Porch Floor Tongue And Groove
One of our site visitor wrote and asked: "I have a porch I need to redo. The deck is currently built out of tongue
and groove 2x6's and is rotting in areas. I feel it's because it is made of tongue and
groove because the water can't flow off the deck as freely. What are the advantages and
disadvantages of tongue and groove and the same for just straight 2x6's"?
Versus 2x6 Boards Pros And Cons
The main purpose of tongue and groove, whether it be a floor or ceiling, is
that it provides a solid surface area. The tongues allow the boards to move
(all wood expands and contracts) yet still maintain its integrity. Tongue and groove flooring is
the traditional porch flooring option.
A board floor of 2x6s, much like that on a deck will have the noticeable spaces between the
boards. No matter how tight you place the boards beside each other, they will
eventually dry and contract thereby creating the spaces.
Whether you use tongue and groove or decking boards, consistantly using sealants meant specifically for
exterior use is extremely important. Water does not treat wood kindly.
Most wood porch or deck flooring actually degrades from the bottom up. Unless you
have standing water on your porch floor most of the time, it should normally dry
through evaporation if treated properly. So in your case, no matter what option you choose, you need to
take precautions under the porch also.
As a minimum, I would lay heavy plastic over the
soil completely under your porch and ensure the porch is well vented so that air can
move underneath. The more air that can move under your porch the longer your flooring will last.
If you choose to use 2x6s, do the same as discussed above. 2x6s will allow water to
drain more quickly but you will have gaps between the boards.
If your issue is that you floor is so flat that water tends to stay on it for long periods,
you may want to slope it slightly if you replace the entire floor.
Typically, tongue and groove wood flooring is used for most porches and I recommend it also.
If you elect to go that way, treat the boards prior to putting them down. That way, you can treat
the tongues and grooves and also the bottom of the boards. I recommend using a product
from Sikkens. You can find it at paint stores (I dont think Home Depot or Lowes carry it).
It costs a little more but Ive had excellent results from using it.
Remember that wood degrades over time but if you prepare it properly, it should last quite a
while. Do everything you can to reduce moisture and increase air flow!