• How To Build Decking

    | by Holly Wood

    Wondering how to build decking that transforms your backyard into a cosy oasis? You’re not alone. Creating a deck, be it at ground level or as a raised deck, offers a space that’s perfect for everything from relaxing with a good book to hosting family barbecues.

    In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process of how to build decking, offering tips and insights to make your build a smooth one. As we delve deeper into this guide, we’ll also shed light on how to build a raised deck, offering a unique vantage point of your surroundings.

    Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or a decking novice, there’s something here for everyone. So, get comfortable and prepare to bring your dream deck to life!

    Types of Decking Materials

    Wooden Decking Boards: A classic choice, wooden decking boards bring a natural warmth. However, they require regular maintenance. Timber decking boards are typically supplied in long lengths, from 1.8m to 6.0m

    Always opt for structural-grade timber that’s been treated, along with screws tailored for the task. Double-coat any drilled or cut areas with a preservative to guarantee a durable deck that stands the test of time.

    Composite Decking: Made of wood fibres and plastic, composite decking is durable and almost maintenance-free.

    Remember, the type of decking board you choose will influence the overall aesthetics and longevity of your decking area

    Design and Planning

    Before you dive into your decking project, it’s vital to sketch your design. This helps in estimating how many deck boards you’ll need and where your decking frame will lay.

    If you’re interested in learning how to lay your decking on grass, we’ve got a helpful guide tailored to this particular procedure as well.

    Tools and Equipment Needed

    Key tools for this task include a circular saw for cutting deck boards, a drill driver for fastening, and a spirit level to ensure a flat surface.

    Don’t forget your combination square to maintain consistent expansion gaps. These gaps, often ranging from 5-8mm, not only facilitate the drainage of rainwater but also accommodate the wood’s innate tendency to swell and shrink over time.

    What’s the Right Joist Size for My Deck?

    4×2 decking joists are the standard framing timber size for decks, offering a sturdy base to attach your decking boards. When assembling your deck frame, it’s advisable to maintain a 400mm gap between each joist. You can either screw or nail these joists together.

    For elevated decking projects, it’s preferable to use 6″ x 2″ timber joists for added strength.

    Furthermore, for a basic deck accommodating just a table and chairs, 4 x 2” (100 x 50mm) joists should suffice. However, if your deck will hold heavier items, it might be wise to consider 6 x 2″ (150 x 50mm) joists.

    Ultimately, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of strength and durability.


    1. Ground Prepping: Before you lay deck boards, ensure the ground is level. If building over an existing patio or on paving slabs, make sure they’re stable.
    2. Weed Control: Lay weed control fabric to prevent unwanted growth beneath your raised deck.

    How To Build A Decking: Construction Steps

    1. Building the Decking Frame:

    • Begin by constructing an outer joist frame. This forms the deck’s perimeter.
    • Attach all the inner joists using joist hangers. Ensure they are parallel and spaced evenly.
    • For a raised deck, use decking posts for elevation. Drill pilot holes and secure them with two coach screws.
    • On a flat deck, use timber battens as your sub frame. Place them in the opposite direction of your decking boards.

    2. Laying the Decking Boards:

    • Start from one corner and lay your first deck board.
    • Drill a pilot hole at every intersection of the deck board and inner joists. This prevents the wood from splitting.
    • Use decking screws or deck screws to fasten the boards to the frame. Countersunk holes ensure screw heads sit flush.
    • Always maintain an expansion gap between each decking board. This accounts for any swelling or contraction.
    • Use a straight edge to keep boards aligned.

    3. Building a Raised Deck:

    • A raised deck requires additional support. Secure the outer frame to corner posts using coach screws.
    • Build a support frame with support joists. Attach these to the main frame. (Please NoteThe amount of support posts your raised deck requires depends on the size of your decking joists.)
    • Lay decking as you would in the same method for a flat deck.
    • Consider additional features like fascia boards for a polished look.

    4. Finishing Touches:

    • For wooden deck boards, consider sealing or staining for longevity.
    • Round off any rough edges for safety.
    • Optional: Attach fascia board to the deck’s outer edges for aesthetic purposes.

    Maintenance and Care

    Maintaining your deck is paramount, especially if you’ve chosen wooden decking boards. Regular checks for loose boards, cleaning, and re-sealing can extend your deck’s life.

    Safety Considerations

    Secure railings, especially for raised decking areas. Non-slip treatments are recommended for wet climates.

    Budgeting and Costs

    Building decking can be cost-effective if planned well. Prices vary based on materials. However, the DIY route is generally cheaper than hiring professionals.

    How to Build Decking: Conclusion

    Building a deck, be it a flat deck or raised decking area, can be a rewarding DIY project. Follow the steps diligently, and in no time, you’ll have a space that’s not only functional but aesthetically pleasing.

    Remember, while power tools accelerate the decking construction, always prioritise safety. Happy building!

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