All Hands On Deck: A DIY Guide To Decking

Decking can help form a social area in your garden for parties and al fresco evening meals and is cheaper and easier to lay down than paving. You can call in a professional to do it for you or make it a personal project (compared to many landscaping jobs it’s relatively easier). For those that choose the latter option, here are few pointers to help ensure that your DIY decking is a glorious success.

Get Permission
Before doing any work, you make sure that your decking plans are okay with your neighbours, your local planning committee and your home insurance provider. In most cases, it should be fine, however more elaborate decking that could raise and jut out could violate certain planning restrictions or pose an intrusion of privacy to neighbours. Insurance providers may not put up your premiums for laying down decking, but may deny any claims you make if you have not informed them of all changes to your house. Notify everyone – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Create a Weed Free Area
Your decking needs to be on firm ground. However, you should aim for there to be a slight slope so that water runs off the decking when raining. Dig up an area and make it free of any grass or weeds (you don’t want these growing up between your decking at a later stage, or affecting the framework). You can add paving or gravel on top of this area to further support the deck.

Gather Your Materials
For your decking you want a sturdy and durable wood such as phenolic plywood. Thicker hardwood may make for a more robust frame. You can use decking screws to join beams together. Cut these to the exact measurements you need.

Lay Out the Framework
Measurements have to be exact when laying out the framework, otherwise your decking will be a flop. Use a spirit measure, decking bearers and tape measure to help. Start with the outer frame. Join this together with decking screw and use a tape measure to measure the frame’s diagonals, making sure they are equal lengths. When this outer frame is all done you can fit the intermediate bearings. These will support your decking and should be evenly spaced.

Start Decking
Decking can come in all shapes and sizes. The most common patterns are horizontal decking, diagonal decking and chevron decking – the last requiring a little more work. Horizontal decking is by far the easiest to lay down. In all cases you should ensure that there is equal spacing between each board. You can use an offcut of wood to measure this gap (obviously the gap between boards shouldn’t be too big that you can slip your foot through, but it should be big enough to allow some room for the boards to swell in heat – which they will do). Make sure to sand off your decking when done to get rid of any sharp or rough edges.

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