Composite decking can crack if screws are placed too close to the end of the board. Planning ahead for the butt-joint location and installing a double joist there is a great, inexpensive way to avoid that problem. It gives me a full 1 1/2 inches to support each of those end butts, and prevents crowding the screws. Alleviating the potential for a crack in the end of a $60 composite deck board far outweighs the $20 for the extra joist and hangers.
If the double joists aren’t flush on top, I shim the low side with decking cutoffs — the same color as the decking so they don’t stand out. I also use pieces of composite decking as jigs to consistently and correctly space the butt joints.
Ben Roberson owns All About Awesome Construction in Evergreen, Colo.
This Tip wins a DeWalt DCF885L2 20-volt impact driver kit.