Hardwood Decking Installation & Maintenance

Created November 2015


WOOD DECKING INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS:- Two important factors that affect the performance of a wood deck are:

  1. The Design:- the protection built into the deck at the time of installation will help protect each wood component from moisture and U.V. light.

  2. Maintenance:- regular oiling will rejuvenate the moisture protecting and ultra violet (U.V.) light protecting properties of the deck’s surface.

INSTALLATION:- Correct installation is critical to performance and proper procedures must be followed at all times:

  1. Wood decking must ACCLIMATIZE (12” off the ground & each board ventilated) to the local environment (temperature & humidity) for 7 days prior to installation. Do not cover with plastic or tarp as this will trap moisture. Do not allow boards to get wet or sit in the sun prior to installation.

  2. JOIST / FRAME SUPPORT: Installed decking must be well supported. The under-frame must be strong and stiff to support the required weight. Joists must be spaced correctly depending on the board’s thickness. For ¾” or ⅞” thick decking we recommend 12” to 14” maximum spacing between each joist. For 1 ½” decking we suggest 18″ to 24″. Closer spacing provides greater support and allows more fasteners (screws or clips) per square foot. Do not to cut corners during the installation process. Each contact point between the deck and joist must have a fastener.

  3. STAINLESS STEEL deck screws (grade 316 must be used by the ocean) will reduce rusting and premature deck failure. Two screws must be used at each contact point where the deck sits on the joist support. When the ends of two deck boards meet, each piece should be supported by a 1 ½” joist and two screws must be used on each end. This usually necessitates mating a second short joist at these points. Screws holes must be predrilled and installed at least ¾” from the ends and sides of the decking. We recommend filling each pre-drilled hole with a water proof caulking compound to retard the entry of water into the screw holes thereby retarding the rotting process. Painting all the joists and framing members on all surfaces with Gori 88 wood protection will greatly lengthen the life of these wood support components. Applying the same water proof caulking compound between the joists and the wood decking at each point of contact will retard the rotting process of both wood components by reducing permanent moisture resting against the wood surfaces, with the significant added benefit of retarding the entry of moisture into the holes in the joists where the decking screw enters. Dougall Flooring supplies pre-drill and countersink sets with screw hole depth positioners that match the 316 grade decking screws we also supply. We also supply optional matching wood plugs. Countersinking the screw 1/16″ below the surface allows for sanding and re-sanding down the road.

  4. VENTILATION / MOISTURE: Cross ventilation under a deck is critical to ensure stability, reduce cupping, reduce surface checking, and minimize the natural movement of wood. Wood should be in moisture equilibrium on all surfaces which means the moisture levels above and below the deck should be similar. Deck design should allow a minimum of 18″ of open air under the joist along with open sides for proper cross ventilation. It is best not to install decking over a concrete pad due to water retention which will cause cupping & crowning of the deck boards. Do not allow water to collect under a deck and ensure the ground below is sloped for run off. Prolonged periods of trapped moisture under a deck will promote rot which is a fungus. Neither decking nor the frame should be exposed to constant moisture. The frame and underside of each deck board should be sealed and painted especially at all contact points. This will help protect the wood from moisture which will reduce rotting. FRAMING: Hardwood frames and posts are more durable than pine, however for financial reasons most people choose pine to build the frame. In many applications pine will perform adequately if installed correctly (especially if painted on all surfaces with Gori 88 wood protection) but sometimes there are areas where hardwood framing should be used (also best if coated on all surfaces with Gori 88 wood protection). One such example would be in areas where water collects and where the frame will be in frequent contact with dampness (which is never recommended).

