The following information is taken from the article Decking Installation Tips on StoneWoodOutlet.com.
Decking installation is difficult and should only be attempted by experienced DIYers. If you are unsure about your installation abilities, call a professional.
1. Acclimate, acclimate, acclimate!
If your are installing a wood deck, it is critical that your decking material is near the final moisture content before starting to install. Most of our hardwood products are kiln dried down to 10-12% moisture content (MC), which is ideal and does not require additional acclimation time on the job site. We also sell air dried (AD) Ipe which does require acclimation for up to two weeks, depending on the starting moisture content. Air dried products can range from 10% MC all the way up to 25% MC. Using a moisture meter is great way to determine starting MC.
2. Be wary of shrinkage.
Shinkage will be very minimal if installing kiln dried hardwood material or air dried material which has been fully acclimated down to 10% MC. Generally, only the dryest condition will cause shrinkage - such as installing in the high desert areas in Oregon. We generally recommend a full 1/4" between 1x6 or 5/4x6 boards, and 3/16" between 1x4 or 5/4x4 deck boards. If installing in a very dry environment, you should plan to use a 1/16" smaller gap between boards. If you are installing air dried material with a starting MC around 18%, then we recommend 1/8" between boards. Your will get shrinkage of up to to 1/8", possibly even 3/16", with air dried material. The longer you let it acclimate, the less movement you will get after installation.
3. Use the right finish.
The best finish we have found is Duckback from SuperDeck. We carry both the natural and walnut exotic hardwood oil finish. Our preference for ease of maintenance is the Duckback walnut oil, which adds some brown pigment to the mix in order to help protect the wood's natural color from UV exposure. We estimate that the walnut oil finish will outlast the clear finish by one to two years.
4. Straighten up that board, private!
When dealing with crooked boards, we recommend using a Bow Wrench. This tool allows the installer to easily take out up to 1" of side bend. We have these tools in stock.
5. Fasten the deck correctly.
Although there are many different hidden fastener systems which all claim to work well, we always recommend screwing through the face with 2 screws per joist connecion with each board. Screwing through the face is the most reliable and least expensive way to install a hardwood deck.