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How Far Should Deck Boards Be Apart?

By Contributor ; Updated September 21, 2017

In order to have a deck that is both comfortable to walk on and safe for people to stand on, it is important to build the deck correctly. This includes making sure that the deck boards are the right distance apart from each other. The distance between the deck boards can translate directly into how sturdy the deck is and how long it will last.

Base Boards

When building a deck, the most important surface is going to be the base surface, or the area where you stand, put your grill and set up your table and chairs. The deck frame will already be built when you need to decide how far apart the flat deck boards, on the top, are going to be. In order to have a secure deck, you need to walk a fine line between having deck boards too far apart and having them too close together. The reason that you need to worry about this is that deck boards are made out of wood and will swell in the wet weather. Therefore, it is important to align your boards correctly. For baseboards of a deck, you want to have the space between the boards be no larger than a centimeter, and boards should be at least ten millimeters apart form each other. Keep in mind that if you live in a climate that has a lot of difference between hot and cold weather, you will want to have about a half of a centimeter between your deck boards. If you live in a place where you get more than six or eight inches of rain per year, you will want to have a space of closer to three-quarters of a centimeter.


Some decks have walls for privacy and for other reasons. When making walls for your deck, it is important to have the boards the right distance apart. These boards can be further apart because there is no danger that you will lose things through them. Customarily, boards that make up a wall of a deck are between one centimeter apart and one and a half centimeters apart. The space will depend on your own needs for privacy.

Benches or Steps

It is also important to make benches or steps that are the right distance apart from each other. For steps, you are going to want to make sure that the boards are as close together as the flat deck boards for the base of the deck. Benches can have a larger space between boards.



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