As temperatures increase and fall, composite decking boards will naturally expand and contract. As a result, the boards’ ends should never be too close together. How much shrinkage can a composite decking take? That will be determined by how heated the air is when the device is installed.
One of the issues to consider when building an outdoor deck is how the materials will expand and compress. You may be wondering if composite decking expands or contracts. Why do things behave this way? What good is it to know this?
What happens when the materials used for decking expand and contract?
Consider how the boards will move when the weather changes when building a deck. The majority of these changes occur on standard wooden decks. Other types of surfaces will grow and compress as well. As a result, it’s vital to give them some area to grow while placing them.
Humidity is one of the key reasons of this. When exposed to excessive humidity, wooden planks absorb water. As a result, the size of the wood increases. It also happens when the decking boards are damp. The boards shrink when there isn’t enough water in the wood. As a result, in dry weather, decking materials are more likely to shrink.
But here’s the question: do composites expand and contract because they’re partially made of wood?
Do composite deck boards expand in size?
When it gets hot or cold, most composite decking doesn’t change much in size across the board. The composite decking board, on the other hand, expands and contracts along its length. Good composite decking should not shrink much if properly installed.
As temperatures increase and fall, composite deck planks will naturally expand and contract. As a result, the boards’ ends should never be too close together. Then, fix it with a fastener in the middle of each board length to keep it from shifting when the temperature rises and lowers.
Do the dimensions of composite deck planks change? Composite decking expands and contracts along the length of the boards as the temperature changes. If the spacing is correct, the pieces can move without buckling.
How fast does composite decking shrink and grow? The fact that composite decking shrinks and expands down its length rather than across its width is well understood. At most, a small amount throughout the width. Carpenters who have worked with wood before will realize that this is the opposite of what wood does. Wood grows at a rate of roughly 2% along its length but up to 6-8% throughout its width.
There are various reasons why considering how the composite boards will expand and shrink is crucial. Some of the advantages are how easy it is to install, how safe it is, and how far apart the decks are.
It makes installation easier
Composites are easy to work with when they are the right size. The composite decking planks, on the other hand, expand and become more flexible as the temperature rises. This change may make cutting and assembling objects more challenging. The tiny size of the boards is also an issue because you may be unable to arrange them upright.
For places with extreme temperature swings. To secure your deck planks, we recommend utilizing surface fasteners. First, ensure that the deck planks are properly positioned. Then, fix it with a fastener in the middle of each board length to keep it from shifting when the temperature rises and lowers.
How would knowing this help you? Composites should be installed first thing in the morning. When the weather is too hot, it’s best to call it quits for the day and try again the next.
Considerations for Safety
Another reason to be concerned about the shrinkage and development of outside boards is safety, especially if nails and screws are utilized. As the boards get smaller and smaller, the nails and screws may return up. This could be hazardous as well as damaging to the deck.
What advantage would you gain from knowing this? If you choose a composite, you may want to use grooved decking boards. The surfaces of these boards do not need to be drilled or glued. Instead, they use clips and fasteners to hold the boards together. If you’re still using boards without grooves, make sure the nails and screws are securely fastened.
How to Lay Out Deck Boards
The most important cause to comprehend contraction and expansion is unquestionably deck board spacing. The “deck board spacing” is the distance between the boards.
Because the materials used to make composite decking have the ability to expand and compress. The boards will scrape against each other if you set them too close together. When the boards expand, significant gaps might form if they are too far apart. So, what are you going to do now?
In general, you should leave 5 to 8 mm between each board. You should also think about where you are right now. If you live in a hot climate, the boards will shrink more. In this case, you want to close the distance slightly. If you live in a frequently rainy and humid environment, you may want to leave more space between your decking boards.