The Importance of Deck Spacing

Decking spacing is an often neglected component of deck installation for homeowners and DIY enthusiasts, yet its importance cannot be understated. Achieving proper deck board spacing ensures structural integrity, improves aesthetics and increases lifespan – these factors combined can ensure long-term success for any deck installation project.

This article will examine the significance of decking spacing and guide you with useful advice for achieving an attractive outdoor space. Whether you’re an experienced DIYer or new to building decks, understanding the use of spacing between decking boards is paramount to creating functional yet aesthetically pleasing decks.

Why Is Deck Spacing Between Boards Important? 

Achieving the appropriate spacing amongst deck boards not only enhances the visual appeal of your deck but also plays a key role in extending its lifespan and ensuring its safety. Maintaining the right distance between each board is imperative for optimal performance and durability.

Decking spacing is a crucial aspect of any outdoor renovation endeavour. Consider the following reasons why it should be prioritised:

Preventing Warping And Cupping Of Boards

Decking boards installed too closely together may warp and cup as they expand and contract due to changes in moisture and temperature. With appropriate gaps between boards or the use of spacers warping and cupping are less likely.

Allow for Proper Drainage and Ventilation

Decking gaps allow water to easily drain off the deck surface and prevent moisture from pooling between boards, thus decreasing the risk of rot and decay, which could compromise its integrity and structure.

Reduce The Risk Of Rot And Decay Today

Deck boards that are too close together can trap wet and moisture, leading to rot and decay over time. An adequate gap between boards allows airflow and moisture evaporation for circulation and reduces risks for decay or rot issues.

Safety for People and Pets is Our Top Priority

Gaps between deck boards are essential in maintaining the safety of those using it, both people and animals alike. Too close together boards could pose a trip hazard; adequate spacing ensures there are no spaces that trap feet or paws and reduce injury risks.

Factors to Consider When Determining Decking Board Distance

Determining the optimal spacing between deck boards involves taking into account several factors, such as the material utilised, climatic conditions, the width and thickness of boards, as well as environmental elements, such as shade and moisture levels. In this section, we will delve deeper into these factors to assist in discovering what the perfect deck board spacing is.

Types Of Decking Materials

Deck spacing depends heavily upon the type of material chosen for its decks – for instance, wood and composite have different rates of expansion and contraction that must be considered when planning appropriate deck board spacing between boards.

Wood decking boards may expand and contract depending on temperature and moisture content changes, while composite ones may not be affected as greatly by such variables. Therefore, when selecting which material you need for your decking space requirements, you must consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for its recommended spacing requirements.

Staying within these guidelines will help protect your deck boards from warping or damaging and extend their lifespan. Furthermore, different materials require different spacing requirements to provide adequate ventilation and drainage, which is essential in preventing rot and decay.

Climate and Weather Conditions

Decks exposed to extreme temperatures, high humidity, or frequent rain require greater spacing between boards for proper air circulation and drainage. This is particularly relevant in regions experiencing substantial temperature fluctuation as boards may expand and contract depending on temperature and moisture level changes.

Decks in areas with heavy precipitation must have adequate drainage systems in place to prevent water build-up that could lead to rot and decay. At the same time, those in dry climates or regions with little rainfall may require less spacing due to minimal expansion and contraction. Acknowledging local climate and weather patterns is crucial when selecting an ideal decking board spacing gap.

Board Width And Thickness

Thick, wider boards tend to expand and contract more than thinner, narrower ones, requiring additional clearance between boards for proper movement without warping or buckling.

For example, 32mm thick boards may need a spacing range between 3mm to 6mm, while 50mm thick boards need a 9mm to 13mm spacer for proper assembly. Referring to manufacturer recommendations is crucial to achieving proper spacings on various sizes and types of boards.

Environmental Factors Such As Shade and Moisture

Environmental elements, including shade and moisture levels, can enormously affect the spacing of your deck boards. If your deck is in a shady area, moisture may take longer to evaporate from its source, leading to longer drying times for your boards.

This can cause the boards to expand; if they are too close together, they may buckle and warp. Conversely, boards may dry out too rapidly in areas receiving direct sunlight, resulting in cracks and gaps between boards that eventually become visible to guests.

In areas with high humidity and moisture exposure, leaving enough space between boards for proper ventilation and drainage to prevent rot and decay is paramount.

Standard Deck Board Spacing

After delving into the significance of decking spacing and examining the key factors that should be taken into consideration when settling on a particular distance, the following section presents some basic principles on how to go about spacing your deck. While these measures may fluctuate depending on the previously mentioned considerations, they can still be employed as an excellent foundation for beginning construction on your ideal deck!

Recommended Decking Board Gap Size

Australia’s recommended decking board spacing size depends on its width; for boards up to 90mm wide, the minimum standard gapping should be 5mm between boards.

To allow for expansion and contraction, the minimum gap between wider decking boards should be 8mm to ensure sufficient room. However, it should be noted that different decking materials may have their requirements when it comes to spacing requirements.

Composite decking requires smaller gaps between boards due to its lower expansion rate; wood deck spacing may differ based on design considerations and factors like usage, location, and exposure.

Before choosing the ideal spacing for your decking boards, it’s essential to consider all relevant factors carefully.

Decking spacing is integral to creating any deck and must be considered before installation. Proper spacing will help avoid warping, allow adequate drainage, and extend longevity.

Deck board spacing recommendations depend on several factors, including board width, deck material type and environmental elements such as shade or moisture levels. Therefore, it’s crucial that when selecting an ideal deck board spacing plan, you consider all these aspects when making decisions regarding spacing for deck boards.

Composite decking is an attractive and low-maintenance eco-friendly choice of decking material in Australia, providing easy maintenance, weather resistance, and long-term durability.

You can create an elegant and long-lasting deck by choosing the appropriate decking material and spacing for your decking installation.


In conclusion, proper deck board spacing is a crucial aspect of any deck installation project, yet homeowners and DIY enthusiasts often overlook the gap between decking boards.The correct spacing between boards ensures structural integrity, improves aesthetics, and increases the deck’s lifespan.

Deck spacing is a key component of creating a functional yet visually pleasing outdoor space by preventing warping, allowing proper drainage and ventilation, reducing the risk of rot and decay, and ensuring safety for people and pets.

Factors such as the type of decking material, climate and weather conditions, board width and thickness, and environmental factors such as shade and moisture levels should be considered when determining the optimal deck board spacing.

By considering these factors and following manufacturer recommendations, homeowners can ensure long-term success for their deck installation project.