I am planning on building a deck with composite boards.

The plan is to have a 3x2m platform, however the decking boards I like come in lengths of 3.6m only.

I am wondering how I can best use boards to keep costs as low as possible, whilst also having a design that looks nice. A standard horiontal board design is fine, I'm not wanting anything crazy here.

I could fill the space with full boards, but that would create a lot of waste... enter image description here

But if I was to use all of the material and reduce the amount of boards bought, I could get away with something like enter image description here

However, this isn't very pleasing.

Any thoughts?

3 Answers 3


Subject to adjustment (waste happens) based on where your joists land.

full board

0.6m + 2.4m

1.2m + 1.8m

1.8m + 1.2m

2.4m + 0.6m

full board

Repeat until done.

So, rather than pile all the scraps on one side, you take the excess from the first board, cut it to fit on the "starting side" so it lands on a joist, then cut a board to finish the row, and repeat with the increasingly larger cut-offs. This is pretty much standard flooring practice, and does not look like a pile of scraps dumped on one side of the floor. Unless you happen (or design in advance) to have joists in just the right spots, there will still be waste.

I've only bothered to show one set of (possible) cuts here. The pattern would repeat. If you plan it out, rather than just cut as you go along, you can swap some of the sets to make the joints more random, rather than stair-stepped.

cutting conceptual plan

  • 1
    It may look better if you place the joints "randomly", rather than in a rigid pattern.
    – Hot Licks
    May 22, 2022 at 12:22
  • 2
    For a "random" look go with a "rigid" pattern that is easy to understand. Then shuffle. Adds random without forcing the cuts to change. May 23, 2022 at 14:29

So stagger the joints and make sure each joint lays on a joist.


I find 45 degree angle is a good look. My deck is 45 to the joists so it gives the stiffness of diagonal bracing. Labor is the largest cost. Doing it yourself you can afford a few more boards.

  • Need very close joist spans though...
    – handyman
    May 24, 2022 at 21:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.