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Decking Tips

Decking continues to grow in popularity in Canada and The USA and we are here to provide top tips for homeowners thinking about building a deck:

1. Look out for a "certified" symbol of an independent quality assurance scheme for decking materials and installers – it is a sure sign of quality and professionalism.

2. Generally, planning permission is not required for decks. If unsure, it is always better to take advice from your local authority first.

3. The best timber decks are constructed from highly durable timber such as pressure-treated softwoods – some are also supplied already pre-treated with water repellent to improve their performance even more. Always check this, otherwise you may want to apply a coating of clear water repellent to help your deck shrug off water.

4. Ground level timber decks are relatively straightforward for a competent deck DIY-er to construct. However, for more elaborate, raised level decks it is recommended that you seek advice and help from a professional installer, qualified to do the job.

5. Have the correct, good quality tools if you intend to g: a power saw which will cut at least 90mm thick timbers (this can be hired); a good quality spirit level – the longer the better; power drill/screwdriver; carpenter’s saw and hammer; safety glasses; ear defenders; protective footwear; work gloves.

6. Do not lay your deck directly on to grass. Remove turf, cover ground with ‘ground paper’ or black polythene (or another suitable membrane) and gravel to prevent weeds from growing underneath.

7. If using a specialist installer to build a deck make sure that both his work and the materials are covered by a long-term warranty backed by an independent insurance company.

8. The most difficult and important job when creating a deck is the supporting framework of posts and joists which should be rigid with a slight slope away to aid surface water run off.

9. Lay the actual timber decking with a gap of 6mm between each board providing ventilation and room for expansion and contraction of the boards over the seasons – wood is afterall a natural product.

10. Brush all cut ends, notches or large drill holes with an end grain preservative to maintain the integrity of the pressure treatment. Any long-term warranty given on the wood will be lost if you do not do this.