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        Replanking deck, want to add breaker board Sign In/Join 
        posted
        I'm replanking my deck with 5/4"x4"x12' cedar. The existing 12" spaced joists are in good condition and all are perpendicular to the ledger. Deck is approximately 23' wide. Previous owner/contractor laid down the decking planks with lots of butt joints and both pieces screwed to the same joist at the joints. I want to avoid any butt joints and add a breaker board at the middle of the deck instead. Never done a deck before. Thinking I need to add to the skeleton of the deck to accommodate the breaker board. Should I add new short joists perpendicular to the existing joists for the breaker board?
         
        Posts: 3 | Registered: Apr 30, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of joecaption
        posted Hide Post
        Ok so what's a "breaker" board?
        Deck boards are always just butted together.
        It's never a good look to have all the boards the same length and have them all meet in the middle.
        Just cut the pieces to differant lenghts so the butt joints are offset by at least two floor joist.


        joecaption
         
        Posts: 17988 | Location: Hartfield VA | Registered: Jan 31, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Thanks for the reply.

        See attached image for an example of a breaker board. From the research I've done, seems like a lot of people are moving away from butting deck boards together at joints. Looks nicer to have a breaker board and helps avoid splits and rot common at butt joints.

        What I'm not sure about is if I need to put in a new double joist for the breaker board, or maybe put in blocking and attach the breaker board to the blocking?

         
        Posts: 3 | Registered: Apr 30, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of joecaption
        posted Hide Post
        You would need another joist and blocking between them to do it that way.
        Not going to do a thing to stop the ends from rotting, just for looks.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: joecaption,


        joecaption
         
        Posts: 17988 | Location: Hartfield VA | Registered: Jan 31, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Generally there are allowances made during construction for what you are trying to do. Just remember that each deck board will have to be attached at the ends to a joist and the "breaker board" also has to be attached as well. New construction would just put two joist w/blocks of sufficent width to attach each side of the breaker board(3/4") and allow for 3/4" of the deck to attach to each joist as well. Sort of sharing each joist with the edge of the breaker board and the end of the deck board.

        That will not prevent rot because the water will still enter in the cracks between the deck board end and breaker board. As a suggestion you might use a biscuit joiner on the ends to keep the tops level. But you should treat the biscuits with a protective coating and use waterproof glue.
         
        Posts: 1727 | Location: Applachain | Registered: Feb 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        Yup, it's just a looks thing. As said above, you'll have to add joists or expand the center joist so that it's wide enough to not only hold the width of the breaker board, but also so you can attach the ends of the planks. It does make for a clean looking deck. It also makes the deck look segmented. This could be good or bad depending on what you like.

        But, the decking will last exactly as long as if the planks were butt joined.


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10111 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        I don't know anybody moving away from butt joints, and I don't know anybody doing a 'breaker board'. To me, unless it's part of a bigger design, to me, it looks like someone didn't do proper planning, it looks like a mistake. And agreed with the others as to if it stops rot.
         
        Posts: 871 | Location: No. California | Registered: Mar 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        There are actually a lot of decking folks talking about butt joints placed on single joists being a cause of rot with softwood decks. Here's an example: http://tigerwooddecking.com/blog/?p=21
         
        Posts: 3 | Registered: Apr 30, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        quote:
        Originally posted by liddellr:
        There are actually a lot of decking folks talking about butt joints placed on single joists being a cause of rot with softwood decks. Here's an example: http://tigerwooddecking.com/blog/?p=21


        Your link really doesn't address that at all, other than mention that butt joints are a source of moisture damage. Which is an obvious thing - any time you have exposed end-grain it is going to be more susceptible to rot than other parts of the decking plank. It's what happens when water can be trapped within the small space between the two ends of the butt joined planks. However, the same is true of what will happen if the end of a plank is set up against the side of the deck breaker board. The joint will still hold water and the end grain of the plank will still be likely to rot. Only here, instead of having two ends of planks rotting right next to each other, they are separated by the width of the deck breaker board and are rotting at the same rate about 5-1/2" apart from each other.

        So again, the deck breaker is a design feature only. It does nothing at all to make the deck last longer. There is certainly nothing wrong with designing your deck with one or more breaker planks in it - I will sometimes use them when making an odd-shaped deck - like an octagon pattern. The framing of a deck with a breaker is a little harder, as discussed in the above posts. If you are using a breaker as a divider for an angle joint in the deck, then it can be easier to install decking as the breaker allows your plank alignment to be just a little off yet still look good. If all decking is installed straight-on as in the picture above, then the overall deck construction is a little harder if using a breaker board.


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10111 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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