deck boards tightly together during installation as they will shrink slightly in width and length as they dry out. This will create acceptable gaps between the boards for water to drain off the surface. How much a board will shrink will be dependent on how much moisture remains in the wood after it was installed.
If the wood is allowed to dry prior to installation, a small gap should be left between boards.
Ultimately, your deck boards should have an edge gap between ¼ inch and ⅜ inch to allow for proper ventilation, draining and for debris to pass through. Wet or dry, boards should be installed tight end-to-end.
Which side of the deck boards should be facing up during installation?
Always use the best-looking side of a deck board for the deck surface. Fasten thinner boards to thicker boards.
What should I use to apply to the cut ends of my lumber?
For field-cut ends and drilled holes in treated lumber, use a brush-on wood preservative. Copper naphthenate formulations are available from home centers, lumber dealers and hardware stores. Deck stains and sealers do not provide adequate protection.
Are nails or screws better to use in building my deck?
You can use nails or screws when you build your deck. However, screws are more secure and don’t pop out of the wood like nails do, making them the superior option for securing the deck and for safety. Nails that pop out of the deck can become a nuisance, not to mention they can injure your feet or those of your loved ones. Additionally, nails don’t fasten the deck as securely or for as long a period of time as screws do.
What type of nails or screws do you recommend?
Viance always recommends that current building codes be consulted for up-to-date lists of approved fasteners. Hot-dipped galvanized and stainless-steel fasteners are recommended for use with preservative treated wood. There are also several new-coated fastener systems available.
What is hot-dipped galvanizing?
Hot-dipped galvanizing is a process of coating zinc over bare steel to provide a protective layer. The bare steel is cleaned, pickled, fluxed and then dipped in a molten bath of zinc and allowed to cool prior to inspection and shipping.
Why should I use stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized fasteners?
If you remember your high school chemistry, copper is extremely conductive. That means ACQ lumber has a very corrosive effect on most metals — like the nails and screws that are used to hold boards together. The government and lumber industry initially ignored this potential safety hazard. They started paying attention to it after people fell to their deaths when second and third story decks across the country began to collapse due to fastener failures caused by ACQ eroding the nails that held the decks together.
ACQ is still in common usage today. In fact, the majority of treated lumber on the market is ACQ. Because of its corrosive nature, you must take special steps to ensure that any metal touching the ACQ treated wood will not develop corrosion problems. Because the stainless steel and hot-dipped galvanized fasteners are not reactive with the copper, they are the only logical choice to make when it comes to fasteners for your decking or for anything that is made with ACQ treated lumber.
How do I know if the fasteners are safe to use with ACQ treated lumber?
To be compatible with ACQ treated lumber, galvanized fasteners must be “Hot Dipped Galvanized” and display the code “G-185” (which refers to the thickness of the galvanization). Different brands have different designations for this—such as “ZMAX” or “Triple Zinc”—but the brand names will vary by region. It is safest to confirm that the “G-185” code is also present.
Stainless steel fasteners can also be used because good grades of stainless steel are considered virtually corrosion-proof, and in some locations (around salt water, for instance) this may be the preferred fastener material. One downside to stainless steel is the cost because it is substantially more expensive than other options.
Copper fasteners are also immune to corrosion by the ACQ formula but are not a very practical alternative to use in building a home.
Avoid the fasteners that are labeled “electro-galvanized,” or are marked “G-90” or “G-60”. They were designed to be compatible with the old CCA preservative, and won’t hold up to the new ACQ wood.
Someone told me not to use concrete to set my posts. Is it true that it would void the warranty?
Setting the posts in concrete does not affect the warranty in any way. We recommend that you follow your local building codes and proper drainage requirements when setting posts for decks.
What are general installation tips?
- Treat all field-cut ends of boards and drilled holes with a brush-on wood preservative-- copper naphthenate formulations available from home centers, lumber dealers and hardware stores. Deck stains and sealers do not provide adequate protection.
- Butt boards tightly together during installation as they will shrink slightly in width and thickness as they dry out.
- Pre-drill holes at the ends of boards to help prevent splitting.
- Use screws to improve holding performance.
- Install fasteners flush to the wood surface. Do not overdrive fastener.
- Install the un-cut end of support posts in ground contact applications.
- Click here for more details on basic design and construction methods for single-story residential wood decks and significant changes in the 2018 International Residential Code.