In our first article in this series, we looked at how the board fastening method can influence the amount of time you need to wait before you install it. We also discussed that whether or not the wood was finished and when the finish was applied can make a difference in your wait time. Now we’ll consider some environmental factors that come into play.
Consider the Season of the Year
Wood can behave very differently depending on the time of the year. If it’s summertime, there will tend to be more moisture in the air, which can cause a greater amount of wood movement. In the wintertime, however, you won’t typically see as much wood movement because of the air’s lower moisture content.
The less moisture there is in the air, the less likely a change in the location of your decking boards will result in wood movement. That means if you’re building your decking project in the winter, you may be able to start as early as one day after you bring the lumber to the job site. Letting the wood sit in a stack that you’ve covered for protection for at least one day is a good idea no matter what time of year.
In the summer months, you’ll want to wait quite a bit longer for the wood to acclimate to the surrounding humidity levels. The exact amount of time you’ll want to wait will vary based on the area’s environmental conditions. No matter what time of year it is, always remember to leave the proper size of gaps between your boards.
Other Environmental Factors
There are a whole host of other variables you’ll want to keep in mind. For instance, what species of wood was used to make your decking boards? Ipe is a very popular, durable tropical hardwood that is known as the king of decking. It’s also a very dense species that can see a significant amount of movement when exposed to changes in the climate. So if you’re using Ipe, allow plenty of time for the decking boards to acclimate.
The design of the deck you’re planning to construct is another consideration. Will the boards get plenty of ventilation or not? Will they be exposed to full sunlight, or will they be in a mostly shaded area? You’ll also want to think about how far the boards have had to travel to get to their destination. No matter what species or environmental conditions you’re dealing with, allowing the boards to stay stacked, covered, and banded together on the job site for no less than a week will help them to get properly acclimated before you start the project.
In Adverse Conditions, Increase the Wait Time
Perhaps you realize that you’re dealing with a less than ideal work site. Perhaps there won’t be any shade to protect the deck from the intensity of the sunlight. Or maybe the boards aren’t going to get the optimal amount of ventilation once they’re installed. If you have any apprehensions whatsoever about the environmental conditions or other factors we’ve mentioned, simply add more wait time. Waiting two weeks rather than one week for acclimation and keeping the boards covered, banded and stacked can help give you greater peace of mind.