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I'm an idiot. Timber decking laid without gaps. Help!

Discussion in 'Your Projects' started by David_DIY_idiot, 20 Apr 2021.

  1. David_DIY_idiot

    David_DIY_idiot

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    I know this is bad. Really bad. I'm a grade-A idiot. Hopefully the worst DIY mistake I ever make.

    I just got done laying 6m x 4.8m of decking onto joists without leaving gaps between. I put three nails in each board - one either side and one in the middle. The nails are ring shank, I think.

    I know they've all got to come up, but what's the best way to go about lifting them without needing all new boards (assuming there is a way)? Break 1 board then use a palette buster to lift the rest? Drill the head off the nails maybe? Is there a clever nail pulling device?

    If I need all new boards, then so be it. Is the price I pay for being an idiot, but would be good to get a solution that saves some boards and won't take forever if possible.

    I don't have access from the underside, only about 4" clearance once 1 board is lifted.
     
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  3. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    A jemi or two will do it, once the first board is removed which may get damaged you'll be able to get the jemi underneath the boards and avoid damaging them. Once you get going you'll need to lay a sacrificial length of decking or similar down to lever against.

    Why did you use nails?
     
    Last edited: 20 Apr 2021
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  4. SpecialK

    SpecialK

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    Any way to cut a gap with a circular saw? You are going to struggle with ring nails, they will probably pull through the decking wood...
     
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  5. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Only way will be to try ...... and the sooner the better.
     
  6. David_DIY_idiot

    David_DIY_idiot

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    Thanks for the tip. I'll give it a try - good tip on using a board to lever against. I was going to lever against the joist but I'm guessing that's maybe a very bad idea?

    Any chance a car jack under the board while standing on the joist would work? :LOL:

    I would have used screws personally for this reason, but I was getting help from a family friend and I think they wanted it to be a fairly quick job. Once the boards are up, I'll use screws next time.
     
  7. David_DIY_idiot

    David_DIY_idiot

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    Thanks for the circular saw tip. I'm far too scared and shaky-handed to give that a try, I'm afraid :LOL: I'd rather cut the ring nails with a multi-tool once the board has ripped off I think.

    I'd consider getting a joiner to do this for me though. I'll look into that if I'm having no joy lifting the boards.
     
  8. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    One option to reduce the number of boards lifted could be to lift every second board and then plane these down such that when re-fitted there is a gap between them and the adjacent boards that were not lifted.

    It does mean alternate boards will be different widths but that could add character to the overall appearance
     
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  9. David_DIY_idiot

    David_DIY_idiot

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    This is a nice idea too - thanks, I'll consider that.
     
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  11. David_DIY_idiot

    David_DIY_idiot

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    So I tried lifting one board with a wrecking bar. Came up super easy!....leaving the nail behind.

    The nails were hammered in by hand, and there's still a good head poking out on most of them. I think I'll have a go at pulling one or two to see if they'll budge. Just need to buy a tool for that first :LOL: Can you pull ring-shanked nails or is that madness?
     
  12. SpecialK

    SpecialK

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    You can, use a crowbar?
    Or cut them off with a grinder, or hammer them down

     
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  13. Notch7

    Notch7

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    Im sorry to hear of your troubles!

    you must be gutted -I bet you stood back once you had done the last board, feeling really good.....
     
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  14. David_DIY_idiot

    David_DIY_idiot

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    Haha, yeah absolutely gutted. I'm more on the creative side than the handy side. When I do a new project myself I research every part to make sure it's bang on, but in this case I thought I was getting semi-expert help - seems I was wrong! Also, turns out the boards are up the wrong way too :LOL: disaster. Great lessons learned though.
     
  15. David_DIY_idiot

    David_DIY_idiot

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    Thanks for tips. They're sticking out a few mil, but in between the grooves of the decking boards*, so a thin puller might be best as I can't get crowbar/wrecking bar/hammer etc in there.

    * Yes, the decking boards were also put on the wrong way up :LOL:
     
  16. sxturbo

    sxturbo

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    The deck boards can go whichever way round you like.

    Also how wet were the boards? If really wet they might shrink to an ok gap size.

    I've just laid mine a 2 weeks ago and the boards were soaking, I don't think they could have held much more water, I laid them with 4mm gaps (used quick clips) and they have now started to dry and shrink the gaps are now about 6mm so still ok-ish I'm sure they'll shrink more though and look crap. I hate large gaps.

    Why did you nail the decking? Would likely have been better to use deck screws, and also only need 2 deck screws per joist. Screws also don't come loose like nails.
     
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  17. David_DIY_idiot

    David_DIY_idiot

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    They were not soaking, but far from dry. Slightly wet to the touch I'd say. It seems like they're a bit swollen up as they're about 148/149mm wide on average instead of 144mm as advertised.

    Would be quite handy if the nails did come loose now to be fair :LOL:

    I'm getting help to do the job so the nails weren't my idea. I think the person giving me a hand wants in and out pretty quick (totally understandable). I'm OCD with these kind of things so if I'd done it myself I'd probably have sweated over every detail like screws, gaps, drainage etc, but it would have taken me a fortnight and 30 hours on YouTube. Seems like it might still take me a fortnight and 30 hours on YouTube.
     
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