I have a large deck with runs 45' and longer where I'm replacing all the deck boards using premium SYP (infrastructure of deck is in great shape, so just replacing deck boards). The project is going great thus far for the shorter runs (16' and less) where I can use a single board. However I'm now in the part that spans the house and there are longer runs.
The original installation used 45 degree beveled ends that would overlap and meet at the same joist. Considering this deck is over 20 years old, I can see from direct proof that method appeared to work well 80% of the time. There was no real expansion lengthwise on the boards that stretched, ruined, or compromised this style of butting boards together. This allows using only 2 screws/nails at a single joist driving through 2 boards.
Everything I read says, "use a traditional butt joint where the boards just evenly meet at a joist, and use 2 fasteners per board at an angle to secure to the single joist." I'm not a huge fan of this because overtime the small seam that will prevail allows trapped debris inside that doesn't come out easily. Even with joist tape protecting the joists, this doesn't seem to work as well. As an example, here is an example of 2 boards I replaced 2 years ago (quick, isolated repair) using a traditional butt joint at a single joist, and look at all the trapped debris:
I did a ton of research and found very little in the way of anyone else actually using overlapping, beveled 45 degree deck board ends at a single joist. Anything I could find say, "don't do it, someone will catch their foot on one of the boards sticking up." I could sister some blocks below to the joists to allow a wider width for fastening, but this deck is 25' in the air and I can't do full sistering of the joist lengths. I could do small sections at a time, but this will get messy underneath. To clarify, this is such a big project, I'm ripping up 2-4 rows of the deck at a time and replacing (and it's going really well), so no ladders or scaffolding underneath with all the decking removed to really attack the joists to sister in full lengths.
Due to the long runs, really a 'feature board' running perpendicular isn't going to suffice either, as the adjoining deck boards would end up floating off the ends of the prvious joist and would require some blocking.
Basically the constraint here is: I need to continue to join the deck boards at a single joist. I see 2 options:
- 45 degree beveled ends overlapping, secured with 2 screws
- Traditional board to board butt joint (I read something about back cutting at 1-2 degrees, but don't fully understand that method?)
I need help understanding why the 45 degree overlapping butt joint is not a good idea, when I've showed it did hold up over decades of wear. I'm also open to doing a traditional butt joint because honestly it's easier, but I don't like the trapped debris (and we get a ton of it living in the mountains surrounded by trees that drop stuff all year long). Or is there another method I can use I haven't thought about? I'm not really enticed by a proprietary underneath fastening system being introduced as that's not what I'm using on this deck, but I'm open to listen. Thoughts please?
Here's a picture of a finished set of boards joining with 45 degree beveled ends; I'm pretty happy with the end result. This was one of the 1st boards I did, so I improved and the nails went straight into the joist later. In my case I'll be using some 20x Rustoleum paint on the deck to match the rest, which will fill in small inconsistencies, so that works to my favor as well using this method.