Guide to Good Decking (2022)

Guide to Good Decking (1)

Not so long ago, TV makeover shows were all about enthusiastic gardening ‘experts’ showing us how our outdoor spaces could be transformed in a matter of hours with easy-to-lay, uniform decking. However, in recent years there has been a definite move away from the trend, with studies showing grass once more growing in popularity.

The Comeback of the Lawn

There is an awful lot to be said for the lawn. While its natural and lush appearance holds obvious appeal, it is also a great way to encourage more wildlife in to your garden, increase oxygen, reduce the likelihood offlooding (opens in new tab)and, according to some, increase your general feelings of wellbeing. It is also a great option if you have children — running around on soft grass has to be more pleasurable than on hard decking.

A couple of years ago, a survey carried out by lawn company GreenThumb, showed that a sixth of people who hadinstalled decking (opens in new tab)ended up ripping it out, saying that they missed the colour and wildlife that a lawn brought their gardens. Some people also felt it took up too much space. However, the Timber Decking Association disagreed (naturally), stating that any suggestion that decking was in decline was misinformed.

(Video) How To Build & Lay Timber Decking

Despite this battle of vested interests, whatever your personal preference, it is true to say that timber decking has come a long way, with a greater choice of products, designs and finishes now available. There is also more of a sense of how it can be laid to make the most of a garden and blend in with the existing nature that surrounds it.

Guide to Good Decking (2)

Better Decks

Of course, even if you are a lawn lover, there is no reason why you cannot have both lawn and decking in your garden. This is in fact the ideal way to define different areas of the outdoor space you have available. It provides a great surface for an outdoor seating area, around aswimming pool (opens in new tab)or maybe a hot tub, plus it is quick and easy to install and fairly cost effective to boot.

It is also an excellent solution for those dealing withsloping sites (opens in new tab)— turning fairly unusable garden space into a stable, level and useful area. Timber decking can work well when used to create pathways and steps — blending nicely with other natural materials in the garden.

(Video) How to Lay Decking with Wickes

Guide to Good Decking (3)

Isn’t Decking Slippery and Rot-Prone Though?

Decking can be slippery, and prone to rot, too. What you need to bear in mind is that choosing the right timber for your decking is essential in ensuring that you are able to enjoy it for many years to come.

In terms of preventing it from rotting, warping or cracking (all complaints linked to decking) look for a timber that has the DeckMark symbol from the Timber Decking Association — this is a good indicator of the use of high-quality materials with good guarantees.

Softwoodssuch as pine and spruce will be the cheaper option, but must be properly treated with a wood preservative — as should any cuts in the wood. Cedar is an ideal softwood choice, being naturally weather-resistant.

It is thehardwoodsthough that have seen a growth in their popularity recently, with species such as oak and teak giving a stylish and contemporary feel, while also offering plenty of durability and stability — essential qualities for timber decking to remain looking good.

Guide to Good Decking (4)

Other good choices include birch, elm, maple and cherry. Both treated softwoods and hardwoods can be expected to last for around 25 years if well maintained.

(Video) Tommy's Trade Secrets - How To Build Decking

So, what about it becoming slippery? Yes, timber decking can in the wetter months become a little bit like an ice rink. There are various ways around this:

  • Some swear by pressure washing a couple of times a year to remove algae build-up, although others believe this will lead to the timber rotting at a faster rate. There are gentler deck cleaning solutions available which are worth a look.
  • Others suggest securing chicken wire to the surface — effective, but not necessarily attractive.
  • There are also products on the market specifically tailored to deal with the problem, such asGripDeck (opens in new tab). These are anti-slip aluminium inserts that are easy to fit and blend in well.

Deck Facts

  • Expect to pay £30-70/m² for decking boards.
  • For installation, a two-man decking company will ask around £500 for a typical patio.
  • As long as your decking is no more than 30cm above the ground and covers no more than half the garden area, itwon’t require planning permission (opens in new tab). If your deck requiresplanning permission (opens in new tab)it will also requireBuilding Regulations (opens in new tab)approval.

