How to Lay Decking Yourself
This step-by step guide for decking yourself starts with the design and measurement to the construction of the frame and decking installation.
When you’ve completed the steps you’ll be able to find a useful list of materials and tools that will help you plan how to lay your deck. This is how you can build decking:
Before you do that, determine where you would like to place your decking. Is the space able to provide the proper amount of shade or sun to meet your requirements? Do you think your neighbors will overlook it? Is the ground strong enough to allow decking to be supported?
A landscape that is boggy isn’t the most ideal location for constructing a decking made of wood. It’s not a stable surface and the wood will likely decay. You’ll also need to be sure that the timber doesn’t cover important components like manhole covers or the air brick for your home.
Then, sketch out the plan on the scale of your decking area on a piece of paper. This will assist you in calculating the precise amount of material you’ll require. It will also allow you to calculate the amount of board decking and the joists that you’ll require. Of course, it is important to take into account mistakes and waste.
Determine the deck’s dimensions in your yard or garden and then transfer the measurements onto your deck design. The deck’s height must also be considered in your plans.
Be aware of the height. A deck that is tall could require steps and rails to keep it safe and should you build a deck adjacent to your home’s exterior wall the decking will have to be at least 15 cm lower than the damp-proofing course.
When you’ve got the tools and materials and tools, you’re now ready to build the base for your deck to rest on. Existing hard surfaces like the patio or concrete slabs shouldn’t be removed, since they’ll serve as a great foundation for your deck.
If you’re installing decking on an unsmooth surface like grass or dirt, then some preparation is needed. You must remove the dirt in which your base will rest approximately 5 cm. After that, remove the landscaping fabric to stop the weeds from forming on your deck. Then, sprinkle a generous layer of gravel over top.
You could also lay a few patio slabs in a gravel bed to make a solid base.
The importance of securing your structure is to ensure a sturdy deck. In the event that you are building your deck to be built against the home’s exterior wall, placing the plate on your wall first can help in this process.
Begin by marking out the area where your deck will rest in relation to the wall. If the decking is located outside the back and patio doors, it is important to ensure the frame of your deck is at the proper level for the doorway.
The simplest method to accomplish this is to cut an offcut from the decking board, and then place it under the door’s frame. Make a pencil mark under the frame. This will help you determine the proper height for your decking framework, although you need to be sure to leave some millimetres in order to allow for the expansion in the growth of wood.
Then, use an extension tool to mark your mark across that length.
Then you’ll be able to measure and cut the first joist. It will be attached to the walls, therefore it must be as wide as the decking space. After it’s cut to length take a measurement of 100mm at the end, then mark it with a pencil. Then, draw a vertical line across the wood using your square.
Mark two additional marks of 50mm away from the top and bottom edges of the joist. These marks will be where the fixings will go. Draw two pencil marks exactly the same way at the opposite end of your joist, after that, at every 600mm across the entire length of the Joist.
Make use of your electric drill and create pilot holes for each mark. You are ready to make your fixings.
Use a brush to apply a bit of wood preservative on the wood’s cut ends and on the pilot holes, to help protect the wood.
Then you can attach the beginning of the frame’s outer part on the wall. Its top frame should be at the same level as the pencil line that you drew across the wall.
You might need an additional hand to hold the joist in place. Use a masonry bit of 7mm to drill the first pilot hole into the wood. Use the marks you have made.
Be sure to drill to the wall that is behind the wood. Repeat this process for the markings.
Remove your joist and ensure your holes in masonry have been drilled correctly. After that, you must insert an electrical plug in every wall hole in order to provide an effective fix for your screws.
Use 130mm screws to go through the holes you’ve predrilled into the wood, and then fix rust-proof washers to the ends of the screws. This way, you can make a gap of 10mm between the joint as well as the wall.
Fix your joist on the wall using an electrical drill, driver and bit.
This joist is also known as the wall plate and will hold your deck in position. If you’re not securing your deck to a wall there’s no need to connect to a wall plate.
It is the next stage to finish the deck’s outer frame. It’s recommended to add the deck to have a slight slope decking. This can help the rainwater flow away from the deck. The simplest way to determine this is to use 2mm of fall for every metre of decking you install.
Place your joists in a rectangular or square frame that matches your decking design. It is possible to require rising rods and weatherproofed offcuts to ensure that your joists are at the proper level.
Set your frame in place, and verify using the set square to ensure that the corners are right angles. Also, you might need an additional pair of hands to complete this job. Make sure that the joists are aligned on the corners.
Take your drill and create two pilot holes at each corner of the outer frame to connect the wood. Screw 150mm screws to each hole. If you find any corners difficult to drill through You may be able to align the hole by drilling an angle.
The next step is to identify the location where your joists support to be placed within the framework. They could be installed either vertically or horizontally, based on the pattern that the decking boards are to follow.
If, for instance, the decking boards you have are installed horizontally, then the joints will have to be moved vertically within the frame.
