I'm looking at needing to rebuild my back deck and researching my options. The way the deck is currently rotting It appears that it is at the seams where two adjacent boards share the same joist it is the most likely place to degrade.

The deck is about 15' long while the boards are about 8', so we have seams in the middle of each run (it's offset so the seams aren't all in the middle, but there are still cuts).

Is there any reason I should avoid using boards that run the entire length of the deck? (I'd think not, but I'm starting to realize that there might be non-obvious gotcha's here.)

2 Answers 2


I've done a few decks, including my own, and have always spanned the entire deck with the planks. This depends on the length of the deck and if the size is available. For DIY's, hauling the longer boards could be a problem but sistering the joists where a smaller lengths would be connected is more of a chore in my humble opinion.


I'm not aware of any structural reasons why you would need to use shorter lumber. 16' is a commonly available length for deck boards and they can be trimmed to fit as appropriate (I would do the trimming on-site to make sure everything fits). They will be slightly more rigid than the current 8' join location but I don't think that's a factor in conventional deck designs.

One small issue might be logistical - a 16' board is harder to fit in the back of your car, trailer or truck, and you might want a helper to move or position them.


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