Decks/deck question



Thanks in advance for your help!!

I have decided to tackle a "deck" project myself - time will tell if that is the right decision or not...

The deck of the front screened-in covered porch of my 1937 Florida bungalow has rotted, especially around the edges.  Someone had installed untreated plywood on top of the original decking, hardie board on top of that, and tile on top of that.  No wonder, right?

I considered using composite material, but have settled on ipe wood, which I understand has special installation requirements.  Any advice regarding that will be greatly appreciated, but not the main thrust of my question.

When I tore up the old floor, I found that the existing joists (running parallel to the house) are 24" on center.  The maximum recommended span for ipe is 16".  I've started installing extra joists in between the old ones at 12" (halfway between).  I got to thinking that, since I'm face screwing the boards, putting screws on every board every twelve inches might be a bit of over-kill.  I'm also concerned about the finished look with that many holes (decided not to plug them - got brown-colored headcote screws instead).  

Do you have any recommendations?  I thought that perhaps I could remove the extra joists I've installed and put them at 16" from the ledger board, regardless of where the old ones fall. But I like the idea of having support every 12".  The porch gets alot of use.

If you couldn't tell, this is all very new to me!  Any questions will gratefully be answered.



I have been a carpenter for almost 29 years, and have done 12" centers before also. I have staggered the screws on the joist (right side then left side then right side ...ect) the hole length of the board.

Another option is to order ipe decking with a grove in the side and use hidden fasteners. I would also use a good peel and stick (butyl tape) to protect the joist before you attach the decking again. You can go to my blog at (ledger flashing com) and see some of my posts. I wish you luck, and you can always email me with more questions or products I would recommend.


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Mark Morsching


Deck framing and attachment, deck building


26 years Construction experiance 5 years in business for myself


colledge, and union apprenticeship program.

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