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Why and how to cut composite decking

Why and how to cut composite decking

Posted by adrac on September 20, 2022

The uses and practicality of composite decking can be versatile. That means adjusting and cutting to what is required. Pointing out the best practices and tools we can use, making sure we get the perfect cut.

You may have heard the quote “measure twice, cut once”, it’s no different with composite decking. Composite decks come in all shapes and sizes so its always advised to lay out a plan on paper to give you the guidelines to follow. Composite decking may need to be cut widthways and the more difficult lengthways.

Decking boards come in varied lengths and widths so it’s good to note what size your deck is going to be and indicate the length of the board. Determine which direction you will be laying the boards and measure the distance. Where you might have to use 2 boards to create a run the composite deck board can be doubled. Reducing the number of cuts required by choosing the correct length closest to your distance measured can help the efficiency of the labour involved, wastage from each length and overall cost.

Marking and Cutting the Deck Plan

Leaning back to the deck plan, mark where you anticipate your cuts to be and where you will need to use a double joist to hold up the 2 boards where they meet. If using a picture frame border decide how best to cut this section. Then, the border can be straight or if preferred the boards cut at the ends at 45 degrees allowing 2 boards to appear together for a continued flow all the way around.

“a bad workman always blames his tools”

It is not the tools we use that make us good, but rather how we employ them”

Making sure each cut is precise it is best to use the right skills and the right tools.

The trusted tape measure, weather you measure in feet or metres always check what size you need to cut. Keep a pencil to hand as its always a good way to double check what size to cut without re-measuring.

For widthway cuts it would be advised to use a mitre saw. Generally easy to use for the novice and valuable in saving you time cutting. Mitre saws can quickly adjust to allow cuts at angles up to 90 degrees accurately. A flat surface is required to sit the mitre saw upon to avoid movement.

Advantages and Limitations of Circular Saws

Circular saws are similar to mitre saws but handheld. This allows the user to move to different areas of the deck more easily and can also allow you to do longer cuts. However, speed can be compromised as the guide and forward force is required by the user.

Be sure to use the correct blade on the saw. The higher the teeth the finer the cut. It is recommended for a fine cut on composite decking to use a 60-90 tooth blade.

For a lengthways cuts you will need a guide. Circular saws are now available with straight guides. An alternative would be a table saw. This provides a flat surface and a straight cut to provide the desired width. When cutting a board lengthways it is advised to place the cut side to the wall side to avoid excess weight on an altered board structure

Note that standard manual wood working tools can be used with composite decking.

Always ensure you follow the instructions for each tool and use protective safety equipment

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