Nail depth for PT deck boards

(Hank R. Spinnler) #1

I believe the mighty world wide web is devoid of specific information about suggested nail depth range for deck boards. Braced wall sheathing? I got that.

I inspect pressure-treated decks where nails are frequently overdriven to 1/8" or more below the surface of the deck boards. So, why does the Code, the Deck Manual and the DIY websites not cover an overlooked basic like proper nail depth?

Are there any deck experts out there tonight? Is there anything printed on a 1/16" or less counter-sunk nail or fastener?

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(Kenton Shepard, CMI) #2

Unless the nail is overdriven to a point at which it threatens to pull through- a very unlikely condition- it's not an issue except for aesthetics. Those nails are eventually going to back out anyway (another Porcupine-to-Be), so maybe it will take a little longer til they need to be re-driven or replaced with screws (which they should have used in the first place IMHO).

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(Rick Elliott) #3

Might also consider that an overdriven nail will tend to collect and hold water which can lead to premature failure. I've replaced many redwood decks where the nails or screws were so overdriven that the fasteners actually rust out and rot the surrounding wood. Flush or slightly set is the goal under most professional guidelines.

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(Hank R. Spinnler) #4

Thank you Kenton & Rick. That's what I see down the road - pockets where moisture collects, rust and loose or squeaky boards. I write it up on new homes and I am sure the builder will do nothing.

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(Thomas Witt, CMI MD. Lic. # 30933) #5

[quote="hspinnler, post:4, topic:93960"]

Thank you Kenton & Rick. That's what I see down the road - pockets where moisture collects, rust and loose or squeaky boards. I write it up on new homes and I am sure the builder will do nothing.
[/QUOTE]

I wouldn't worry about water collecting in nail holes, a typical deck board has many ways to suck up moisture.

I always preferred screws for decks, for obvious reasons.

Can't see how code could address something like nail recess depth.
If you nail through a knot the nail head might not penetrate at all.
If you nail through a soft area who knows how far it would penetrate.
Many variables.

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(Barry Adair, TREC#4563 EIFSTX#39) #6

[quote="twitt, post:5, topic:93960"]

I wouldn't worry about water collecting in nail holes, a typical deck board has many ways to suck up moisture.

I always preferred screws for decks, for obvious reasons.

Can't see how code could address something like nail recess depth.
If you nail through a knot the nail head might not penetrate at all.
If you nail through a soft area who knows how far it would penetrate.
Many variables.
[/QUOTE]

it's this kind of attitude that gives the industry a bad name

when wood fibers are damaged from over nailing and pockets for water pooling are formed it's a no brainer the wood and fasteners will not perform their intended function and service life will be reduced

many, better inspectors, write up over driven fasteners for all sorts of materials shingles, siding & trims etc
it's the client's decision if they want to buy substandard workmanship, once brought to their attention
just like it's their decision to hire known soft report inspectors

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(Kenton Shepard, CMI) #7

What would a builder do? Pull all the nails leaving nasty marks? Re-fasten the deck? Re-plank the entire deck? This condition is extremely common not worth mentioning.

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(Roy Lewis, CMI - North Florida Inspector) #8

Put in deck screws…Yep!

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