Joists should be installed at intervals of 400mm to give sufficient support needed for boards. Take a measurement inside the frame and mark out where the Joists are required to be. Measure the lengths of joists, and cut them down to ensure they will fit into the frame’s outer edges.
Now you’re ready to put in the internal joints. Metal hangers need to be fitted to the opposite ends of the joists, and then held in place by screws of 30mm. Once you’ve finished this, you can line the edges of each joist to the marks of 400mm that you’ve created on your outer frame.
Before you secure them into the frame, ensure they’re level with the frame’s other parts to ensure that your decking boards are flat on the top. There may be a need for someone to hold each joist securely.
Make two pilot holes at the point where each internal joist joins the frame. The holes should be positioned 40mm from both the upper and lower frames. A drill bit of 8mm is perfect for this work.
You can now make use of 100mm screws to fix each joist. Once you’ve finished this, you’ll need to attach the hangers for joists to the frame using 30mm screws. This should result in a strong frame.
It’s now time to calculate, make and install your noggins. They will add support for your frame and decking boards. The noggins should be placed between the internal joists in space not exceeding 1200mm. Measure and cut enough noggins to cover the entire framework.
You can arrange them in a staggered fashion so that you don’t have to drill fixings next to your other screws. Apply them with the same procedure that you used to fix your joists onto the outer framework, and with two screws at the noggin ends. Also, ensure that your noggins are in line to the other frame.
It is possible to add additional risers beneath the framework to help it support it at intervals of 500mm. Make sure you’re satisfied with the height of your frame and you’re ready to install the decking boards.
The way you lay your decking boards will rely on the pattern you’d like to create; however straight lengths of decking boards are the easiest to accommodate. The ideal decking boards will be exactly the same length as the frame. However, if it isn’t then you’ll have to measure them and reduce them to the required size before making them.
If the length of your frame means that you’ll have to cut a decking board lengthways, it is recommended to place the board in areas where there is the least foot circulation.
If you’re intending to connect the decking board to your decking framework then you’ll have to place the boards on top of the framework, with a slight overhang. The overhang must be the same width as the decking boards.
Like before, you need to make pilot holes in the decking boards prior to fixing them to joists. That will allow you to make the job simpler. Be sure that your holes don’t get too close to the edges of your board or the wood could break.
A second pair of hands can assist you in keeping the boards firmly in place as you drill holes. To achieve a professional finish it is possible to make the screws flush with wood using a countersink tool first.
Begin fixing the screws to the boards, starting at the beginning with the end first. Each board requires two screws at each Joist to ensure that it is secure.
There should be a gap between each board of about 6mm between the boards in order to let the wood expand. Make use of wood offcuts or similar materials as spacers and help keep a consistent space.
If you’re adding decking boards on both sides of the frame apply the same method and leave a gap for expansion. Make sure you measure and mark your boards to know where you will drill pilot holes.
Tools to Install a New Deck
There are a lot of tools to build your deck. While every decking project is slightly different, you’ll require some of the tools listed below and other accessories.
- 2mm drill bit to make the pilot holes
- 7mm diameter masonry drill bit to use for mounting the wall plate
- Countersink drill bit 6mm
- Jigsaw to cut wood that can pass through any obstacle like downpipes
- Circular saw
- Hand saw
- Spirit level
- Drilling for pilot holes and inserting screws
- Tape measures
- Workbench and clamps to hold your wood when cutting
- Set square
Safety Equipment to Lay Decking
When building decks it is important to ensure that you and those around you are as safe as possible.
Therefore, wearing safety gear and clothing is crucial. It’s a good idea ensure that you’ve got the following items before you begin building your garden deck:
- Safety gloves to guard your hands
- Safety eyewear such as glasses and goggles shield your eyes from sawdust as well as other particles
- Safety mask
- Protect your hearing while using power tools
- Work boots that ensure your feet are safe when you lay your framework
Materials to Build Decking
The right material for your decking is crucial for creating a sturdy and solid platform to utilize. For instance the decking joists should be constructed from outdoor grade wood since they’ll have to stand up to the outdoors conditions.
It is also crucial to select screws that are suitable to complete the task, since they’ll need to be weatherproof as well as suitable for fixing wood. What you’ll require:
- Decking boards
- Wood for joists that is exterior grade
- 64mm decking screws
- 100mm timber drive screws
- 150mm timber drive screws
- 100mm coach screws
- 7mm wall plugs
- Flat square washers
- Joist hanger
- Adjustable decking risers
- Preserver to protect the cutting end of your wood
How to Prepare to Lay Decking
The preparation is a crucial part of any deck installation. There’s plenty you can prepare ahead of building.
The first step is to determine If the decking is going to be set on soil that is soft then you’ll have to clear the area of vegetation like weeds and shrubs. If the deck is to be built upon an existing patio it’s necessary to rid the area of any garden furniture, planters and other items.
Choose if you like the appearance of wood and composite decking. Decide what kind of pattern you prefer the appearance of. Stop by your neighbourhood DIY shop and look at the different types of materials in person.
