How to Lay Decking – 11 Simple Steps to Laying The Perfect Deck
Spring brings on nicer weather, sunshine, and warmer temperatures. It also brings out the desire to spend time outdoors. So, you’ll need a good place to spend it on to truly enjoy the benefits of vitamin D. A place like a deck! So, this guide contains everything you need to know about how to lay decking.
Decks create extra living space for you, your family, and your friends to enjoy. It’s like having an extra room in the summertime! It can be transformed into a space for dining, lounging, or just enjoying the sun. No matter what type of entertaining you plan on doing, you’ll have a great space.
You can personalise it to suit your tastes. Have your deck in full sun for tanning, or choose something shady to enjoy even on the warmest days.
Of course, if your deck is looking shabby, it won’t be up to the summer times you have ahead. Or even worse, perhaps you don’t have a deck at all! Thankfully, laying decking is not an impossible task. Depending on what you want, it could even be a project you can tackle on your own. Ready to embark on your own project? Follow this helpful guide to make sure your project is done right.
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How to Lay Decking Step By Step
Before you get started on a major project like a deck, you’ll need to do the research to make sure you don’t miss a step, and that you are confident you know how to lay decking. A step-by-step guide prepares you for each step and helps you figure out what materials and supplies you need for the job. After all, you won’t want to begin, and then have to put your project on hold while you make a supply run!
When it comes to physical structures like a deck, this is especially important as you may not be able to just stop and leave your timbers in the air. Plus, you are dependent on the weather when you work on an outdoor project like a deck. You won’t want to stop while the sun is shining, just to pick up work again in the rain!
It’s very important to plan before you start your project. This ensures you have the right materials in the right amounts. It also helps eliminate surprises in the middle of the job!
As you work out your design, allow for a space between each deck board. This space should be about 5 to 8 mm, allowing the wood to shrink and swell along with the weather. Also, consider the width of each deck board. The total width of your deck should allow each board to be installed in full without cutting them down to fit. This improves the look of your deck.
Decide on exactly where your deck will be placed. Will you want it connected to your home, or set into your garden? This will help determine the type of footings and supports you’ll need to incorporate into your design. Avoid setting your deck into a wet or damp area that doesn’t get much sun, as this can make your wood prone to rot. Also, check on where it sits in relation to your neighbours, to create privacy.
If you are building your deck right off your home, consider the damp proof course as to where you fasten it. You’ll also want to set your deck on a slight decline, moving water away from your home.
Balcony, Deck and Patio Specialist Price Guide
Here’s a general overview of the types of materials you can expect to need in your project. Of course, depending on your plan, you may find you need more or less equipment. Remember that preparation is key to know how much wood and decking is required.
- Tape measure to determine appropriate size and length
- Chalk line and pencil for marking off your measurements
- Level and carpenter’s square to check on your work for proper fit
- Drill, bit, and decking-appropriate screws for fastening your decking and joist boards
- Hammer and nails for framing purposes
- Saw for cutting wood
- Paintbrush and chosen stain for finishing
- Other finishing touches for decorating
- Timbers for your posts, joists, decking boards, and railings, as needed for the scope of your project
Step by Step Guide on How to Lay Decking
- Start by preparing the area. Measure and lay out space for your deck. You’ll want to create a solid foundation for your deck. Use paving stones or a concrete base to support your deck in place and prevent it from sinking into soft ground. Make sure this surface is level, or you will have to raise your frame to accommodate.
- A simple box frame will start out your deck. This should be as wide and long as you’ve envisioned your deck to be.
- Place your joists in the frame. Lay them out to make sure they are spaced properly, around 400mm between them. Remember that a shorter space is better for support than leaving one that is too wide. Once you are happy with the positioning, nail your joists to the frame.
- Check that your frame is level. If it isn’t, you’ll need to add support to raise up any low areas.
- Secure your frame to the ground so it won’t move. You can use posts or wooden spikes that dig into the ground and fasten to the corners of your frame to hold it steady.
- Add noggins to your frame between joists for extra strength. This is just like framing a wall!
- Start at one end and fasten the first decking board with screws. You’ll want a slight overhang with the first board to ensure proper water runoff.
- Then, apply the next decking board. There should a gap of 5 mm between each board for an even, consistent look that allows your wood to react to weather changes.
- You can plan and sand the other edges of your deck for a nice finished effect.
- Now, move on to the finishing touches! Whether it’s stain or paint, you’ll want to treat your word properly for it to last. Read on for more information about the best decking paint for your needs.
- Once your deck is built and sealed, you can decorate with furniture and start enjoying your space.
What is The Best Decking Paint?
Now that you’ve learn how to lay decking and built your deck, it’s time to think about the finish you’d like to see. This is an important step since proper finishing takes care of your wood, making it last longer so you can enjoy it for years to come! Taking care of your deck with regular maintenance will keep it looking picture perfect, but it also allows you to use it without worrying about doing damage. But before you break out the brushes, you’ll want to know what’s the best decking paint for the job.
Clear stain helps to seal your decking, but won’t change its colour or hide the look of the grain. When you love the look of natural wood but still want to protect it, this is the perfect choice for you. It makes your wood water repellant to help preserve it, getting it as close as possible to being waterproof. This type of stain generally does not last as long and will require refreshing at least once a year to keep your timber safe and secure.
This range of stains will tint your wood but allows the texture of your wood to stand out. Semi-transparent stains are available in a small range of colours, usually mimicking natural colours. But you may find a deep blue or green to make your deck unique! Whether you go light or dark, these stains will last longer than clear stain since they soak into the wood to colour it. You may still want to refresh it at the start of the season to ensure your wood stays preserved.
A solid stain will cover your wood like paint would, giving you full, rich colour. It will cover up any irregularities in your wood, such as a newer board that hasn’t quite aged like the rest. It still lets some of your wood texture to shine through. Solid stain comes in a wider range of colours but usually sticks to natural, earthy tones so your outdoor space suits the outdoors.
If you want to get truly solid colour, paint is the finish for you. The colour range is immense and will disguise the texture of your wood. Unlike stain’s more natural range, paint can be in any colour you wish! If you want a bold colour like purple or red, this would be the finish for you. Your paint will need to be of high quality, sure to withstand the high traffic and bond with your decking to last. Remember that paint will not protect the surface of your wood as a stain does, so you may need to protect your wood with a sealant coat. This will ensure your beautiful and bright painted deck lasts just as long as a classic tint.
In any case, your chosen product will need reapplying to stay pristine and protect your wood. You’ll also want to ensure the finish is flat, matte or eggshell so it does not become slippery in the rain. Since you walk on it, this is important to remember in the finish you choose!
Now that you know how to lay decking, all you need to do is dream up a design for your deck and start building! So whether you’ve chosen real wood timber in a natural or colourful stain, your deck is only a few days of work away. As you toil, just remember the end goal: a beautiful space where you’ll enjoy time outside. Soon, you’ll be bringing in plants, furniture, or even decorative lighting touches to claim this space as your own.
But if laying decking yourself seems like more of a challenge than you like, remember that you can always hire a professional to handle the work. They can make your vision a reality, and you’ll just be able to step outside to enjoy it.
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