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Thread: To drill or not to drill

  1. #1

    To drill or not to drill

    How many of you out there pre drill when laying 2x4 decking. I will most likely be using cedar or p/t. Also on a 2x4, do you guys use one screw or two per joist? I have a little deck refacing project coming up and I am trying to iron out the details.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    We use PT lumber (cause that is about all we can get) here and never predrilled a hole. Have switched from nails to desk screws with torx heads. Those things are great!

    With Cedar, depending on which cedar it might split and you would need to predrill.

    Two screws per joists. If not, and probably will anyway, the decking will cup. Watch the growth rings and when laying them down and lay them so that if they cup it face down.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    I think that would depend a lot on what drill one is using. My 12V B&D cordless won't last more than a few screws without pre-drilling. Using an old tailed drill, no problemo.

  4. #4
    I pre-drill. If you have two cordless drills (I have four), it's easier and faster than not pre-drilling.

    I use one screw per joist, in zig-zag pattern (at one edge this joist, at the other edge the next joist). The ends of the decking boards get two screws.

    If later I find out that one screw is not enough, I can always add another.

    My deck it 11 years old and I haven't seen the need for the other screw yet.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Wake Forest, NC
    I pre drill just to make sure the head doesn't crack the board. As for how many, a minimum of 2 and if it is 6" wide I go to three.

  6. #6
    I would think that pre-drilling or not would be in direct relation to how wet the wood is. Since pressure treated wood is pretty darn soggy, I wouldn't think pre-drilling would be nessasary. Neither would cedar decking if it was sawn right off the log. But of course if the lumber is dry, then pre-drilling just might be required.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

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