How is T&G Porch Decking Different from Regular Decking?
Board Spacing– Standard decking sizes (for Brazilian Hardwoods) are 1×6, 5/4×6 and 1×4. These boards are installed with a minimum of 1/8″ spacing. This allows water to run between the boards. Since porches have roofs and in some cases, are screened in, only slight blowing rain will ever reach the deck. This opens up the opportunity to use Tongue and Groove boards, that fit tightly together (about 1/16″ gap, to allow for expansion and contraction). You should never use T&G products for open/exposed decks. It does not allow the water to drain properly.
Butt Joints and Waste- Another great benefit of using a T&G product is, the joints do not need to meet on a joist. Standard deck boards must meet on a joist so the ends are fastened down. The interlocking nature of T&G allows for each board to support the adjacent boards. All butt joints will already be supported by it’s tongue and groove neighbors. This means that you’ll have less waste because you’re not cutting boards to make sure the joints fall on joists. A fabulous benefit! It should also go without saying that, they shouldn’t necessarily be full-length boards. If a deck is an extension of a home, then a porch is even more so! This said, your porch T&G should match your interior flooring in that, the butt joints will be varied/randomized.
Why Would You Use Tongue and Groove instead of Standard Decking?
Tongue and groove boards are installed much more tightly than Standard Decking. It is more similar to interior flooring. This makes the space feel more like an extension of the home than an exterior deck. There is nothing wrong with using standard decking on a covered porch, but it can be preferable to differentiate between two areas, a deck and a porch, by using a T&G product in the porch.
What are the Standard Sizes of T&G Porch Decking?
Lengths can vary from 6-16′. The thickness of T&G Porch Deccking is 3/4″. Widths can vary, but in our experience, 3″-4″ works best, from a system performance perspective. Any narrower and the labor gets tedious. Any wider and you might be at risk for boards bunching or buckling. We currently offer BEAUTIFUL 3.5″ Tongue and Groove in both Ipe and Cumaru.
Is T&G More Expensive than Standard Decking?
The short answer is, yes, but not much. The added cost is really just because the boards are milled into that particular profile. The price difference between Standard Decking and Porch T&G is usually marginal, on standard-sized porches.
How is Porch T&G Decking Installed?
The installation of T&G porch decking involves pre-drilling holes into the top of the Tongue and driving a screw into this hole, through the board, into the joist. We also recommend the use of subfloor adhesive between the T&G board and the joist. Many contractors have found success using a standard nail gun, instead of screws, but precautions must be taken to maintain the 1/16″ board spacing. This is very important. There is a very detailed instruction document on our website.
Can Brazilian Hardwood Porch T&G Be Used as Flooring?
Yes, absolutely! Brazilian Wood Depot carries standard Ipe Flooring of 5″ board widths, but those boards only range from 1′-7′. By utilizing Porch T&G, you’ll be using boards that are a minimum of 6′, up to 16′. We call that, “Plank Flooring”. Plank Flooring typically lacks the T&G on the ends of the boards, this would also be true in using Porch T&G as interior flooring. Any experienced floor installer will know what to do with these boards that lack the “end matched” T&G feature.
Are there any other uses for T&G Porch Decking?
YES! T&G Porch Decking is VERY versatile in the ways that it can be used. Many customers use this product to cover their ceilings, interior or exterior. Others use it for interor or exterior (with a roof) walls. Both of these applications are fabulous uses of this product and result in absolutely stunning projects! There are a few specific limitations to consider before using T&G products this way, but most of the time the limitations are easy to overcome.