UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Manufacture of Profiled Amabilis Fir Deckboards with Reduced Susceptibility to Surface Checking Cheng, Kenneth J.; Evans, Philip D.


Machining grooves and ridges (peaks) into the surface of wooden deckboards reduces undesirable checking that develops when “profiled” boards are exposed to the weather. We aim to develop improved profiles for amabilis fir decking to reduce its susceptibility to checking, and also to examine whether profiling influences distortion (cupping) of deckboards. We systematically varied radii of grooves and peaks, and the heights and widths of peaks in profiled deckboards, exposed them to the weather, and measured checking and cupping of boards. Profiling significantly reduced the numbers and sizes of checks in amabilis fir deckboards, but increased cupping. Profiles with narrow grooves and tall peaks were generally better at restricting checking than profiles with wide grooves and shorter peaks. Our results suggest that one of the profiles we tested would be better at restricting checking than profiles used previously to manufacture profiled decking from amabilis fir. We conclude that the surface checking of profiled amabilis fir decking can be significantly reduced by altering the geometry of surface profiles. In principal, the same approach could be used with other softwood species that have potential to capture a share of the large and important market for wood decking.

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