It's depressing to post something that didn't work out, but it happens and hopefully someone out there might have some insight.
As you might have seen on the blog, we built a pool and a deck. The pool is working well — a few issues, but overall a successful install. The deck frame is working well — again, a few issues, but overall it's solid and working.
The deck wood, however, is not working well... not by a long shot.
Initially, getting good wood was an issue — the 5/4 X 6 cumaru I ordered is available through just a few suppliers and is mail-order only in the lengths I need (12+ feet). I had to return two orders. Bummer.
But even after 2/3 of the deck has been installed, the swelling of the wood has been a massive issue — to the point where it needs to be pulled up and the area re-addressed. Bummer.
I'm wishing I'd have gone with ipe — or even a synthetic decking material. And now I'm thinking pavers/stone.
A few specifics and photos:
- The wood was sold as kiln-dried through Advantage Lumber at 5/4 X 6.
- The wood is not pre-grooved and we cut slots specifically where needed. We thought this might be more stable than having a long groove along one side. Each slot is caulked with clear acrylic sealant after install to prevent overt water/dirt infiltration in the slots, btu provide necessary flex.
- The boards have construction adhesive between themselves and the framing (which will make removal fun!)
- The framing members are covered with Vycor deck protector.
- The deck surface is built in three areas each separated by a longitudinal border (that also helps to frame out the pool). This means there are perpendicular pieces that need to stay aligned through the seasons.
- The deck was installed with Ipe clips (Ipe Clip IC100EX-TBL) with 3/32 spacing… this was recommended by Advantage Lumber (not the 1/4 spacers).
- The boards “seasoned” for an entire year outside and pressure-washed prior to install (the project was delayed from September to June), so it wasn’t super-dry
- The boards were coated 4 sides with Messmer’s UV prior to install (twice, actually — September and June).
- I’m almost fed up with wood and might go to a pressure-treated-plywood subdeck with concrete pavers (would Wonderboard make a better sub-deck?)
- The patina looks terrible 6mos after install — moldy and dirty. Will I have to massively pressure wash (sand?) and re-coat each season?
- Is cumaru more unstable than ipe? I’m sort of regretting the choice of cumaru for a few reasons: unavailability of 5/4 material, instability, squirreliness…
- Clearly the boards needed more space to expand, however, how much? In my design, the edges themselves cannot allow for expansion due to needed alignment and eventual skirt-wrap with Cor-ten steel.