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Thread: southern yellow pine decking

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    2,807
    Location and climate. For some reason people here assume treated wood, is that true or just raw SYP. treated will last much longer outdoors.
    Bill D

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    Untreated, for an outside floor, it might last 2 years, or at least that's how long it will last here.

  3. #18
    Can I assume that the SYP pressure treated 5/4 will be planed smooth?

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    Yes, they're made specifically for deck flooring. They should be called "Decking Boards" on the stack label. The edges are even more rounded than the typical framing lumber. It's possible to buy 5/4 treated Pine that is not specifically for decking, but I don't know why any supplier would keep that in stock.

    You can special order any size that you want, but no supplier will hardly have anything unusual in stock. I even built a timber framed two story porch out of treated 12x12's, 10x12's, and 8 x 10's in 1983. I ordered it like I wanted it though.

  5. #20
    Sorry but has to be pressure treated to last.

    That said, even pressure treated lumber will eventually deteriorate. Where I live it gets to looking pretty bad in 5-10 years. Sealing and pressure washing will help keep it looking better.

    One big problem is splitting at the butt joints and also screws backing out as the lumber dries. I recommend taking the time to drill and counter sink the screws.

    The last deck I built I used composite material and just the thought I'll never have to replace it overrides the imitation look.

  6. #21
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    May 2005
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    Highland MI
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    All of my decks started as PT, at first 2x thickness (some 40 years ago), then as deck boards became more common, 5/4. HD carried Thomponized for a while, it was nice. But keeping it looking nice, even owning a pressure washer, was tedious so I first went to the old Trex on my upper deck, then to the plastic coated composites for my lower deck and docks. The old Trex had a surface mold issue. I seem to have it tamed now by using a surface head for my pressure washer followed by 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner. If cost was not an issue I would go for a tropical hardwood deck. Downside to the composites is that joist spacing will need to be beefed up. Originally I went with 24" OC for the 2x thickness, then 16" OC for the 5/4 SYP, now you need 12" OC for most composites.
    NOW you tell me...

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dickinson, Texas
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    6,442
    Or look into Cypress. It is a superior outdoor wood.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Wilmington, NC
    Posts
    372
    Quote Originally Posted by lowell holmes View Post
    Or look into Cypress. It is a superior outdoor wood.
    I built a deck with PT pine as the framing and the decking was Cypress. The Cypress lasted about 10 years with rot showing up earlier. The end grain is the weak spot on all natural wood decking. Once the deck is up for a couple of months, you need to seal it, paying special attention to the end of each board, as that area soaks up water more that the face of each board.

  9. #24
    I have had good luck using this decking. I agree with several folks who have said to use it right away- wetter is better. I lay the boards tight together - shrinkage creates a 1/4" gap. This also makes keeping them straight simpler.

    I also use a "BoWrench" for straightening - a little pricey but a huge timesaver. The handle moves a nylon pad against the deck board to straighten it. You can let go and drive fasteners. I turn all the boards so the concave side of any bowing is towards the previous board and use the bowrench to push it tight.

    BoWrench.jpeg

  10. #25
    OK, I am going to order the pine and use the 5/4 on 16 inch joists. I'll put it down as soon as I can. Do I have to worry about shrinkage between the screws? The stuff I am ordering is 6 wide.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    That's why I alternate the screws, from side to side, with only one into each joist. I put them about 1-1/2" from each edge. I put only one in the ends too, but usually have to go back and stick the second one in some ends if a corner starts to lift. By the time a corner might start to lift, it has dried out a lot, so better to drill the holes for the new screws.

    If you look at that picture of the 27 year old deck with the torque wrench, you will see that the surfaces are not checked severely. If I had put two in each joist, I probably would have needed to replace that surface years ago.

    That dock is built that way too. It's probably had 100 people standing on it for the yearly fireworks shows, and had occasion waves washing over it, so it's plenty strong enough.

  12. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    That's why I alternate the screws, from side to side, with only one into each joist. I put them about 1-1/2" from each edge. I put only one in the ends too, but usually have to go back and stick the second one in some ends if a corner starts to lift. By the time a corner might start to lift, it has dried out a lot, so better to drill the holes for the new screws.

    If you look at that picture of the 27 year old deck with the torque wrench, you will see that the surfaces are not checked severely. If I had put two in each joist, I probably would have needed to replace that surface years ago.

    That dock is built that way too. It's probably had 100 people standing on it for the yearly fireworks shows, and had occasion waves washing over it, so it's plenty strong enough.
    If only using one screw per joist why not just put it in the middle?

    Ant advantage to putting in one screw, waiting for it to dry, then putting in the other?

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    To help prevent some cupping. The screws end up 32" apart along each edge, so it gives the wood somewhere to go when it wants to expand, and contract by pulling the edges out of perfect straight lines, but it's nothing that anyone can ever notice. Wood is going to move. If you try to change its mind, you will lose the argument.

    No need to ever go back and put in more screws, unless a corner, or edge starts to lift. After living with these decks for decades, and no complaints by any of the buyers of houses I've sold built like this, the only thing I can see that two fasteners per joist do is shorten the lifespan.

    It's always common for people to think that more is better, but it's not always true.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    East Virginia
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    710
    Tom, Is that mainly loblolly or longleaf YP you're using down there?

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    I wish it was Longleaf. We're right on the edge of the growing zone, but it was all cut long ago, before my time. Almost all the Pine grown around here now is Loblolly. In Colonial times there was a Pine referred to as "Old Field Pine", and was considered an inferior type. I always wondered if that was Loblolly.

    When I first started building houses in 1973, it was possible to get good quality lumber. Even 2x4's were bought straight, and stayed straight. Suppliers always had nice, clear finish boards in all sizes up through 5/4 x 12's. They used to saw the logs, and growers took pride in growing nice saw logs, stack the lumber in huge stacks in the yard on stickers to air dry for a year, then kiln dry it, and finish to size. The kilns were slow drying, using sawdust burning to generate steam for heat. Yellow Pine started straight, and stayed straight.

    The big box stores put the last one of those mills around here out of business in 1992. Now logs are grown for maximum tonnage per acre, with no regard for how high the first limbs are, or quality of logs. Mills saw the logs, they're kiln dried overnight, finished to size the next morning, and bundles are banded for shipment. You need to stand back when the bands are cut, and I guess everyone who works with wood knows what YP is like these days. You can't even buy 2x4's any more because they gave up on them staying straight enough for anything, except some specialty suppliers still making them for truss builders.

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