Why Is It Called Car Decking? (Explained Briefly)

a deck

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Car decking is the term synonymously used for the tongue and groove method employed in setting up roofs, ceilings, floors, and subfloors in the construction industry.

The architects highly recommend this method as it provides reliable strength and longevity.

The roofs built with the tongue and groove method exhibit a strong holding capability tolerating extreme weather. Also, these planes firmly fixed into one another look quite appealing from the inside if used as a ceiling.

Why Is It Called Car Decking?

Car decking is one of the essential terms when it comes to the construction industry. It highly adds strength to the infrastructure of the building. Car decking is frequently used in sub-flooring, ceilings, and constructing roofs. Why is it called car decking?

Well, this term has been used for quite a time now, as these floorings are also used for making car decks, and this sub-flooring can also be used as the main floor for your garages.

car decking

It gives the same strength and does not even mar the look of the floor. That’s where the name comes from.

Tongue and Groove Car Decking

The car decking incorporates the idea of holding two slabs of wood together, as the name suggests, with a protrusion on one side of the wood slab called the tongue, and the other side of the wood has a hollow channel known as the groove, to hold the tongue within. It’s a complex piece of board with exceptional structural qualities.

The two boards stay together, with the tongue sliding comfortably in the groove of the next board and holding position with some amount of flexibility yet firmness.

When settled on the roof, these planks give you a bunch of equally spaced soft lines across the top or ceiling, giving a gorgeously rustic look.

The roof and the floor plane are supposed to be the strongest in durability, so the tongue and groove are highly appropriate choices for building these structures.

The tongue and groove slabs are usually with the dimensions of 2X4 and 2X6, with a thickness varying from 1.5″ to 2″, depending on your demands.

These planks gave you a solid structural plan and were frequently used in old times as there was no plywood of OSB available at that time.

Why Car Decking is Preferred

Car decking, the 2X tongue, and groove structure are preferred for many reasons. It is a really solid surface that serves as our roof decking and also floor decking as well.

Its tight holding planks offer tremendous strength, and you do not feel the floor bending under your feet while walking on the floor.

In open barns, tongue and groove decking is preferred as the roof sheeting as it also serves as a beautiful roof ceiling in a non-insulating roof. The car decking floors are stupendously strong, so they can do both the bus floor and the main flooring.

The car decking costs you around 3.5 – 4.0 dollars per square foot, depending upon the choice of materials.

a deck

Still, as in open barns and other buildings with structural obligations, they serve better as they serve the purposes of flooring, sub-flooring, roofing, and ceilings.

High Trend of Car Decking in the Previous Ages

Due to its commendable strength and weather-resisting qualities, the tongue and groove car decking was the most employed method in the construction industry.

Some of the cathedrals and barns that we see sporadic in the country from the past are constructed with this technique.

These long-lived buildings survive because of this solid tongue and groove car decking that ensures no water leaks and stands firmly underfoot while walking.

Any plywood used previously would have rot as its resistance to water and weather is not as commendable as the materials used in car decking.

Materials used for Car Decking

There are different types of striking and eye-catching woods used in the business of construction for car decking, depending on their quality and properties, and utility. The prices highly influence the choices as well.


Also known as Doug-fir is quite a commonly used choice in car decking with the tongue and groove method due to its versatile quality of being robust even as a softwood.

This wood is of remarkable quality and strength, suited for sashes and making windows and doors, with long-lasting capabilities.

SY Pine

The Southern Yellow pine is a species of effervescent pine east of the Great Plains. The SY Pine is one of the significant softwood types used in the construction business, which provides strength and good hold for pressure and nails.


Cedar wood is a coniferous tree usually found in high-altitude areas, but it has been cultivated worldwide, including in Western Europe and North America.

Its lightweight and high strength have made it an important choice in the business of construction and for car decking as well.


Rosewood has a vibrant ruddy shade to its quality and has been a great choice in the furniture market due to its opulently streaked patterns.

car decking construction

It’s also used in the T & G’s for adding a luxurious look to the car decking of your house.


Spruce is another kind of coniferous tree-like pine. It has a specific odor of resin to its characteristics other than softwood, primarily meant for frame-work and decking in construction.


Ipe is another highly recommended and used wood that is harvested in South America. This wood is in trend due to its design, hardness, and high strength and quality that can resist scratches on the car decked floors for extended periods.

Synthetic Material

With the buzzing needs of a highly growing construction market, alternatives to wood have also been brought to the industry. These materials include polymers, and the most advisable is polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as PVC. 

Essential Characteristics of Car Decking

The car decking through the tongue and groove method is an exceptionally esthetic choice in terms of splendor and magnificence.

It adds several attributes to the structural quality of the building and its strength. These characteristics are discussed in detail in the following passages.

Esthetics & Finish Quality

Throughout history, the tongue and groove method was highly in vogue, and many old cathedrals and mansions have used car decking in their ceilings.

The main reason is that the finish quality achieved by the tongue and groove is simply admirable as there are no spaces, and the wood slides perfectly into one another.

Another added feature of the car decking is that it can be used even as the main floor and ceiling due to its hard-core qualities and stunning looks. Manu cathedrals and churches in the past kept the car decking as their visible ceiling for its charm.

Durability and strength

The car decking in the subfloors and the ceilings are highly recommended due to the strength that the tongue and groove strategy provides to the whole set-up, along with the added power of the wood used.

These decks are firm holding surfaces in the house’s infrastructure and give a sheer amount of durability to the outer structures, ensuring a long life.

Flexibility in Extreme Weathers

The positive aspect of tongue and groove ceiling and decking in architecture is that it gives a lot of space to the wood due to its exclusive tongue and groove to expand if it is hot and in frigid weather.

car decking roof

In this way, the wood in the ceiling and the flooring do not dent or curve, and you will never find cracks appearing in your wood that immensely mar the beauty of your house and poses a structural hazard.

Downsides of Car Decking


The car decking with tongue and groove methods incorporates much of your budget while buying these sophistically carved boards. It can cost you hefty amounts of money compared to OSB or plywood.


Another reason people don’t go for car decking with tongue and groove these days is that this process is extensive labor, and its fixation needs a good amount of skill and time. Both these entities will cost you money.


A strong structure is an inevitable demand of the building and can be achieved by making good choices for building the infrastructure.

The tongue and groove car decking method for making sub-floors, roofs, ceilings, and main floors highly pests up the surface’s strength for longer sustainability and life.

Why is it called car decking? Because this type of subfloor decking can be used as the main floor in the garages and even in other situations about its colossal strength and durability.

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