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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Northern Jersey
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    Default Enlarging a deck gap

    If you wanted to enlarge the gap between 5/4x6 deck boards what would you use?

    First I was thinking a router with a spiral down cut bit may be better than a straight bit but I fear it's aggressive nature will walk all over the place.

    Now I think neither will worksafely free hand and I may need an edge guide locked on to the nieghboring plank groove to control the cut. Right now you could stand under this deck and stay dry during rain so even an edge guide won't just drop in the groove.

    Even considered the circular saw but the kerf doesnt widen the gap enough.
    Tom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Seattle, WA
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    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    I think you would have better luck removing the boards and re-laying the decking. Might be nearly as fast, too, depending on how they are installed.
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Wasilla, Alaska
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    631

    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    I think the circular saw may work better than you think. After you make the cuts the boards will have a chance to dry out and the gaps will probably grow.
    Michael

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Northwest Indiana
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    5,576

    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    If the planks are wet now and just touching each other, do you really need to open the gap? How is the gap when they are dry? Are the planks tenting? Don't forget you will need to treat the cuts once you are done.

    Answers to the above questions and how much you need to remove, would determine the tool to use. 1/8" equals saw, anything larger would be a router with the proper size bit.

    People will pay extra for that dry space below the deck;-)

    Tom
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    The problem with this deck is its a wrap around deck close to 1100SF its mahogany with rustic channel skirting. The elevation goes from 2 ft in the front left grade and continues around the house to the right side. As it continues the grade grow to a point of 8ft in the back.

    So even though there is a high grade the low lying areas dont allow air flow. They have cut back landscaping and opened wood fencing areas as well. Still little help.

    The deck boards were too tight from day 1 and have been sliced with a circular once. I do think becasue they were cut the untreated edges drew in even more water. They are so tight if you look from below you see no light.

    The plan is to change out misc..boards and open then remaining gaps enough to breath, drain and seal. This thing is big and all diagonal. Finances are not there to replace it so we agreed to invest 2 days and see what comes of it.
    Tom

  6. #6
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    Northern Jersey
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    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    I will further add that the railing posts are homemade 1x4 over some kind of dimensional lumber ripped to a true 2x2 and each of these are rotten from the inside, some have mushrooms. In this case were thinking a true 4x4 rather than a built up is better all around.

    Again lack of air and bad drainage. That skirting doesnt continue around the back just the front for curb appeal.

    If there were ever a job made for a manmade product its this one.
    Tom

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    Even manmade products are no cure for bad design and construction...
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Bergen County, NJ
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    4,410

    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    What about one of those tiny Makita trim saws with the 3" blade?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    down the shore
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    2,257

    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    It's a shame the installation was poor. Could have been a beautiful deck.

    I remedied a similar deck two yrs ago. Unscrewed the boards and re-spaced.

    Turned out well, but I grossly underestimated the time. I would have been better figuring the time to install new and multiply by at least 2. Client was a sr citizen who didn't have the money to replace everything, but I was a little too nice about the price.

    If you slice between the boards, will you be able to seal the edges so they don't take in water?
    Last edited by S.Joisey; 09-22-2011 at 04:33 PM.

  10. #10
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    Northern Jersey
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    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    The boards were already sliced with a circular. The deck is big and nailed with ring shank so enough said there. Like I said the goal is to open this up to at least buy time or provide more space for the drainage. Anything to involved will not be economical given time already lapsed in the deck life span.
    Tom

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Northwest Indiana
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    5,576

    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    Tom,

    It maybe time to buy a track saw or a track and router that will run on it. Seems as if you will need to open the space with a router. After you open the space, you can use the same tools to round over the edge if need be. This I feel will give you the best and straightest cut.

    If the mahogany was not originally treated (is treat mahogany available?), you should not have to do that now, just seal it.

    Tom
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Branford, CT 06405
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    3,675

    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    Is the plan to "cut" a space in every row, or every 3-4 rows? It sounds like using a circ saw will not provide enough space unless you can set up dual blade setup?

    Or maybe an electric chainsaw with a guide? So far you think that cutting the first sawspace expanded to fill......what happens if you cut a larger space, AND it doesn't close at all, but instead dries out and gaps even larger??

    This is one tricky gamble to remedy!
    Take Care

    Jim

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    That would be a perk. I have held out on the track set ups.

    I also was thinking about rounding over those edges but only if things seem to be going well. If I cant find a real simple solution the whole thing may not be worthy. Must be some kind of rig to guide things. I think the bit would have to be somekind of pilot downcut spiral.

    Still thinking this out. Thanks for the brain work
    Tom

  14. #14
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    Northern Jersey
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    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    Quote Originally Posted by James Eggert View Post
    Is the plan to "cut" a space in every row, or every 3-4 rows?
    Every row.
    Quote Originally Posted by James Eggert View Post
    It sounds like using a circ saw will not provide enough space unless you can set up dual blade setup?
    Do they make a dual blade set up?

    Quote Originally Posted by James Eggert View Post
    So far you think that cutting the first sawspace expanded to fill......what happens if you cut a larger space, AND it doesn't close at all, but instead dries out and gaps even larger??
    No one willcomplain if the gap is a little bigger.

    Quote Originally Posted by James Eggert View Post
    This is one tricky gamble to remedy!
    Absolutley
    Tom

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    247

    Default Re: Enlarging a deck gap

    TN,
    You mention you will be replacing boards in some areas.
    Before comitting to a plan, maybe run a circ. saw along the edge of one of the boards to be replaced. Maybe even a 10" saw (+1/8").
    Once you have established the gap, you should be able to test a plunge router & guide combo using the established gap for the router guide.
    Finishing the ends with perhaps a laminate router with offset base if railings etc. interfere.

    My 2¢
    Charlie

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