How much can composite decking boards shrink?

December 7, 2022

Composite decking boards planks will naturally expand and shrink as temperatures rise and fall. As a result, the ends of the boards should never be placed too close together. So, how much shrinkage can a composite deck withstand? That will be determined by how heated the air is when the device is installed.

When constructing an outdoor deck, one of the factors to consider is how the materials will expand and contract. However, you may be wondering whether composite decking expands or contracts. Why do things behave in this manner? What is the point of knowing this?


What happens when decking materials expand and contract?

When creating a deck, consider how the boards will move when the weather changes. The majority of these modifications occur on typical wooden decks. Other types of surfaces will likewise expand and contract. As a result, it's critical to provide some room for them to grow when putting them.

One of the primary causes of this is humidity. When wooden boards are exposed to high humidity, they absorb water. As a result, the wood grows in size. It also happens when there is moisture on the decking planks. When there isn't enough water in the wood, the boards shrink. As a result, decking materials are more likely to shrink in dry weather.

But here's the question: because composites are partially comprised of wood, do they expand and contract?

Do composite deck planks grow in size?

When it gets hot or cold, most composite decking doesn't fluctuate much in size over the breadth of the board. In contrast, the composite decking board expands and contracts throughout its length. If properly constructed, good composite decking should not shrink significantly.

Composite deck planks will naturally expand and shrink as temps rise and fall. As a result, the ends of the boards should never be placed too close together. Then, in the middle of each board length, secure it with a fastener to prevent it from shifting as the temperature increases and falls.

Docomposite deck planks shrink in size? When the temperature changes, composite decking expands and contracts along the length of the boards. The parts can move without buckling if the spacing is correct.

What is the shrinkage and growth rate of composite decking? People understand that composite decking shrinks and expands along its length rather than across its width. Or, at most, a small amount throughout the width. Carpenters who have previously worked with wood will recognize that this is the inverse of what wood does. Wood only grows about 2% along its length but up to 6-8% throughout its width.

There are numerous reasons why it is critical to consider how the composite boards will expand and contract. Some of the benefits include how simple it is to install, how secure it is, and how widely apart the decks are.

It makes installation easier

When composites are the proper size, they are simple to work with. However, as the temperature rises, the composite decking boards expand and become more flexible. This modification can make it difficult to cut and assemble items. The boards being smaller is also a concern since you may be unable to place them upright.

For locations where temperatures fluctuate dramatically. We recommend using surface fasteners to secure your deck planks. First, check that the deck planks are in the proper position. Then, in the middle of each board length, secure it with a fastener to prevent it from shifting as the temperature increases and falls.

How can knowing this benefit you? It is better to install composites first thing in the morning. When the weather is too hot, it's best to call it a day and try again the next day.

Safety Considerations

Another reason to be concerned about how the exterior boards shrink and develop is safety, especially if nails and screws are used. The nails and screws may travel back up as the boards get smaller and smaller. This could not only harm the deck, but it could also be harmful.

How would knowing this benefit you? If you go with a composite, you might wish to utilize grooved decking boards. These boards' surfaces do not need to be drilled or fastened. Instead, they utilize clips and fasteners to secure the boards. To minimize accidents, if you're still using boards without grooves, check sure the nails and screws are still in place.

How to Lay Out Deck Boards

The most significant reason to understand contraction and expansion is undoubtedly deck board spacing. "Deck board spacing" refers to the distance between the boards.

Because the materials used to produce composite decking can expand and contract. If you place them too close together, the boards will scrape against each other. However, if they are too far apart, large gaps can occur when the boards expand. So, what do you do now?

In general, you should leave between each board 5 to 8 mm. You should also consider your current location. If you reside in a hot climate, the boards are more prone to shrink. In this scenario, you want to narrow the gap slightly. If you live in an area that is constantly rainy and humid, you may want to leave additional space between your decking boards.


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