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I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood any?

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:06 pm
by iamblessed
The deck is only about a foot off the ground so it would be safe that way.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:11 pm
by 123
Wouldn't it be better to keep them out in the first place? Perhaps some unobtrusive wire screening. I guess it depends on the size of the varmints. Unnailed deck board would seem like it's a hazard to me (less you just incorporate an unobtrusive section that can removed).

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:13 pm
by cheese_breath
123 wrote: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:11 pm... Unnailed deck board would seem like it's a hazard to me ...
+1
Big safety hazard!!!

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:14 pm
by tibbitts
iamblessed wrote: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:06 pm The deck is only about a foot off the ground so it would be safe that way.
Just one board? Or do you mean the entire deck? With the entire deck, which is what I suspect you want, I would just make it easily removable using nuts and bolts for fasteners, so you can remove (or flip up, or whatever) a large enough portion of the deck to reach all the parts you need to underneath. I can see where excavating to create a space underneath might be problematic with water issues, so probably it's best to attack the problem from above.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:15 pm
by mortfree
Trap door / pull up section of boards. (Hinged and a latch of some sort)??

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:16 pm
by WoodSpinner
I just use 3” deck screws. Ways to undue when access is needed.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:16 pm
by sailaway
iamblessed wrote: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:06 pm The deck is only about a foot off the ground so it would be safe that way.
It isn't safe if that board lifts or twists when some steps on it. It isn't safe if a wind storm tosses that board through a window.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:20 pm
by stan1
If the varmints can get in they can get out. I don't see how "removing" them would help? What are you proposing to do, set out traps under the deck? Trap door on a hinge seems best if that's the case. A loose board seems like a safety issue especially if there are small children. Trap door also seems like it would become a plaything for kids too.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:23 pm
by Cheez-It Guy
This is why they make screws. I'm more interested in how you plan to corral and remove said varmints under a porch with 1-foot ground clearance with only one board removed.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:25 pm
by cheese_breath
Removing them seems like an endless task. Get rid of one family and another one moves in.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:30 pm
by tibbitts
Cheez-It Guy wrote: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:23 pm This is why they make screws. I'm more interested in how you plan to corral and remove said varmints under a porch with 1-foot ground clearance with only one board removed.
I don't think anybody uses nails for decks any longer, everybody uses screws... but deck screws aren't really meant for multiple cycles.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:43 pm
by iamblessed
Would it hurt the wood any?

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:45 pm
by bob60014
iamblessed wrote: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:43 pm Would it hurt the wood any?
Possible warping and cupping.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:46 pm
by 123
iamblessed wrote: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:43 pm Would it hurt the wood any?
I would think that unnailed boards on a deck are more likely to warp (or split) over time.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 1:07 pm
by cheese_breath
Why are you so worried about the wood when you could be facing a big lawsuit if somebody is injured if a board comes loose underneath them?

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 1:10 pm
by iamblessed
I guess it is just a bad idea.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 1:22 pm
by michaelingp
I am also curious of how you are going to get the varmints out, but I have a somewhat similar situation where a few of the deck boards have to be removed on occasion to maintain the siding. What I did was screw them down with a minimum number of screws (basically one at each end, and in one case, one in the middle). If you have an electric driver/drill it only takes seconds to remove the screws. I have deck screws that are 5 years old and the heads are in great shape, but you might want to invest in stainless steel screws which will pretty much last as long as you do. None of the boards have cupped or warped yet, but it's only been a year or so. To avoid cupping, look at the end grain of the board before deciding what side is up. The board will cup (if it's going to) the same direction as the growth rings.

While we're on the subject, I highly recommend butyl joist flashing tape for the tops of the joists.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 1:31 pm
by BIGal
+1 for addressing the varmint issue. If you can't handle it, hire a professional. If that doesn't work, remove the deck and have a concrete pad poured, and put steps into the house.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 1:31 pm
by stan1
Are said varmints coyotes, racoons, feral cats, neighbors cat, rats, mice, or what? For the larger species a well aimed high pressure water hose might get the animal moving but not sure I want an angry racoon running around my yard either if there are pets and kids. Agree best approach is to seal off the opening so the animals can't get in to begin with (especially for the larger species). Rocks at the base can help stop digging. If its rats and mice you can slide a trap under the deck and they hopefully will come find it. If there's a nest under the deck you'll have to take more aggressive action. Racoons are difficult and can cause a lot of damage. Some counties will loan you a trap to try to catch the racoon.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 1:37 pm
by Watty
iamblessed wrote: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:43 pm Would it hurt the wood any?
The blood on the wood might stain it when someone gets hurt on it.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:48 pm
by ColoradoRick
OP - 40 yrs in Wholesale Lumber and Building Mat'ls here. You stated it's only 1 foot off the ground. Here is what I did. It's labor intensive but once done no more critters. Had rabbits and raccoons under old deck. When I rebuilt I bought 15/32" treated plywood, either dug out or used a spade and wiggled to go down 10" vertical and all the way up to the deck. If you go less than 10" rabbits will dig under.

Of course all the way around. You can get pressure treated plywood at Lowes or home depot. It's been 8 years and no critters under the deck. When you figure all the landscaping they tore up and all the time spent "neutralizing" them, it has really been a time saver. For those who think me cruel we tried chemicals to keep them away and when they stripped 80 sq. ft. of grass down to bare dirt it was more than we could bear.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:26 am
by FoolStreet
ColoradoRick wrote: Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:48 pm OP - 40 yrs in Wholesale Lumber and Building Mat'ls here. You stated it's only 1 foot off the ground. Here is what I did. It's labor intensive but once done no more critters. Had rabbits and raccoons under old deck. When I rebuilt I bought 15/32" treated plywood, either dug out or used a spade and wiggled to go down 10" vertical and all the way up to the deck. If you go less than 10" rabbits will dig under.