Designing your Landscaping Scheme

Although there are problems associated with timber decking, most are easily avoided. Ensure that your decking sits well within your scheme by choosing the right product for the right area. Grooved and ribbed finishes seem to blend in nicely with more traditional garden schemes, while smooth finishes add to the crisp nature of a contemporary outdoor space.

Remember, there is no reason why you have to stick to straight lines. Boards can be fitted diagonally or even in herringbone patterns to create a tailored look. Look at the surrounding materials, too — timber decking fitted near an expanse of timber fencing can all look a bit much, but combined with glass balustrades or lush hedges, can really add something.

When planning your deck, think about the effect you want it to have on the overall appearance of your home. Deck boards placed at right angles to your home tend to draw the eye out towards the garden, while those that run parallel will add a sense of width to the house.

How to Install Decking

  • In order to prevent your new deck being plagued by weeds, lay a deck fabric over the earth before the deck is fitted
  • Ensure that the framework for the deck is laid on to concrete foundations rather than directly on to the soil for added stability
  • For water run-off, the deck should gently slope away from the house — a 10mm drop for every metre of deck is ideal.

If you are installing decking in a shady spot, bear in mind that it will not be able to dry out in the sun and it will spend much of the time damp and so more prone to algae, dirt and moss build-up. Choose a non-slip product and clean the deck with a deck cleaning solution regularly to keep it in good, usable condition, and re-treat the deck afterwards. You should also check your decking regularly for any loose boards and splintered wood, and repair where necessary.

A final note on installation: always use purpose-made stainless steel or galvanised screws so that your decking is not ruined by rust stains.

Guide to Good Decking (6)

(Video) 5 Tips for Building a Durable Deck

Low-Maintenance Alternatives to Timber Decking

If you are concerned about the maintenance involved with timber decking, you could opt for an alternative material. In the main, these are either composites or PVCu.

  • PVCu products are cheaper than timber, yet lack the natural appearance
  • Composite decking is made from wood fibres combined with polymer resins and offers a non- or low-slip surface. It’s also maintenance free — no sanding or sealing required.

If it is a wholly earthy and natural appearance you are hoping to achieve, then timber wins hands down, but in contemporary schemes a composite often works well.

Guide to Good Decking (7)

Natasha Brinsmead

Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. She has renovated a terrace and is at the end of the DIY renovation and extension of her Edwardian cottage. She is now looking for her next project.

(Video) Ipe vs. Composite vs. PVC vs. Cedar: Which Decking is Best?

FAQs

What is the best decking to have? ›

If you're trying to find the best decking material that money can buy, there's a very strong argument to be made for composite wood. Everyone will have their own opinion, of course, but the facts suggest that composite deck boards really do offer the best of all words.

What is the best thickness for decking? ›

16” on center = Standard for residential decking applications. 12” on center is recommended for a sturdier underfoot feel, when using standard deck board thickness of 1”. 24” on center = Sometimes used for commercial applications such as docks and boardwalks; wider joist spacing requires greater deck board thickness.

What material is best for decks? ›

PVC decking is also the top choice for long-lasting, durable deck boards. Much of this owes to PVC's water resistance. It's moisture-absorption that causes most of wood decking's durability issues: warping, splitting, cracking, mold, mildew, rot, and insect damage.

What kind of decking lasts the longest? ›

Aluminum and Steel

Aluminum decking is the most expensive out of the deck material and will last the longest with a lifespan of 30+ years. Steel decking can have a lifespan of 60+ years when correctly installed by a professional builder.

Is composite decking worth the money? ›

While they often cost more than wood, composite materials offer the promise of greater durability and less maintenance. Wood is still the most common choice for deck material,1 but it doesn't last forever. Composites may be more durable, but they might lack the natural look and color you are looking for.

How do I choose deck boards? ›

There are 2 factors that play into determining your required (or ideal) board thickness: Wood strength and joist spacing. Let's start with strength. Different decking products and wood species have different strengths. Soft trees such as pressure treated pine and western red cedar are weaker woods.

