Manufacturer Corrects an Author

Fiberon’s Tammy Sanders, coordinator of the consumer and technical support department, called to wag her finger at me for a couple of things in my “Picture-Framing a Deck” article (January/February 2011;

I shouldn’t have used clips at the ends of the boards as shown in Figure 20 (photo, below) — they restrain the board’s movement and can cause buckling. I did this installation in the middle of summer in the hot sun, meaning the boards will only contract and not expand, so this deck will be fine. But there is a better way. Fiberon makes a “start/stop” J-clip. Using this clip to start the picture frame where it runs perpendicular to the butt ends of the field boards would eliminate any possible expansion binding issues.

Tammy also cautioned that pocket screws as shown in Figure 15 (photo, left) are not specifically condoned by Fiberon. She went on to say installers should be aware that any pocket screw must penetrate at least 1„2 inch into the board, but not so far as to cause a bump in its surface. The screws provided with Fiberon’s J-clips are just long enough to comply with this. Also, there is a concern that a pocket screw placed too far off perpendicular to the board could break out a chunk of the edge. She noted that this installation seemed okay because it was at a very steep angle.

Touch© Tammy.

Joe Cracco

Cumberland, R.I.

Photo Speaks for Itself

John Butman, Koopman Lumber Grafton, Mass.

Laying Out Big Arcs

I had to lay out a 3-foot-deep segment of an arc that would reach the full 60-foot width of a deck. The spring-stick method was out (not too many uniform 60-foot wood strips to be had) and swinging the arc on site was impossible because the house got in the way (I calculated the radius at just over 151 feet — long-hand at the time, but I’ve since found a cool calculator:

My brother Bruce and I drove to the parking lot of a nearby school (school was out). We snapped a straight line 60-plus feet long and rolled out a strip of red rosin paper to it. Then we laser-sighted a perpendicular line from the center of the rosin paper and measured along the laser line to find the center point of the arc. A spike driven into the asphalt pavement anchored a 300-foot tape measure. Bruce kept the tape from dragging along the pavement as I swung the arc and marked the paper with a felt-tip pen.

Back at the site, we set the joists, letting the ends run long. We snapped a chalkline parallel to the house, stapled the rosin paper along it, and scratched through the paper at each joist to mark the cut points. Since then we’ve used the same parking lot and rosin-paper trick to mark out other arcs and ellipses that are too long to lay out across the joists.

Mike Guertin

East Greenwich, R.I.