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It's all about how to Deck.

Believe it or not decking is easier to lay than paving, and the building is incredibly simply. Using pressure-treated timber and screws that are designed specifically for decking, will ensure a long life and durability for your decking.

The location of your decking is just as important as the materials you use: do you want a sunny morning coffee location or a bit of shaded privacy? Be aware, decks built in shaded areas are prone damp and algae growth – so these require a little more treatment for preservation.

Measure, measure and measure again! We strongly recommend planning your decking to scale on paper. This is where accuracy counts the most, it’s also a good idea to have the sizes of the decking board you plan to use in mind when designing.

Its also advisable to have a gentle slope to your decking, and to use fluted decking boards to help the water drain off, resulting in a less slippery surface and reduced likelihood of algae build up.

Don’t worry about removing an old patio or concrete base; instead, use it as a solid foundation for your decking. If the bearers are not level, use thin pieces of treated timber to level them, before laying your deck. On soft ground it is possible to make a simple foundation of paving slabs bedded on gravel to support the deck and preserve the timber. Before you start laying this foundation, remove any vegetation and grass and lay a landscaping fabric. If you have a sloping garden, or areas of the garden are difficult to use, garden decking is a quick and practical solution to make these areas accessible.

Steps to the Perfect Decking

Step 1:

Following your plan drawing, mark out the area to be decked with pegs and string line. Remove any turf inside the area and an extra 5cm of topsoil. Level the ground if slightly uneven, remembering to allow for the slope of 1:80. Make sure the ground is firm.

Step 2:

Use paving slabs at each corner and midway along where each bearer will be, including the edges, or every 1.5m if you are laying a larger deck.

Step 3:

Mark the area around each of the slabs with a spade and set aside. Remove a further 2.5cm of topsoil from the marked areas. Replace the removed topsoil with a bed of gravel. Reposition slabs, checking that all are level and firmly bedded.

Step 4:

Roll out landscaping fabric be sure to cut and trim to fit around each slab. If you need to overlap the landscaping fabric, do so by at least 10cm.

Step 5:

Cover the landscaping fabric with a thick layer of gravel. Spread it out evenly so that it is in level with the top of all the slabs.

Step 6:

Mark, cut and lay out the outer frame using decking bearers. Ensure the frame rests flat and is fully supported.

Step 7:

Join the frame at each corner using two external grade 160mm screws. Using a spirit level to make sure the frame remains flat.  The corners should be square, and you can check this by measuring the frame’s diagonals; they should be equal. Adjust the frame if it is not square.

Step 8:

Before fixing the intermediate bearers to the inside the frame, check your intended layout of boards, as the pattern will affect spacing and number of bearers required.

Step 9:

Now mark, cut and fit the intermediate bearers, the maximum spacing between each bearers should be no more than 500mm, check they are flat with a spirit level as you go.

Step 10:

Lay your decking board on top of the frame and predrill all the fixing points with a 2mm bit this will prevent boards from splitting.

If you countersink all the drilled fixing points you will get a neater, smoother finish. It’s a good idea to sand all cut ends of timber to avoid splinters developing too.

Step 11 

Once you have predrilled all the holes, fix the boards to the bearers with two 64mm decking screws to each bearer underneath. To help keep even spaces between adjacent boards use offcuts of wood. Once each board is secured, move the spacer to the next position.

Step 12:

Trim the boards at the end to ensure a straight edge. Mark the timber using a spirit level or a bit of timber board, and use a jigsaw to carefully cut the overhanging deck boards. To create a curved edge, mark out curves using a string line in an arc or with a piece of timber fixed to create an arc. Bear in mind that unsupported decking cannot be more than 150mm away from a bearer.

Step 13:

Finally, add deck boards around the edges to frame the deck for a neat and professional finish!

Quick Tip:

Building regulations can sometimes be an issue – even with small decks. It’s always worth checking with local authorities before you start any work. It’s always nice to keep your neighbours informed too, especially if you’re looking to build a sizeable deck.          

 

 

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