How much space do you leave between decking boards? ›

The amount of space between deck boards should be anywhere from ¼” to 3/8” inch. You want plenty of space for water to flow between the boards and to allow small debris to fall to the ground. Deck board spacing greater than 3/8” of an inch can become problematic.

Are wider deck boards better? ›

Narrower boards work best.

4” nominal (3-1/2” actual) wide deck boards perform better than wider (6” nominal) deck boards. Because there are more gaps between the deck boards, 4” nominal deck boards provide about 44% more top of deck ventilation than 6” nominal decking.

Should I use 2x6 or 5 4 decking? ›

Today, 5/4 decking is more widely used than 2×6 decking. Although the same width, 2x6s are 1/2″ thicker, making them stronger and less bouncy than 5/4 decking spanning the same joist spacing. However, 2x6s cost 30% to 50% more for similar quality and appearance decking.

What is the best low maintenance deck material? ›

Pressure treated wood, cedar, and redwood are great choices for wood decking. These are the least expensive yet high maintenance options. Traditional wood decks easily fade when exposed to weather conditions.

What is the best maintenance free decking? ›

CertainTeed EverNew

CertainTeed is based in Pennsylvania and is better known for siding and other building materials, but they are also regarded for their vinyl railing and decking materials. EverNew is stain-resistant and practically maintenance-free, never needing staining, painting, or harsh cleaning chemicals.

Which is better PVC or composite decking? ›

Durability: Both products score highest among decking products for durability. Mold and Mildew Resistance: Capped PVC decking has a slight edge over capped composite for its ability to resist mold and mildew. Stain Resistance: Both products rank highest among decking materials for stain resistance.

Is composite deck better than wood? ›

Unlike most wood decking, composite decking is not prone to damage from termites and other wood-destroying insects. While all-wood decking will eventually splinter, composite decking is made with small wood fibers encased in plastic, so it won't splinter.

What are the problems with composite decking? ›

Four Major Disadvantages of Wood Composite Decking
  • Wood Composite Decking Lacks Strength. Wood composite deck boards tend to weigh more than traditional wood while providing less strength. ...
  • Hot Decking. ...
  • Expansion and Contraction Leads to Damage. ...
  • Susceptible to Mold. ...
  • A Better Alternative to Wood Composite Decking.
Feb 4, 2021

What is the life expectancy of a wood deck? ›

THE AVERAGE LIFESPAN OF A WOOD DECK: Typically 10 to 15 years. The actual lifespan of your wood deck will depend on the type of wood you've chosen and how well you keep up with wood's rigorous maintenance schedule.

How much does a 20x20 composite deck cost? ›

If we assume a 20' x 20' deck, then a rough estimate for pressure treated wood would be around $3,000, whereas the same deck built with a high-quality composite material might cost around $5,6001.

Does decking attract rats? ›

FACT 2: In isolation, decking in your garden does not 'attract' rats. Yes, the dark and sheltered space underneath a deck structure can provide a rat with an attractive place to hide but usually they are mostly used as a staging post, a safe stop off from nest to food source – see FACT 1!

How much should a new deck cost? ›

According to HomeAdvisor, as of 2020 the cost of most decks ranged between $4,153 and $11,219, with $7,686 being the national average cost of a new deck. The total average cost per square foot was between $30 to $60 with labor and materials each consuming about 50% of that budget.

What is better composite or PVC decking? ›

Durability: Both products score highest among decking products for durability. Mold and Mildew Resistance: Capped PVC decking has a slight edge over capped composite for its ability to resist mold and mildew. Stain Resistance: Both products rank highest among decking materials for stain resistance.

What is the best maintenance free decking? ›

CertainTeed EverNew

CertainTeed is based in Pennsylvania and is better known for siding and other building materials, but they are also regarded for their vinyl railing and decking materials. EverNew is stain-resistant and practically maintenance-free, never needing staining, painting, or harsh cleaning chemicals.

What is the best low maintenance deck material? ›

Pressure treated wood, cedar, and redwood are great choices for wood decking. These are the least expensive yet high maintenance options. Traditional wood decks easily fade when exposed to weather conditions.