Create a list of the equipment and safety equipment you require using our easy-to-follow guide. Examine the tools you have to ensure they’re in working order and that batteries are charged.
Whatever you’re lacking is something you can add the items you’re looking for to your wish list and purchase all of your supplies. If you’re getting wooden decking delivered be sure you’ve cleared the access and space, and are and are ready in advance for when the deliveries will arrive.
In order to help you choose the size and position of your deck You may want to set up your garden furniture in different parts of the yard at various periods during the course of the day.
The following will provide you with an understanding of what’s most effective and the size of the space you’ll require. It is possible to use chalk spray to outline the space first.
A well-maintained decking for your garden will ensure that it lasts an extended period of time. This is why we’ve listed the tasks that you must take care of to ensure your decking boards are well-maintained and clean.
To keep your deck looking clean, make sure you regularly sweep the deck using a broom that is stiff. Decking made of wood, particularly when it’s located in a shade requires more attention. Algae and moss build rapidly, rendering the deck slippery and unsafe to walk on.
Therefore, power washing is an alternative, but you might also require cleaning products for decks and warm, soapy water to get rid of stains and dirt.
Certain composite boards cannot be cleaned with power, so you must ensure you adhere to the guidelines of the manufacturer for cleaning. It should be possible to clean it by using warm soapy water and a toothbrush But make sure to check prior to beginning.
Maintaining your wood in good shape will stop it from decaying. There are a variety of protection coatings you can put on your deck, such as sealant, stain, oil or decking coating. They will require reapplication each time to keep it secured.
In the end, it’s recommended to look over your deck every time changes in the season. A visual inspection to look for any weaknesses, such as splitting wood or general wear and tear can aid in identifying issues before they become too large to handle.
How to Remove Decking
Of course, there will be instances when you have to get rid of decking tiles or decking boards. It could be because your move to a house with an old decking area or a poorly maintained deck is unsafe or requires replacement. The removal of decking for your garden can be as labour-intensive creating it.
Here’s how to disassemble it:
The first step is to move the furniture in your garden away from the area. If there are handrails that need to be removed then you must begin working on them. You’ll have to get rid of the fixings that could be screws. Make use of the reverse setting of your screwdriver electric or driver-drill to take them off.
You can now start removing those deck boards. They should also be secured with screws, however in the event that they’re stuck in a firm way, you can try prying them out using a crowbar, or cutting them out by using a saw. Make sure you don’t cut through the fixings, it’s only the wood.
You’ll now be able to see the frame. Remove all the fixings that you are able to take off. The degree of looseness or rotten wood will determine the ease of the frame to remove. Try to break joists with a crowbar when you’re able.
For frames that are more robust, make use of a mallet, sledgehammer or even a sledge to tap the joists away. Make sure you wear safety equipment when you are doing this.
For decking that has been constructed well or with posts that are concreted it is recommended to engage a professional to help you remove your decking in a safe manner.
Repurpose any wood that’s not decayed and dispose of any waste at the local recycling center or employ an experienced waste removal service to remove it.
Q: Can I paint decking boards?
A: Yes, you can paint decking boards. However, you will need to prepare them properly first and use a suitable exterior paint. You’ll need to thoroughly clean the boards first and remove any old stain or oil.
This can be done using a scrubbing brush, suitable decking cleaner and decking stripper if necessary. Leave some time for the deck to dry out properly, and then apply your paint with a brush or paint pad.
You may need several coats of paint, so it’s a good idea to choose a warm, dry day and make sure no one needs to access the garden via the decking.
Q: How many decking boards do I need?
A: The number of decking boards you need will depend on the size and shape of your deck, as well as the pattern you choose to lay your boards down.
Drawing a plan of the deck with the measurements will help you work out the number you need. Always allow for cutting mistakes and wastage when calculating materials.
Q: Are composite decking boards or timber decking boards better?
A: You should choose the material you think will suit your needs better. Composite or plastic decking, such as Trex decking, can offer a low-maintenance and durable option.
It’s also available in a selection of colours. However, you may prefer to use timber for a natural look and greater choice of finishes from decking paints and oils. Although you will need to reoil, stain or seal the deck from time to time.
Both materials will require seasonal cleaning and inspection, so it’s down to your personal preference and budget.
Q: Do I need to stick to a square decked area?
A: No, you can create a decked area in many shapes. However, if you’re installing the decking yourself, you should keep it as simple as possible. That’s why square and rectangles are so popular.
If you’re hiring a professional to install your decking, it’s a good idea to use their knowledge and ideas to work out what will look good and suit your needs best.
Q: How do you make decking safer for young families?
A: Decking makes a nice addition to a family garden, but there are ways to make it safer for young children and older family members. Non-slip decking is a good idea for the edges or steps on a deck.
Handrails and safety rails are also worth considering, especially if the decking frame is quite high. And keeping your decking clean and free from algae and moss will prevent the surface from becoming slippery.