Pro Tips: 7 Wow-Factor Tricks For Installing DIY Hardwood Decking

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An old carpenter once told me:

“It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to work right and look right.” 

While that’s not always true in life, in the case of decking it is.  If you have minor underlying problems that affect measurements or squaring, a little planning and some “fudgery” (from the Latin: fudgicus maximus) will make them disappear. A beautiful Mataverde hardwood deck can increase both the value and enjoyment of your home. With some preparation and attention to detail, anyone can get the job done with professional looking results.


A bi-level deck and stairs on a house made with cumara decking and an ipe railing system, with planters and patio furniture

We have gathered seven tips on deck board installation from our Mataverde decking professionals. These tips will help you pinpoint, resolve, and maybe 'fudge' these issues.


1. Plan to install the deck board starting at the outside edge and work your way in toward the house. Most DIY homeowners would plan to start from the house so this may seem counterintuitive. But consider that last board, barring some sort of miracle, will need to be ripped and in many cases, taper ripped. It’s best to hide those cuts and inconsistencies against the house where it is much less noticeable.


2. Snap a chalk line that represents the inside edge of the first decking board, accounting for the reveal and fascia. Measure back to the house and make certain the numbers are consistent. If not, utilize some of that 'fudgery' by skewing the line a bit. Doing this allows you to remain reasonably square off the house, and maintain a reasonably consistent reveal on the outside.  A happy medium is the goal.


3. Take the time to set that first board exactly on the line. This sets up the rest of the deck. Otherwise, any wobbles or curves will compound as you move forward. It’s worth it to get this right.


4. Decide on the gap measurement between boards and do everything in your power to maintain a consistent gap. Hidden fasteners have a predetermined gap. If you decide to face screw, use a spacer and stick with it. Use your foot, a chisel, prybar, one of those decking bars, or whatever it takes to keep your boards tight against the spacer and maintain that gap.  Again, any inconsistencies will compound as you go.


Get Inspired: Decking Project Photo Gallery


Get Inspired: Check out the Decking Project Photo Galleries


5. Measure back to the house frequently. It’s not uncommon, (due to varying board widths, bad milling, or slight discrepancies), to have to adjust as you go. If things start to get wonky, it’s much easier to deal with it sooner rather than later.  If necessary, adjust your spacing but do it over several boards.  Don’t try to make it up all at once.


6. Run the ends of the decking “wild” over the framing. Don’t try to cut each board to a finished length, it seldom works out in the end.  Let the boards overhang by several inches. Once all the decking has been laid, go back and snap a chalk line at the reveal you chose and then carefully cut the line with a circular saw.


7. Finally, it’s a good idea to install the fascia after all the decking has been laid but before you make any final cuts. It’s one last opportunity to straighten out any funky framing. If the framing has a bend or a wobble to it, or is a little out of square, a little shimming behind the fascia can make it disappear. This leaves a nice, straight finished product. Taking a little time to apply these tips to your install will save you a lot more time and headaches as you go. You can...

Ready to see options?  REQUEST DECKING SAMPLES


Ipe hardwood deck-1


... install a professional-looking deck and add real wow-factor to your home. Your friends and neighbors will ask in awe, “who installed this for you”? You can proudly answer it was a DIY project with Mataverde decking and then bask in their admiration. We want you to be proud of your deck and your hard work, so we are here to help with technical information.

Download the  2020 Ultimate Guide to Decking


download the ultimate guide to decking


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