Best Practices to Make Sure Decking Beats the Heat

nov11 Exposure to the extreme heat of summer can wreak havoc on PVC decking.

For example, during the recent heat wave, we delivered white vinyl bead board to a customer. Upon delivery, we discovered the top boards were badly warped. Why? The trim had come encased in plastic and wrapped in a black plastic cover, which resulted in a greenhouse effect.

The intense heat that built up was too much for the boards, causing them to expand and contract to the point of warping.

We, of course, replaced the boards, but it goes to show how heat can compromise decking material if precautions are not taken.

So how can you help decking material stand up to the high temperatures and humidity?

Consider these best installation practices to keep decking material from expanding and contracting when Mother Nature turns up the heat:

  •  Ensure there is adequate ventilation for decking materials (when in storage
    and during transport).
  • Cover decking with a light-colored tarp before installing.
  • Fasten boards as soon as possible after cutting them.
  • Use two screws per joist (no more than 1/2” from ends) when installing.
  • Provide enough clearance beneath the deck to allow for proper air circulation.
  •  Leave a 1/8” to 1/4” gap between decking and walls, posts, or other structures.
  • Fasten the ends of boards securely to the building or to framing.

For more detailed information about maintaining the integrity of decking material before, during, and after installation, always read the manufacturer’s product guide.