Decking Span Has A Huge Effect On A Deck

Avoid a bouncy, soft deck. The decking span you choose will affect the feel and potentially the safety of your deck.

Read on and learn a little bit about what affects your decking's strength - like material and joist spacing.

Your selection of decking material will determine the maximum spacing of your joists. Some wood species are stronger than others, so refer to the Decking Span Table below before going to the Deck Joist Span Table.

Don’t be afraid to go to use a shorter span if you are unsure. It’s better to build a deck that is strong than bouncy and unstable.

How to interpret the chart

Don’t use a board any smaller than what is recommended for that spacing for that species. So, for 24 o.c. if you use cedar, it can’t be smaller than a 2x6, Hemlock, can’t be smaller than 5/4x6.

Decking Span Table
Recommended Maximum Decking Span
Wood Species 12"o.c. 16"o.c. 24"o.c.
Cedar 5/4x6   2x6
Clear Cedar 5/4x4 5/4x6 2x6
Redwood 5/4x6   2x6
Clear Redwood 5/4x4 5/4x6 2x6
Hemlock 10'4" 5/4x4 5/4x6
Pine 17'4" 5/4x4 5/4x6

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