How to Stagger Deck Boards

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Things You'll Need

  • Deck frame

  • Boards

  • Nails

  • Hammer


The space between adjacent boards is essential in ensuring your deck drains properly. Maintain a gap between the boards at all times, and ensure that the gap is consistent in width for best aesthetic results.

Building your own deck is a satisfying achievement. For years down the line, you will be able to enjoy your deck just a little bit extra, knowing that you personally built it. One way to make your deck more aesthetically pleasing is to stagger your boards. With a staggered deck, each successive row is offset from the rows adjacent to it by one half of a board so that there are no long, uninterrupted vertical seems.


Step 1

Lay your first board, starting in the corner of the deck, perpendicular to the support beams of your frame, along one edge of the deck.

Step 2

Nail the board down by driving a pair of nails through the board and into the support beam beneath it over each beam it crosses.

Step 3

Cut a board in half lengthwise.

Step 4

Position the half board parallel to the first board, with an eighth of an inch of space between the two and with the ends of the two boards even; then, nail in place.


Step 5

Lay a full board in the same row as the half board. In addition to an eighth of an inch of space from the first board, there should also be an eighth of an inch between the short end of this board and the short end of the second board.

Step 6

Lay a second full board in the first row, with the same spacing.

Step 7

Continue laying boards in each row until you have completed the entire length of the two rows.

Step 8

Repeat Steps 1 through 7 to continue laying two rows of boards until the deck is filled. If you ultimately need an odd number of rows, just follow the pattern for the first row without laying any second row boards in the final pass.


Robert Preston

Robert Preston is a professional writer who majored in journalism at The College of New Jersey. In addition to work for various websites, Preston has done public relations with Major League Lacrosse's New Jersey Pride organization, where he served as the team's beat reporter.