When you are designing a new composite deck, one of the things that you must take into consideration is the amount of space that must be left between the boards. The gaps in your decking play a very important role. However, gaps that are too big or too small could cause a problem.
Why Do You Need Gaps In Your Deck?
There are three main reasons that you need to leave gaps in your deck.
- Expansion of deck material
- Drainage and drying
- Building codes
Expansion of Deck Material
Although composite material does not expand as much or as often as wood material, it still will expand when subjected to heat and cold. When you leave a gap between the boards on your deck, you are giving the material the room it needs to expand without damaging the boards. If the planks are right next to each other, they could become damaged over time or warp because they could not expand.
Drainage and Drying
Since your deck is outside, it is subjected to all types of weather. Rain, snow, and ice need somewhere to go once they reach your deck, and having a gap allows the water to drain and keeps your deck drier. Keeping the water from pooling on your deck can also help extend the life of the structure.
The gaps also allow the deck to dry faster underneath and allow the soil and ground area under your deck to "breathe" and remain dry. Soil that is kept too moist will become mildewed, and this can lead to "soft soil," which can damage your deck and potentially the base of your house. Having the right size gaps in your deck allows this area to have air circulation and prevents these issues.
Every municipality has its requirements for deck construction, and they may have a specific measurement for the gaps in your deck. If this is the case, your deck builder will have to comply with the building codes.
The Actual Gap Width
The gaps between your boards will be between 1/8 and 1/4 inches in most cases. Composite decking can have smaller gaps because it does not expand as much as wood. Anything larger than a 1/4 inch gap could lead to safety issues.
For More Information About Composite Decking Contact Royal Deck
Royal Deck has been a leading custom composite deck builder in the Chicagoland area for over a decade. If you are interested in building a beautiful outdoor entertainment area for your home, you can call Royal Deck for a quote.
Royal Deck will come to your home to take measurements and discuss with you the ideas you have for your deck area. We will then prepare a quote and give you an estimated start time for your project. Upon approval, we can begin construction as soon as you are ready.
If you have any type of questions about composite decking, please call Royal Deck today.