How to Make a Herringbone Deck Design

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A herringbone pattern, sometimes called a Chevron pattern, is an intricate design that has a time-honored history. It is considered a traditional pattern in European flooring. Herringbone is a pattern of columns of parallel lines, with the lines in one column sloping one way and the lines in adjacent columns sloping the other way. The herringbone pattern is seen in woven goods, masonry, parquetry, embroidery, indoor flooring and outdoor decking. Herringbone decking is laid by hand piece by piece, with additional support for the angled boards. The diagonal herringbone design makes the deck visually expansive.

  • Space the support boards properly. Because surface boards placed on an angle in a herringbone pattern have a longer span than boards placed straight across, they need additional support. The row spacing for 2-by-6-inch surface boards at a 45-degree angle is 22 inches on center, maximum. For composite decking, a maximum of 12 inches is adequate.

  • Add additional blocking to support the boards. Place two 2-by-6-inch treated blocking boards between the 2-by-6-inch support boards at the locations where you want the herringbone pattern to occur. Leave a ½-inch space between the blocking boards.

  • Make a plywood triangle and place it in a corner of the deck to set the angle for the boards. Lay the surface boards in a diagonal herringbone pattern at a 45-degree angle. Measure carefully and make sure that all cuts to the interior of the deck are square and aligned equally along the blocking boards. Allow the boards to overhang the edge of the deck. Secure the decking and trim all the edges of the boards at the same time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Measure your deck space, and get an expert’s advice about how much wood you will need to create a herringbone pattern. Generally, you will need more material than for ordinary, straight pattern.
  • Decide if you want a border around the herringbone pattern.
  • Consider nailing a straight board to the perimeter of the deck to prevent the boards from moving around during installation. The board also helps to keep the boards straight. Remove the boards after installing the herringbone pattern.
  • Do a trial run and place several boards down before securing them to the deck to make sure the pattern looks good.
  • Measure carefully to make sure the herringbone deck will have a professional appearance.

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