What type of composite decking is best? ›

Among composite decking brands, Trex is an industry leader. The company offers the largest selections for those on a budget. Their decking is easy to use, making it the best DIY option. Due to how the decking is made, the boards are easy to install.

What are the problems with composite decking? ›

Four Major Disadvantages of Wood Composite Decking
  • Wood Composite Decking Lacks Strength. Wood composite deck boards tend to weigh more than traditional wood while providing less strength. ...
  • Hot Decking. ...
  • Expansion and Contraction Leads to Damage. ...
  • Susceptible to Mold. ...
  • A Better Alternative to Wood Composite Decking.
Feb 4, 2021

Why is my deck bouncy? ›

A: A “bouncy” deck is usually caused by long joists between beams. Assuming you can access the support framing, you can strengthen the deck by installing rows of blocking cut to fit tightly between the joists, spaced every 3 to 4 feet along the span.

Why is my composite deck warping? ›

Your composite deck may not warp, but it can sag and buckle. Most sagging is caused by improper spacing between the joists when it is installed. Also, thermal expansion, the fluctuation of temperatures, can have a more significant effect on composite decking than on natural wood decking.

If your looking to start a new decking project, then this guide to laying garden decking will give you all the right information to help you plan and make the most of the space in your garden.. This DIY beginners guide to garden decking will teach you the basics on how to utilise your garden space no matter the size.. Planning Your Garden Decking!. Check with your DIY store before buying any materials You will need to use hot tub decking boards and use the right footings and timber frame type: 4×2″ treated joists.. Allow for hot tub draining purposes before choosing a location for your deck Non-slip!. Allow enough space for your dining table and chairs Will you be able to sit and stand comfortably Position your decking with the evening sun in mind Use hard wearing decking boards Build your decking closer to the kitchen for easy access. If you are going to lay your DIY decking project on concrete then dig some holes and post the frame a few inches from the floor, this will make a more sturdy project.. Can I build my DIY decking on a sloped garden?

a simple, ground-level deck a ground-level deck with balustrade (also known as railings) a raised (or elevated) deck with balustrade and steps. The material of your deck boards The size of your decking area The length of your deck board, in metres (L for length) The width of your deck board, in metres (W for width) The required expansion gap running between the length of your deck boards, in metres (EGL for Expansion Gap Length) The required expansion gap at the ends of your deck boards (EGW for Expansion Gap Width). Timber deck boards require: a 5mm to 8mm gap along the length of the deck boards (EGL) and a 3mm gap along the ends of the deck boards (EGW). Solid composite deck boards require: a 6mm gap along the length of the deck boards (EGL) and a 3mm gap along the ends of the deck boards (EGW). Unlike with timber decking, solid composite deck boards don't allow for any flexibility with the size of the expansion gap running along the length of the deck boards, as the fixings used in laying only allow for one single size.. Step 2: Calculate the coverage of your deck boards Add the deck board width (W) to the Expansion Gap Length (EGL).

This guide outlines the method for building a single level deck with timber frame and installing it on a patio next to a house.. The material of your deck boards The size of your decking area The size (length and width) of deck boards you’re using The required expansion gap for your deck boards. Try to plan your deck to fit only whole boards, to avoid having to awkwardly cut a board lengthways to fill a gap.. If you are building a fixed deck that joins onto a house, then you will need to attach a wall plate.. Secure the three sections in your workbench and make sure that the 300mm mark lines up with the join of the joists.. Drill the pilot holes with a 6mm wood drill bit and secure the joists together using 100mm screws.. The decking frame should be at the right level before fixing in place.. If you need to extend your internal joists, then follow the same method as for joining external joists.. To secure the joist to the frame, place it into position so the centre of the joist lines up with the 400mm spacer mark.. If some parts of the external frame are hard to access, you can again secure the internal joists by drilling two skewed pilot holes on each side before securing with screws.. Then measure and mark two pilot holes on each line, 40mm from the top and 40mm from the bottom.. Drill pilot holes before securing the noggin with 100mm external timber drive screws.. Once all the noggins are in place, check that your frame is level, and all your fixings are secure.. Mark the fascia board with a line at 50mm from each end.. Secure the fascia board with 64mm decking screws.