MAINTENANCE INSTRUCTIONS:- Good maintenance will help keep the original wood colour and prevent the deck from greying. Moisture causes rot. U.V. light causes wood to crack and split. The extent to which protection from these two degrading factors are built into the original installation and how it is maintained after installation will hugely affect the longevity of any wood deck. Horizontal exterior wood applications are punished more than vertical applications like fences. Bondex and Messmer’s Deck Oils are designed for exterior wood decking. Gori 88 is designed for protecting vertical wood surfaces. Our deck oils have U.V. absorbers that help protect the deck from sunlight and also seal the wood from moisture. From our experience decking oils will typically last 3-6 months in intense sunlight. Shaded areas will last a lot longer and fully covered areas can last longer still. Apply another coat of Deck Oil when the deck begins looking dry. Clean first with Messmer’s deck cleaner (a powder mixed with water). The active ingredient removes dirt and plant matter that live in the pores of the wood. Deck Oil is applied with either brush or cotton cloth after drying. Oil should be left on the deck for approx. 30 minutes to allow oil to fully absorb. All excess must be removed from the surface with a dry cloth to prevent a sticky or tacky residue. Apply one coat.

INSTALLER DISCLAIMER:- Other than under exceptional circumstances with arrangements documented in writing, Dougall Flooring does not install decking. Dougall Flooring earns no money from installation, & therefore does not warrantee the installation of any of its products. Customers often do not know who is in the business of installing decking and therefore rely on Dougall Flooring to link them with a person or persons who offer this service. When this is done, it is a free service offered by Dougall Flooring and does not constitute any form of warrantee or recommendation. Dougall Flooring usually links customers with one person offering installation services as experience tells us that this is the wish of most customers. However, customers are encouraged to independently seek out persons in the installation business, and/or to ask Dougall Flooring for a list of persons/companies in this business and interview and get quotes from several of them. Our experience is that customers often do not want to take the time to exercise normal commercial due diligence when selecting an installer, but we encourage customers to do so.As many persons involved in installation do not have offices, fax machines, or computers, Dougall Flooring offers free services to both its Customers and Installers by often assisting installers with the preparation, typing & faxing of their installation quotations, & often providing a location for customers to collect quotations and leave money for installers. None of these free activities constitute and form a warrantee or guarantee by Dougall Flooring for the work done by any installer. If a customer meets an installer in our showroom, this does not constitute a recommendation or referral from Dougall Flooring. We cannot control who enters our showroom. We therefore emphasize that Dougall Flooring is not involved in installation, & does not warrantee the work done by any installer, no matter how a particular installer was identified or selected, and no matter what free services Dougall Flooring offered to assist either the Customer or the Installer.

QUANTITY DISCLAIMER:- the amount of materials purchased are ultimate responsibility of the installer and the customer – not Dougall Flooring.

TERMITE DISCLAIMER:- When we purchase hardwood lumber from which we manufacture hardwood decking or when we purchase hardwood decking, we do not receive a Termite Guarantee from our suppliers. All hardwood decking products are untreated. In fact, we are not aware of any High Density Hardwoods available from anywhere in the world that are treated for termites. Hardwoods are generally too dense to treat (impregnate) so we try to purchase hardwoods with as much natural resistance to termites as possible. However, our hardwoods must meet other criteria, such as durability, attractive colour, attractive grain structure, stability, availability, and price. The balance between all these criteria is difficult to achieve in spite of our considerable efforts. Consequently, when we sell hardwood decking we do not sell them with a Termite Guarantee, & neither to the best of our knowledge does any other company in the world. We do purchase several hardwoods that are described as being Highly Resistant to Termites. Some of our woods have never been eaten by termites to the best of our knowledge. For most of the hardwoods we sell, we have the benefit of many years of experience and/or studies on their termite resistance. Any member of the Dougall family listed below would be pleased to share this knowledge, which we ask that you request in writing to avoid the risk of misunderstanding. We have several woods with a long history of excellent termite resistance.

It is very difficult for us to control the accuracy of information given to customers by each and every person in the Dougall Flooring organization. Therefore, the only persons authorized to give any official information pertaining to Dougall Flooring Limited and its products are Anna, Jonathan, Anthony & Alex Dougall. To avoid misunderstandings, conversations will not be considered official unless they are confirmed in writing by one of the above persons.