How far apart should screws be on deck boards?

Written by mike schoonveld
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How far apart should screws be on deck boards?
Screw spacing in deck boards is important for structural and aesthetic reasons. (Early Morning Frost on Cedar Deck image by steverts from Fotolia.com)

Though there are building codes dictating many aspects of deck construction to insure the finished deck is safe and solid, there is no specific distance required for the spacing of screws attaching deck boards to the joists. Because it's not addressed in the codes, screw spacing is inconsequential.

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Appearance Counts

Though there's no legal standard for screw spacing, an even spacing looks best. Don't put the screws three inches apart on one board and four inches apart on the next. Pick a spacing and stick with it.

Bottom Line

Professional builders using standard 5 1/2-inch-wide deck boards attach them at each joist with screws set one to two inches from each edge of the board. The exact measurement doesn't matter as much as uniformity of spacing for appearance's sake.

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