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Decking Installation Tips

For best results with your brand new deck, it is recommended to hire professionals to build and install your deck for you. However, if you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer, we have some deck installation tips to help you.

Follow All Local Building Codes

Local building codes are there for a reason, and should be followed exactly throughout the entire process of planning, building, and installing the deck on your property. The codes will ensure the deck is safe for use. Neglecting to follow local building codes could result in a failed inspection, which could cause difficulty with completing the project or selling your home at a later date.


Make the Necessary Screwdriver Adjustments

Make the appropriate adjustments to your speed and torque to avoid causing damage to screws and boards. Generally, the best combination to use is low torque with high speed.



When installing joists, ensure they are properly secured to the base using either a sealant or screws as a preventative measure against warping and sagging. The joists should be as dense and durable as the boards used to build the deck, and should be aligned properly to allow for the adequate space between boards for maximum support. The proper alignment will be based on the board width and strength.

Plan for extra materials

To ensure you are making the most of the material you have on hand, plan out all the spacing beforehand. If you are going to be installing a deck with hidden joints, plan for an additional 5% to 10% material. If you are doing an installation that uses a 45-degree angle cut, plan for up to an additional 20% in material.


Wooden Deck Boards and Humidity

Use a calibrated moisture probe meter to test the moisture content of the boards before installing them. This will help you ensure you are leaving adequate space between the boards to allow for expansion and contraction associated with your area’s humidity level. To help keep the boards dimensionally stable and prevent cupping, you should leave at least 10 centimeters between the joists and the ground, allowing for ventilation.


Fastening the Boards

When fastening the boards to the joists, you must use a fastener at every location where there is a bearing point and the board touches the supports. The fastener can be in the middle or at the end of the board, no matter how wide the board is. If you are using an end-to-end board installation, you must fasten the boards to the joist with a fastener at the end of each board, rather than one fastener in the middle of the two boards.


An experienced, professional team of deck installers will be familiar with these tips and use them to ensure you get the best quality, safest, deck that will last for years to come with proper care and maintenance.

(9) Comments

  1. BuildDirect Product Expert Team

    Hello David, Thanks for your question. Depending on the composite decking you choose and how you want to install it will actually vary what your joist spacing can be. For most composite decking installations when laying the boards perpendicular to the joists the joists should be 16″ On Center spacing however laying those same boards on a 45 degree angle to the joists you would to reduce the spacing of the joists to 12″ On Center. However we do have some deck boards on our website that are even lower than that at 12″ OC and 8″ OC respectively. Always check with the installation instructions with the product that you purchase.

  2. I’m going to instal engineered flooring in an area now covered with parquet flooring.
    Should I remove the existing flooring which will be quite a project?
    Can I glue right over the existing flooring?
    Should I use a cork or other barrier between flooring materials?
    Any recommendations?

  3. Daniel, you should remove the boards. Otherwise moisture will build up and rot out the wood under the new boards. If the current boards are nailed, invest in a giant pry bar. If screwed down, be careful not to strip screw head before removing it complete. If nailed, and you pry off the boards, don’t waist time removing each nail that stayed behind. Use a reciprocating saw with a metal blade and cut them all away. Good luck!

  4. Hi,
    Right now, I have a cedar 12ftx20ft. Should I need to remove the wood before installation or I can just install on top of the cedar wood. My deck is only 2 years old and I’m feeling bad to remove them all. Please advise. Thanks.

  5. I would like to build a deck across the front of my house. The space measures 18′ x 6′ x 6″.
    How much decking would I need?

  6. I am replacing the decking on an existing deck that I designed and built several years ago. I used pressure treated 5/4″ decking before and am planing to replace it with your composite decking. The design needs 20′ boards for about 30% of the decking. Your boards come in 16′ length. When I do the butt joints where they are required, what sort of spacing should I use at the joint? Many thanks.

  7. Composite Decking: I am concerned about expansion & contraction across the width. I plan to leave a space between the deckiing material, can I use two(2) screws at each bearig point? I was told at when I bought the material to use a single screw in the center ( across the width) rhis does not seem right to me. Please advise. If necessary my phone # is 407-273-6232. Thank You, Gill Hutchings

    • Hi Gill

      There are many things that will cause a composite board to expand or contract but typically it is moisture and temperature. In areas that have massive fluctuations in both you will see more movement. Installing these boards by screwing them down directly will give you less movement however but doesn’t eliminate it. The expansion is typically more along the length of the boards however it does expand a little on the width. I would normally leave a 1/4″ gap between the deck boards that you should have plenty of room for it.

      Screwing down the boards:
      2 screws at each joist are plenty. I’m not sure why 1 screw would be suggested even if it is what you need it looks strange. Seeing the consistent double screw holes every 16″ is a traditional look and is desired in most cases. This secures the boards down and offers a nice look.

      1 thing that I make sure to tell people is if you are going to have butt joints then at those butt joints you want to add in extra support on either side of that joist or make sure to have double joists where those will appear.

      Good luck!


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