Of course all the way around. You can get pressure treated plywood at Lowes or home depot. It's been 8 years and no critters under the deck. When you figure all the landscaping they tore up and all the time spent "neutralizing" them, it has really been a time saver. For those who think me cruel we tried chemicals to keep them away and when they stripped 80 sq. ft. of grass down to bare dirt it was more than we could bear.
Why wood 10” down and not fine chicken wire?

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:08 am
by Yooper
FoolStreet wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:26 am
ColoradoRick wrote: Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:48 pm OP - 40 yrs in Wholesale Lumber and Building Mat'ls here. You stated it's only 1 foot off the ground. Here is what I did. It's labor intensive but once done no more critters. Had rabbits and raccoons under old deck. When I rebuilt I bought 15/32" treated plywood, either dug out or used a spade and wiggled to go down 10" vertical and all the way up to the deck. If you go less than 10" rabbits will dig under.

Of course all the way around. You can get pressure treated plywood at Lowes or home depot. It's been 8 years and no critters under the deck. When you figure all the landscaping they tore up and all the time spent "neutralizing" them, it has really been a time saver. For those who think me cruel we tried chemicals to keep them away and when they stripped 80 sq. ft. of grass down to bare dirt it was more than we could bear.
Why wood 10” down and not fine chicken wire?
Because he was in the wholesale "lumber" business and not wholesale "chicken wire" business. Sorry, couldn't resist (grin).

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:07 am
by Pinotage
Yooper wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:08 am
FoolStreet wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:26 am
ColoradoRick wrote: Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:48 pm OP - 40 yrs in Wholesale Lumber and Building Mat'ls here. You stated it's only 1 foot off the ground. Here is what I did. It's labor intensive but once done no more critters. Had rabbits and raccoons under old deck. When I rebuilt I bought 15/32" treated plywood, either dug out or used a spade and wiggled to go down 10" vertical and all the way up to the deck. If you go less than 10" rabbits will dig under.

Of course all the way around. You can get pressure treated plywood at Lowes or home depot. It's been 8 years and no critters under the deck. When you figure all the landscaping they tore up and all the time spent "neutralizing" them, it has really been a time saver. For those who think me cruel we tried chemicals to keep them away and when they stripped 80 sq. ft. of grass down to bare dirt it was more than we could bear.
Why wood 10” down and not fine chicken wire?
Because he was in the wholesale "lumber" business and not wholesale "chicken wire" business. Sorry, couldn't resist (grin).
:D

OP just has the best thread titles. Sort of a folksy Buzzfeed vibe.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:14 am
by whomever
I'll be the contrarian here. We had a deck (20 ft in the air!) that had an unattached board. This was a treated 2x6, at a guess 12 ft long. It was surrounded by the other, screwed in, boards. We didn't have any problems in 20+ years. There wasn't enough wiggle room for it to move anywhere it would be unsupported. It didn't cup any more than the others. Ours didn't warp, but I agree it could. We had winds up to 70mph or so, exposed on a ridge, but that wasn't enough to lift it out of the 'pocket' the other boards formed.

The only way I can see it being a problem (other than warping, which would mean getting another board and trying again) would be if it had room to move axially enough that either end became unsupported, and you stepped on that unsupported end. But in a normally constructed deck, there won't be enough room for that to occur.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 11:03 am
by ColoradoRick
Yooper wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:08 am
FoolStreet wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:26 am
ColoradoRick wrote: Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:48 pm OP - 40 yrs in Wholesale Lumber and Building Mat'ls here. You stated it's only 1 foot off the ground. Here is what I did. It's labor intensive but once done no more critters. Had rabbits and raccoons under old deck. When I rebuilt I bought 15/32" treated plywood, either dug out or used a spade and wiggled to go down 10" vertical and all the way up to the deck. If you go less than 10" rabbits will dig under.

Of course all the way around. You can get pressure treated plywood at Lowes or home depot. It's been 8 years and no critters under the deck. When you figure all the landscaping they tore up and all the time spent "neutralizing" them, it has really been a time saver. For those who think me cruel we tried chemicals to keep them away and when they stripped 80 sq. ft. of grass down to bare dirt it was more than we could bear.
Why wood 10” down and not fine chicken wire?
Because he was in the wholesale "lumber" business and not wholesale "chicken wire" business. Sorry, couldn't resist (grin).
Sure, chicken wire would work. Had the plywood from previous job, and I like the looks better. Subjective to be sure.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 11:06 am
by Ramjet
Make the deck so that there is a sqaure of boards that can be unlocked and pulled up

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:50 pm
by criticalmass
iamblessed wrote: Thu Nov 26, 2020 12:06 pm The deck is only about a foot off the ground so it would be safe that way.
An unsecured board even an inch off the ground presents a huge safety issue when it shifts unexpectedly or when stepping on an end (perhaps after shifting) and it flips, like stepping on a metal rake end.

Re: I would like to leave my deck board unnailed so I can get varmints out from under my deck. Would it hurt the wood a

Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:00 pm
by BogleFan510
Ask your insurance provider if they would cover a claim, should a friend or workman trip and injure themselves, and reconsider after their explaination. Not nailing boards seems not only a risk, but ooen to a negligence claim.

Note: I am not a licenced legal advisor, nor is this intended as legal advice.