I recently discovered a great way of installing decking on decks to reduce waste and eliminate warping butt joints. Traditionally many decks are built by installing the decking material perpendicular to the floor joists. By using that layout method, decks that are longer than 16 feet will require butt joints over a joist. Typically those joints will have a 45 degree scarf joint cut in them. Over time those joints will warp, swell and split.
As you can see in the photos the butt joint can become a really bad maintenance issue. The reason there is significant waste is you try and stagger those joints. So the first decking board you might only cut off a couple of inches to get the joint centered over a joist. The next board you’d cut off 16 inches…and so forth to create the stagger.
A much better method is to install all of the decking on an angle. The key here is to set the angle so that you only cut a small piece off of both ends to create the angle. By doing this you can use a full 16 foot long piece each time until you get to the end of the deck. I would estimate that you’ll save 10% compared to using a standard perpendicular decking layout.
The other great benefit is you completely eliminate the butt joints. All of the decking boards will span from the front of the deck to the back of the deck. Next time you plan on installing decking on a deck take the time to consider this installation. Not only will it save you money, it will be easier to maintain and it has a much richer aesthetic appeal.