We offer low-slip boards which are ideal for this very purpose.So, whether you're tackling a small-scale decking project or something more substantial, we're here to help you find the right decking for you and your outdoor space.. We offer two different decking formats – decking boards and decking tiles.. Decking boards are perfect for extending your outdoor living space, offering the look and feel of a traditional deck to create an “extra room”.. For the classic decking look, choose timber decking .. While planning and laying a larger deck can be made easier by using the longest and widest deck boards available.. And for extra ease, we also offer modular decking board kits that include materials to create and lay deck squares.. For a long-lasting and innovative decking option, choose composite decking.. A strong and durable solid deck board with scratch and stain-resistant properties, composite decking never needs sanding, staining or oiling – so there’s no time intensive and costly maintenance work.. If laying deck boards (not deck tiles), there are a few extra items that you’ll need to complete your landscaping project.. Decking joists create the sub-frame for your decking, with the deck boards laid on top of them.. Ensure your decking stays secure with decking screws .. Choose the right type for your deck boards – standard steel decking screws for timber deck boards and specialist composite ones for the matching boards.. If your decking area is raised, explore our range of timber decking steps .. Available in white and blue, our LED decking lights are recessed into the decking for safety and are offered in solar-powered or wired options.. Decking stains and oils not only protect your decking from wear and tear, they also help create the finish you desire.

From fiberglass to concrete, grass, and all types of woods, there are lots of great materials to choose between.. Pros: Versatile, practical, chic, and modern when well designed, concrete is a surprisingly good deck material option.. Roger Davies/ Otto Pros: This sub-version of concrete has a lot of similar pros, including versatility and is easy to clean, as well as less expensive than other natural stone and wood types of decking materials.. Stephen Kent Johnson Pros: Redwood is another really nice natural option, and shares several characteristics with cedar wood—the natural tannins, lightweight yet strong finish, and gorgeous color.. (That might also be why it costs more than cedar: about $6 to $8 per square foot.). This makes them a really durable option since they don’t require too much maintenance.. It contains tannins and naturally occurring oils that make it resistant to rot and insects, but you can also treat it with a stain and sealer to prevent cracks or splinters.. Cons: Good things don’t come cheap—the most expensive of all the options, aluminum comes in at an average of $11 per square foot, with some companies going even higher than that.

Choosing grooved or smooth deckboards – By far the majority of timber decks, boardwalks and piers built around the world are surfaced with plain timber boards.. Q-Grip deck boards are most effective in providing slip resistance when they are placed at an angle perpendicular (at right angles to) to the direction of pedestrian traffic (like that of a boardwalk).. (ii) Deck boards parallel to pedestrian traffic.A way of minimising the distance between the aggregate strips that provide the enhanced grip is to consider the use of new Q-Grip Strips™ and Q-Deck York/Q-Deck Canterbury deckboards or Q-Deck Lunawood hidden fix.. Note: Q-Deck components are preservative pretreated to different levels of protection to the meet the requirements of industry standards.. Use Classes are defined by British and European Standards, providing a guide to the risk of decay or insect attack to timber components, depending upon their end use.. The higher the Use Class, the higher the level of preservative protection is required.. 3 External building, fencing and landscaping timbers used out of ground contact.. If Use Class 4 deck support posts are cut then the cut end should not be placed in the ground.. If you still decide to use non-Q-Deck products then it is advisable to ensure that they are treated to Use Class 3 requirements as a minimum or use Use Class 4 for components used in ground contact.

