Step 1: Preparation
The first task is always to mark out and measure your decking area. It may be worth using existing patios or concrete because they provide a firm foundation for your deck without requiring any additional work.
Step 2: Dig Out Your Area
If you plan to install your decking over existing lawn space then, as above mark out the area, and then dig to a depth of 50mm. Cover the ground with landscaping fabric to prevent grass and weeds coming through, and cover with gravel. If the ground is very soft then we recommend that you place paving stones on top of the gravel. The aim of this is to further support the joists and preserve the timber in the long run.
Step 3: Building a fixed deck adjacent to a property
If you are planning to build a fixed deck that is directly adjacent to a property then it is essential that a wall plate is inserted. (If your deck is free-standing move on to the section entitled “Assembling the Frame.”)
Mark out a vertical line at the end of where the wall panel is to be located. This marks the far corner of the decking.
If you intend to fit the decking under a windowsill or around a step you will need to ensure that the design fits. To do this take an offcut of deck board and mark a line underneath the board, thereby marking the lowest part of the sill.
From this line drop the board by a further 10mm, to allow room for expansion, and draw a level line. A spirit level may be required. This line will be used as a guideline for attaching the decking to the wall, so we recommend it runs the whole length of the decking board if possible.
Measure 50mm down from the top of the line and 50mm up from the bottom. Mark the wood. This will assist you with positioning the pilot holes. Repeat the process at 600mm intervals down the length of the wall plate.
We recommend that before securing your wall panel fast to the wall you check that the board fits beneath the sill. Insert one of the boards under the sill on top of the wooden panel to ensure that there is sufficient space.
Use a hammer to secure raw plugs into position in the wall.
Step 1: How to build a decking frame.
If it looks like your decking area is going to extend further than the decking joists provided you will need to join two sections together to create the decking frame. If you don’t need to join up your joists then go directly to step 6 (below).
Measure 4 guidelines on the joists. Measure out and mark a spot 75mm either side of the join. Measure out and mark a spot 150mm from each side of the join. Mark a straight vertical line through each of the four marks using a set square.
When you want to fix the decking frame you have to check that it is at the level you require. You can use available materials such as timber offcuts, paving slabs or bricks. Always use tools such as a spirit level and a set square to ensure that the decking frame is even. As above, use a spirit level to check that it’s at the right level.
Some of the external corners of the frame may be difficult to access, in this case secure the frame by drilling skewed pilot holes into the wood at a 45 degree angle and fix with 100mm screws. As above, ensure that the frame is level.
Step 1: Adding Internal Decking Joists
You will need to calculate how many internal decking joists you need and start by finding the centre spot for one of the external joists. Measure 400mm inwards from here and mark out. Repeat the process to space internal joists at intervals of 400mm.
It may be that you need to extend your internal joists. If this is the case follow the same method as for joining external joists. Use an additional 600mm block for sandwiching the joist in place. Offset pilot holes slightly so the screws don’t come into contact.
You will probably need some assistance securing the joist to the frame, so we recommend positioning it so that the centre of the joist lines up with the 400mm spacer mark. The joist end should be flush with the exterior frame.
If you have issues reaching some parts of the external frame drill skewed holes on each side prior to securing with screws.
Step 1: Adding the Noggins
You need to identify the centre of the noggin’s position on each of the joists and, using a set square, draw a vertical line down the joist. Ideally this should be approximately 40mm from the top and bottom.
Prior to securing the noggin with external timber drive screws we recommend first drilling pilot holes. As usual, check that your frame is level.
Step 1: How to Lay Decking Board
And you’re all done, congratulations on a fantastic job!!!
- If the spot you have chosen for your decking is shaded we highly recommend that the wood is cleaned and treated at least annually. Giving the decking a spring clean will help set your garden up for the year ahead.
- In our experience regular brushing of the decking will help remove any dirt or leaves and avoid the build-up of damp and mould on the decking surface. It also helps it to keep looking great.
- Regularly scrub the decking with a mixture of water and washing-up liquid to keep it looking clean and fresh. Pressure washing can achieve great results, but ensure that any furniture is moved out of the way to ensure it is not damaged.
- If you have mould we would recommend that you use a multi-purpose decking cleaner. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
- We highly recommend that you consider applying decking stain in order to provide additional protection for the years to come. These are available in a wide range of colours, so make sure you think carefully about the finish that you are trying to achieve before applying stain. Remember – in order to maximise the benefits of any stain applied your decking has to be completely clean prior to application. One tip is to try out sample pots of stain to best check if you have got the right colour.
- Avoid applying any stain or paint in hot, cold or wet weather or direct sunlight. Check the weather forecast first.
- Remember to get out into your garden as much as possible, and really enjoy your decking!!!
Looking after your Decking – Stain or Oil?
If you want to add extra protection to your decking to ensure longer life and more usage – i.e. to make the most of the money that you’ve paid for it – it is well worth considering applying decking oil or decking stain.
Decking oil – How to Guide
Decking oils are available in a range of natural wooden tones, as well as transparent, and they will emphasise the natural characteristics and look of the wood. These oils penetrate into the wood and offer protection from the inside out.
Oil is very durable and requires little maintenance, it has water-resistant properties and touch-up can be applied easily and simply. In general you will probably need much less oil than stain to cover your decking. Purpose-made oils can cover approximately 6-10 metres squared so it is highly likely that all that is required is just one tin. Calculate how much you need prior to application. Apply a second coat no sooner than 4 hours after the first coat has been applied. Decking oil helps to protect against the weather, and will withstand everything the elements has to throw at it. The benefit is that it will make your wood less likely to weather and discolour.
Please note that decking oil cannot be applied to surfaces that have previously been oiled, so any existing oil will have to be removed.
Decking oil is a great solution for softwood timber decking.
Decking stain – How to Guide
Decking stains are available in a range of colours. Prior to staining any decking it will have to be thoroughly cleaned. Once it has dried out you will have to remove any existing coats of decking stain.
- Get down to it. You can apply most decking stains available on the market with a paintbrush. This will mean that you have to get down on your hands and knees to make sure that the stain really gets into all the grooves of your softwood timber decking. Please ensure that you dedicate some time because it’s a labour-intensive task but will be rewarding.
- Get in on! You should shake your stain and stir thoroughly to provide an even colour throughout. Grab a wide size paintbrush and apply generously across the deck.
- Do it again! To give your decking the best chance of enjoying a longer life we highly recommend that you apply a second coat. Follow the instructions above and apply the stain using the same method as the first coat.
- Keep it clean. Once the decking oil has been applied be sure to keep your decking clean.