HARDWOOD DECKING INSTALLATION GUIDELINES
Mataverde® Hardwood Decking
Congratulations on your selection of Mataverde® Premium Hardwood Decking for your deck project.
In addition to its durability and natural resistance to decay, Mataverde® Hardwood Decking is a beautiful, all-natural and all-wood decking material. Whether you have chosen Ipe decking, Machiche decking, Garapa decking, Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry) wood decking or Cumaru hardwood decking, the rich variety of graining and coloration of each decking board is as unique as a fingerprint and adds tremendous character to your new deck.
By following a common sense approach to the planning, decking installation and care of your new deck, you are assured of a wonderful finished deck project that will afford you years of enjoyment and enduring beauty and value.
STEPS FOR INSTALLING YOUR NEW MATAVERDE PREMIUM HARDWOOD DECK:
1. PLANNING YOUR WOOD DECKING LAYOUT
Mataverde® Premium Hardwood Decking is available in Ipe, Cumaru, Garapa and Machiche in random lengths, typically from 7’ to 20’. The natural shading, coloration and graining variations of each deck board add to the character and overall visual appeal of your finished deck project.
Like a hardwood floor, an assortment of lengths of decking boards will also add immeasurably to the distinctiveness of your deck. To prevent being caught short, always add 5% to 6% to your decking material estimates to allow for cutting, trimming, waste and best appearance.
See Decking Stock List for ordering guidelines
2. DECK WOOD PREPARATION AND ACCLIMATION
Handling and Cutting of Hardwood Decking Material
- Keep the decking materials out of direct sunlight until they are ready to be installed and finished. A tarp will work well, but leave the ends of the decking open to the air.
- YOU MUST ACCLIMATE Mataverde® hardwood decking and lumber to local moisture levels. Air-drying is an excellent way to achieve this. Equilibrium moisture content (EMC) varies significantly in different regions of the country; for additional information please contact your Mataverde® representative.
- When fully seasoned, expect shrinkage of approximately 1/16” - 1/8” on 3 ½” wide deck boards; 1/8” - 1/4” on 5 ½” wide deck boards.
- Although Mataverde® decking can be cut and machined with standard woodworking tools, carbide tipped cutters are recommended for large jobs and best results.
- Due to the high density of Mataverde® hardwood decking, a slower feed rate is recommended when machining this wood.
- Hardwood lumber 3” and 4” thick requires additional time to acclimate and may have some slight cracking or checking at time of installation. Many of these surface checks will close up after acclimation.
3. INSTALLING YOUR DECKING BOARDS
Do not construct your deck without groundside ventilation. Proper air circulation beneath the deck is critical to dimensional stability. A minimum of 18” to 24” of unobstructed airspace under the deck is essential.
For residential deck construction, 1x4 and 1x6 hardwood deck boards will span 16” on center; 5/4x4 and 5/4x6 deck boards will span 24” on center.
Deck boards should be installed with slight spacing for drainage, a penny may be used as a guide for spacing between boards. Some shrinking will occur as the wood dries. The approximate shrinkage is 1/16” - 1/8” on 3½” wide deck boards; 1/8” - 1/4” on 5 ½” wide deck boards.
Deck boards requiring straightening should be clamped in the desired position until properly fastened. Use of a Bow Wrench will work well. Deck screws may break if used to force deck boards into position.
Attach sub-rail to rail cap using 1” stainless steel screws.
Tongue & Groove Mataverde® hardwood decking may be fastened through the tongue if predrilled or nailed through the face of the deck board without pre-drilling.
PLEASE NOTE: Some shrinkage of decking boards will take place on this product.
IMPORTANT: Ventilation is critical with any fastening system other than screwing through the face of the deck boards.
4. DECK FASTENING METHODS
Fastening your hardwood decking boards to your deck’s substructure is an important decision. The strongest and best method of fastening hardwood decking boards is with the appropriate stainless steel deck screws. This will provide maximum fastening power and maintain the position of the decking boards over time.
Decking Screw-Down Method (A): The traditional approach has been to pre-drill the holes and then screw the decking boards into the frame. Pre-drill fastener pilot holes 7/8 of the actual screw size.
Use a drill bit designed to extract stock during the drilling. If you would like the screw heads to be hidden, the pre-drill would include a countersink preparation as well so that plugs may be installed over the top of the screw heads.
Decking Screw-Down Method (B): A recent breakthrough in deck screw technology has been developed. This deck fastening method is performed with a patented deck screw and provides drilling, countersinking and screwing all in one simple step. Although the deck screw heads are visible, they may be countersunk to your preferred depth in the deck board.
Hidden Deck Fastener Method: This method of deck fastening provides a cleaner look to the deck surface because no screw heads or plugs appear on the surface of your deck.
Initial Decking Preparation: In order to minimize any checking (small cracks) in Mataverde® Premium Hardwood Decking boards, it is necessary to seal any cut ends of the decking with Anchorseal®. A disposable sponge brush works great. Take care to apply this product to the end grains of the decking boards only, not the face of the deck boards.
Surface Sanding of Your Deck: If you wish to start out with a more uniform look on your deck surface, you may sand the deck boards lightly after installation (an 80 grit sandpaper works best). This will allow any minor marks, scratches or surface imperfections in the deck boards to blend for a more “even” appearance. A thorough sweeping and rinsing (water is fine) of your deck surface is also recommended. If you plan to seal your deck with a penetrating oil and desire a more uniform appearance, a light sanding of the deck surface is highly recommended.
5. DECKING APPEARANCE GUIDELINES
Consider the following questions when laying out hardwood decking boards prior to fastening:
Q. If you plan to seal your deck so the wood’s original colors remain visible, do you want to create a “random” graining appearance, a “contrasting” graining or a “blended” graining appearance?
A. For a random graining effect, simply lay the decking boards out at random. For a contrasting effect, deliberately select darker and lighter deck boards and alternate them for a more dramatic effect. For a blended effect, carefully lay out the deck boards for a more uniform shading effect.
Q. I have a mixture of short, medium and long decking boards. What is the best way to lay them out?
A. You can create a random layout or a repetitive pattern layout with your decking boards. The key is to make sure that that adjacent deck boards do not start or stop at the same deck joist.
Q. I would like to let my deck naturally weather to a silvery color. Is there anything I should do?
A. Yes. One initial coating of Penofin oil sealer (or similar product) is highly recommended after your decking installation is complete. The oil sealer will help protect the decking boards from harmful UV rays during this acclimation period and help to minimize surface checking. This allows your hardwood decking to acclimate gently to the local EMC (Equilibrium Moisture Content) in your area.