Tack the plywood to the top of the ledger, making sure it’s tight.. The easiest method for running deck joists, especially when you’re working alone, is to attach joist hangers to the ledger board before installing your joists.. Build this jig to make joist hanging simpler.. Hold the deck board tight against the post.. Build this jig to ensure correct baluster spacing.. Then cut the stringer where it butts into the second joist.. Cut the 2×12 stringers extra long and secure them to blocking between the joists or to the joists themselves if they run parallel to the stringers.. Set the board, bow in, and nail one end.. When the board is tight to your spacer, nail the board to the joist.. Set the square 2×10 cap material in the jig and cut the bevel on all four sides.. You can make perfect post caps for your deck trim just like this.. Build this jig to ensure accurate cutting for deck trim post caps.. Fool-Proof Wall Framing Tips for New Construction. Perfect Trim on Doors, Windows and Base Moldings. Trim Painting Tips

Meeting setbacks and getting building permits in Canada & US Deck specification - make sure the structure is strong enough Creating a solid base structure: cement pillars (Sonotubes), screw piles, floating deck blocks Wood selection - pressure treated or hemlock base, cedar or composite decking Durability strategies for a longer lifespan. So the first step when building a new deck, especially a raised deck, is to call your local authority or town hall to see what the limitations are, what the specifications required for building a new deck are, and what they will require from you to get a permit if needed.. Building code has very stringent minimum standards for the amount of weight a deck floor must be able to hold so there's no chance that the deck will collapse in normal use, and you can determine the size of the joists using a span table - often part of a local Municipalities deck building guidelines.. For best results, refer both to code and to deck material manufacturers own specifications - especially if specifying a composite decking material for the deck planking as some materials recommend closer spacing to ensure the load carrying your new deck will need without deflecting or warping over time.. Screw pile deck supports for deck construction © Postech If the term is unfamiliar, screw piles are metal posts that are screwed into the ground to a suitable depth and left there to support the structure when building a new deck.. Deck blocks in concrete that sit on the ground - they're fine for building a new deck if your ground is stable Concrete deck blocks are a fairly safe way to go about building a deck , though keeping them perfectly level may require a bit of maintenance over time if there is any movement.. Cedar deck and stairs under construction - natural wood makes a beautiful finish but will need maintenance The choices of deck materials for a raised deck surface basically splits into two groups - real wood or artificial composite wood deck planks or recycled plastic decking - and either choice of decking boards has advantages and disadvantages.. Membrane covering top of deck joists protects the structure of a new deck build from moisture © Ecohome 1) When Building the Deck Frame, Cover your Joists: As long as wood can dry, it's okay for it to get a bit wet on occasion.. Invisible deck fasteners make a neater job for fixing decking planks but aren't as solid and take more time 4) Under-mounted deck fasteners: this one requires a bit more effort - a lot of people who choose this method seem to do so for the clean look of boards with no screws, in doing so it alleviates the problem of water damage to the deck boards at screw holes.. Ultra low voc deck stain system keeps decks looking better longer and saves on air pollution and toxins 8) Choose Your Deck's Wood Grain Carefully: if you work with the growth rings of the wood facing up in a convex (rather than concave) direction, the grain will in theory repel water from the surface rather than create a cup that will withhold water.

If you’re building a new deck, do some research on composite deck brands to determine which style is right for you.. If you already have real wood decking, consider a composite deck upgrade.. Many people prefer the decking over real wood decking .. More often than not, composite decking boards are made from reclaimed wood and recycled plastic.. Composite decks are a cost-effective alternative to real wood decks.. They offer composite decking samples and online visuals to help you find that ideal match for your deck.. They make it easy to find the right composite decking for your backyard deck.. Wolf Decking manufacturers composite decking with a lifetime warranty.. Among wood decking manufacturers and consumers, the need for innovative and sustainable alternative decking materials has never been this strong.. The wood used in most composite decking is from recycled furniture and other wood materials.. Composite decking is easier to maintain than wood decking.. Composite wood and decking wood can be mixed.. A deck made with composite material will last longer than a natural wood deck.

Just a few years ago the only option was wood, which came in perhaps two or three species.. Today, there are dozens of different decking materials available, including composite lumber, plastic decking and hardwood imports.. PT decking also requires more maintenance than most other decking materials.. Composite and PVC decking are popular because they’re virtually maintenance free.. When compared with wood, composite, and plastic lumber, aluminum decking is three to four times lighter, yet two to three times stronger.. But aluminum is by far the most expensive of all decking options, typically costing about $10 per linear foot for a 1 x 6-­in.

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