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  • Decking Boards

    I am building a new deck and I can't remember which way to put the deck boards down to stop cupping? I need to know which is correct A or B from my drawing.
    Attached Files
    SSG, U.S. Army
    Retired
    K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.

  • #2
    Re: Decking Boards

    I use the B method.
    Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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    • #3
      Re: Decking Boards

      I use the 'A' method. If you still have, or get some cupping later, you don't want moisture to puddle in the cup.

      Big G

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      • #4
        Re: Decking Boards

        What Big G said.

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        • #5
          Re: Decking Boards

          I look at the grain on each end. IF there is a definite matching "rainbow" end grain pattern on each end, the the "rainbow" goes up, or as a rainbow does. IF not a definite match, use an averaging with the dominate end going up. Big G is right in that you don't want moisture puddling in the cup. If the examples you show are end patterns--then "A". David

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          • #6
            Re: Decking Boards

            I used method A when extending my deck. Sure enough, every flatsawn board cupped!! That was before I found out that wood warps opposite the growth rings. When I read this, I thought they must be mistaken, so I started looking at construction lumber in the Borg and at the local builder supply. Every flat sawn board that had cup was cupped opposite the growth rings.

            Next time it will be heart side up, bark side down.

            +1 for BadgerDave

            JMTCW

            Go
            Practicing at practical wood working

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            • #7
              Re: Decking Boards

              I built my deck some 20-plus years ago out of treated pine (Wolmanized) using the "A" method which was clearly pointed out by the wood product manufacturer at the time.

              The deck is still solid as a rock and level as ever with only a couple of boards that have cupped. (It's rained earlier today, so I can clearly count only three areas that have water on them on one end or spot... figure that was where the grain was not so defined.)

              Now, l also must confess that over these 22 years the boards have only been treated once! There is some cracking and checking of course, but the deck is still rock solid. The only routine I have had to do is take the hammer to a few nails every spring, because the boards appear to have expanded in thickness during the under-snow winter months. But that takes all of about ten minutes.

              CWS

              Last edited by CWSmith; 03-23-2010, 12:44 AM.

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              • #8
                Re: Decking Boards

                This is why I asked here. I Just reread the thread and am goping with A. Also on the yellawood web site they say bark side up which would be A.
                Last edited by TOD; 03-23-2010, 01:39 PM.
                SSG, U.S. Army
                Retired
                K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.

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                • #9
                  Re: Decking Boards

                  I went out to check out my old deck and I definitely put it in using the "A" method! I also found the folder of my original receipts, plan, and the "How to build a deck" pamplet that "Outdoor Wood" published for use with their "Wolmanized" treated product.

                  Their instruction says, "place deck boards bark side up"

                  So, that is what I did! Below are some pictures that I just took. You'll not on the first that there is a "cupped" area that is still holding water from this morning's rain. Like many boards, that particular one has the grain sort of reverse from one end to the other, hence it was a guess as to how to place it. But from the other photos, you can see how the boards were placed back in 1987 when I built this thing. (Also note that the snow just melted off this thing less than two weeks ago, and we've had a few days of rain since then... hence there's a lot of "green".

                  I hope this helps,

                  CWS
                  Attached Files

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                  • #10
                    Re: Decking Boards

                    CWSmith that clears it all up and as they say the prove is in the pudding. Bark side up it is, now I can put them down with confidance.
                    SSG, U.S. Army
                    Retired
                    K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Decking Boards

                      The last thing I read about this said to put the best side up and use deck screws. I think that the cupping problems mostly disappeared when we started using screws instead of nails. This is how I did my deck 5 years ago and have no concerns yet.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Decking Boards

                        Next deck I will build I'll most likely use screws. My old deck employed galvanized nails. A few pop up during the winter months, but for the most part they have worked fine. However, I think the new wood treatments are going to pose a problem and I'm going to have to pay close attention (re-educate myself) to what I need in the way of hardware for the particular materials.

                        I have seen a few decks where the builder used thicker materials, thinking that would safeguard against cupping and warping and unfortunately it did the exact opposite. Two deck where they used 2 x 4's for the decking, look absolutely terrible today, even though they are 15 years younger than my deck.

                        Whoever built the deck on my house in Binghamton used a lot of 2 x * stock... and none of it treated. I guess they figured they could just paint the darn thing every year or something. What a waste of labor and material that proved to be... I can't wait to tear it down and rebuild it.

                        CWS

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                        • #13
                          Re: Decking Boards

                          All boards will cup towards the bark side. However with the quality of the wood available in most locations combined with the fact that lumber is now made from twigs instead of mature trees you will likely not have a choice on the grain. On a 16' plank many will have the grain switch from one side to the other or will have the heart at the center of one end.
                          Screws will eliminate most of the cupping tendency so I look mostly at the surface quality. I think the most important point is to look for any boards that have the heart (exact center of the tree) near to the surface. You should put that board with the heart side down because the heart will eventually delaminate making for a nasty potential for a sliver.
                          The traditional method of heart side up to give you crown up so water runs off has given way to heart down to avoid delamination and slivers due to young trees and crap wood. Good quality coated screws are a must use for todays PT lumber and they must be rated for ACQ treated wood. If you have any left over deck screws from a few years back and they are not rated for ACQ they will dissolve in about a year to the point that they will snap off easily and make your deck unsafe.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Decking Boards

                            Wayne,

                            I think I agree with you on the quality (or lack there of) of the wood that is used today. Also, maybe there is something in the treating process too.

                            After reading your post, I went out and checked my deck and with maybe only a couple of exceptions my boards are all "bark-side up" and are still quite flat, considering all the years (installed in 1987). Especially too, considering that they sit under snow for a good share of the winter. I only used deck nails for putting them down, using three nails on each place where the board crossed a joist.

                            So, I decided I'd look to see what my boards would look like if they weren't nailed down... I do have a few scraps that were under the deck. Amazing, as these show no "cupping" either, especially considering their "ground contact".

                            CWS
                            Attached Files

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                            • #15
                              Re: Decking Boards

                              I have got the deck done now. I don't really think it makes much of a difference. I put most of them bark side up and some are bark side down just to have the best side up. The bark side up boards have warped both ways as have the bark side down boards. Nothing ecessive I will have to wait and see what happens from here.
                              SSG, U.S. Army
                              Retired
                              K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.

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