how to extreme

Upgrade your Deck

Construction How-To, Decks, Decks, Outdoor Living, Projects August 3, 2016 Sonia


Treated lumber usually shrinks over time as it dries, so we install the boards tightly together with no visible gaps at the sides. When the boards shrink slightly, the gaps will open and allow better drainage. If you “pre-gap” treated lumber, then sometimes the spaces between boards can appear too wide after the lumber dries.

The channels can be cut to size with metal snips.

The channels can be cut to size with metal snips.

To fasten the boards, drive screws at an angle through the lower Shadoe Track mounting holes and into the underside of the deck boards. Use at least two screws at each joist-to-decking intersection. The manufacturer recommends using the 1-1/4-in. coated Tru-Hold screws that are included with each package.

Start at one corner and place the boards tightly together. Use high-quality treated lumber such as Ecolife Stabilized Weather-Resistant Wood.

Start at one corner and place the boards tightly together. Use high-quality treated lumber such as Ecolife Stabilized Weather-Resistant Wood.

Where the ends of two deck boards butt together over a joist, the Shadoe Track can be reversed so you can fasten both ends of the splice from below. Alternatively, you can place scrap blocking just long enough to bridge across the spliced board and two adjacent deck boards, then drive screws through the block and into the underside of the decking to cinch down the middle board. The length of your screws will depend on the thickness of your blocking and decking material, but be sure the fasteners aren’t long enough to penetrate the deck surface.

Clamping

For standard installations, we usually like to adjust the decking with a board-straightening tool like the Hardwood Wrench. For this project, however, the Shadoe Track channels didn’t fit our go-to tool, so we took a different approach: using clamps to straighten bowed boards.

We recommend fastening the boards with an impact driver equipped with a bit-holder extension and a sliding collar that can hold the crew straight while you drive it in.

We recommend fastening the boards with an impact driver equipped with a bit-holder extension and a sliding collar that can hold the crew straight while you drive it in.

The Ecolife boards weren’t badly bowed, but even 1/4 inch can create an unsightly gap, and the spacing issues can accumulate and worsen throughout the installation if you don’t address every row of boards. We used a combination of long bar clamp and pipe clamps, anchoring one end against the deck’s fascia board and pinching the other end against a problem board until it straightened. As we progressed we would clamp several boards together at a time and fasten them all at once from below.

Drive the screws at an angle into the Shadoe Track mounting holes. The manufacturer recommends using the coated 1-1/4" Tru-Hold screws included with the kit.

Drive the screws at an angle into the Shadoe Track mounting holes. The manufacturer recommends using the coated 1-1/4″ Tru-Hold screws included with the kit.