Q & A

Should Decking Boards Run Parallel To The House?

A deck can be built in numerous ways. You can use a ledger board to secure it to your home, or you can set it up so it stands on its own. If you don’t have much experience with deck construction, you could be unsure as to whether or not the deck boards should run parallel to the house. That would be:

The joists determine the orientation of the decking boards. Since the joists of an attached deck must run vertically, the deck boards in such a structure will run in a parallel direction to the house. The deck boards can be perpendicular to the house if the deck is detached from the building.

Let’s dig deeper into this topic now that you know decking boards should be installed parallel to the joists. In this piece, I will discuss the importance of laying decking boards in a specific direction, the existence of a “best way,” and the feasibility of reversing the initial orientation of decking boards.

The following is for those who are interested in decking boards and the proper way to instal and run them.

Does It Matter Which Way You Lay Decking Boards?

Decking boards must be laid perpendicular to the joists, thus the direction in which they are laid is important. The deck’s stability depends on this. The boards would ‘fall through’ if they were positioned perpendicular to the joists, which may result in significant harm.

Also, make sure to lay the ridge side of the deck boards down when constructing your deck. This facilitates water drainage and air circulation under the boards. The boards must be installed at an angle parallel to the grooves.

Should Decking Boards Be Horizontal Or Vertical?

Decking boards should be laid in a specific direction. Stability is more important than looks in this case. The deck needs to be constructed in a way that ensures the safety of those using it. The joists of a deck must adhere to local building codes, so they must:

be 16 or 24 inches apart, depending on the deck planks you use.
cover 1.5 times as much ground in feet as they do in inches.
match the deck’s dimensions; larger decks call for larger joists, and vice versa.

What Is The Best Way To Lay Decking Boards?

The deck boards should be laid in a manner that complies with all applicable regional and national building codes. Inadequately constructed decks provide a risk of collapse when subjected to loads such as those imposed by foot traffic or snow.

Decking board installation is largely determined by the material you choose, yet there are some universal truths. It’s likely that you’ll employ either pressure-treated wood planks or Trex-style deck boards. Decking planks should be laid in the following (allegedly) optimal (and secure) order:

You can use the recommended Trex screws, or you can do what I did and use wood screws. Similar to Trex, various man-made materials now come with grooves on both ends. These notches pair together with a specialised clip.
The deck board’s groove receives the clip, which is then fastened into the joist.
Boards are put one after the other by butting them up against the one already in place.
Clips or screws are then fastened to the opposite side of the new deck board, and so on.
Because they are flush with the surface of the deck board, these clips will be difficult to notice.
It was easy to do, and now my deck is beautiful.
Screw the board down at every joist intersection if you’re using pressure-treated planks. Two screws are required at each of these locations, at a minimum.
The screws holding the board to the joist could be concealed by using a clip and attaching the board from below. This method yields a much tidier appearance.
Although this method of securing the boards requires more time and effort, the results are well worth it.

Can I Change Direction Of Decking Boards From Parallel To Perpendicular?

It’s possible that you have a deck in which the boards are installed perpendicular to the house, and that this configuration does not appeal to your aesthetic sensibilities. The good news is that this is something you can alter; the bad news is that doing so will require effort. And yet, by making just one adjustment, you may give your outdoor space a whole new level of subtle, yet distinct aesthetic intrigue!

Task requires blocking joists to flip decking planks from parallel to perpendicular orientation. In order to reuse the already-installed beams while keeping the same framed structure, blocking must be installed between the parallel joists, one joist hanger at a time.

Decks can be made more sturdy and versatile by including blocking (or backing) between the deck boards, which also lets you switch up the board pattern. More blocking will reduce the amount of “bounce” in the deck.

Should I Flip My Deck Boards?

Instead of tearing up your existing deck and putting in new boards, try giving board flipping a go if it’s starting to look worn. This will not only extend the life of your deck boards by a few years, but it will also save you money in the long run because new decking boards can be rather pricey.

Get out your flashlight and take a look at the decking boards from below. Pry up the boards and reinstall them with the weathered side down if they appear to be in good shape (which they should be since they are less exposed to sun, rain, and wind). Despite the additional work involved, the savings over merely replacing the boards will be substantial.

Obviously, you need to make sure the boards won’t fall apart. If the boards give somewhat when you tread on them, it could be time to get some new ones.

Should Decking Be Laid Level?

Decks are typically graded or inclined ever-so-slightly to aid water drainage. Rain will naturally drain off correctly spaced deck planks, thus a slope is not necessary. In order to guarantee the deck’s safety and stability, it must be “level” (apart from the necessary grading).

In order to accommodate expansion and water drainage, decking planks are always set flat side down with a small gap between them. A modest grading of the earth under the deck’s perimeter will ensure that it slopes away from the house as intended. With this, rainwater may be directed away from the house.

What Gap Should You Leave Between Decking Boards?

Deck planks need to have small spaces between them to allow for expansion and contraction and water drainage. In most cases, a spacing of about 1/8 in., or the diameter of an 8D nail, is suitable. Use a spacer tool throughout the board for uniform spacing.

Leaving a smaller spacing, say 1/16″ instead of the usual 1/4″, is recommended when working with pressure-treated wood. Because boards need to be fitted more snugly together because of the wood being wet when installed, this is a common problem when installing flooring. A 16D nail can be used as a spacer to keep the boards at the same distance apart.


As a last point, deck boards are laid down in a direction that follows the joists. The deck boards should run perpendicular to the house if the deck is attached to the home. The deck planks can be laid in either a vertical or horizontal orientation depending on personal preference and whether or not the deck is attached to the home. It is dependent on the framing of the detached deck and the direction of the joists.

I pray that this essay has been helpful to you. Thanks for reading, and best wishes on your forthcoming outdoor deck building or remodelling job!



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