Disputes over Residential Deck Installations

This case study explores a dispute between a deck installer and manufacturer, focusing on a newly installed residential deck that developed significant gaps between its boards.

ByExpert Institute


Published on February 6, 2024

Deck inspection

Case Overview

This case study delves into an intriguing dispute between a deck installer and a manufacturer in the residential construction industry. The crux of the issue lies in a newly installed deck at a private residence, which soon exhibited significant gaps between its boards.

Upon noticing this defect, the homeowner alerted the manufacturer. However, instead of taking responsibility for the issue, the manufacturer shifted the blame onto the installer. Despite several attempts by the installer to rectify the problem, the same issue persisted.

This led to allegations that despite correct installation procedures being followed – including appropriate board spacing for expansion and contraction – the defect was inherent in the manufacturing process itself.

To shed light on this matter, an expert witness with extensive experience in residential construction was sought to inspect the deck. He was asked to opine on whether it adhered to industry standards for board gapping and if it was properly installed.

Questions to the expert and their responses


Please describe your professional background in residential construction, specifically installing decks.

I bring over 35 years of contractor experience in both the residential and commercial sectors. Additionally, I have spent three years conducting inspections of residential and commercial properties.


Briefly, what standards exist for board spacing to allow expansion and contraction?

According to standard installation instructions provided by manufacturers, deck boards without hidden fastener systems should be gapped at 3/16. When using hidden fasteners, board gapping becomes dependent on the fastener itself, with adjustments made according to specific tables provided in these instructions.

About the expert

This expert brings over three decades of experience in property inspection, spanning residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. They hold a BA in Architectural Engineering and are certified as both a Property Inspector and Commercial Property Inspector. Currently, they serve as the CEO of a general contracting firm and a construction consultancy, leveraging their past experience as the owner of a construction company.

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