If you have a free weekend and some handyman abilities, a good project to sink your teeth into could be installing a deck in your garden. Here’s what you need to know.
Design the Deck
When it comes to installing a deck, the first step is to actually design your deck. Think about how big it will be, where it will be located, and what timber you want to use. This will influence how much material you need, and how many supports you’ll need. Treated pine is very common, especially for the structural components but you can use other timbers such as merbau, Jarrah, and so on. You can even use timber composite decking if you wish. Steel supports are also becoming increasingly popular. Also make sure that you run your plans past your local council so that you can get any approvals that may be required.
The Layout and Installing the Deck
Once you have council approval and you have all the necessary materials, the next step is to begin building the deck! Start by laying out the deck plan on the soil. Use spray paint to mark the position of all holes that need to be dug, and so on. Begin by installing the ledger board to the house. This board helps to support decks that are attached to houses. The next step is to place special markers at the corners of each deck. Run string lines from the ledger board to the markers. Check to make sure that they are perfectly square and level.
You can then begin digging the post holes for your deck posts (the main supports). You can use a shovel but an auger may be better. Fill the holes with quick set concrete, and install post supports. Once the concrete has set, attach your posts to the post supports using bolts. Ensure that the tops of the deck posts are level by marking them with a string line and cutting off any excess. You can then lay the bearers for the deck. You do this by laying them so that the curved side is facing up. The curved side up is important as the weight of the deck will flatten out the curve and it will sit flat. If you put the curved side down, the deck can sag. They should be level and come up to the bottom of the ledger board. Affix the bearers to the deck posts with nails and bolts.
The next step is to lay the joists on top of the bearers. These should be spaced 450mm apart and be laid with the curved side up, so that they flatten out over time and not sag. Use joist hangers on the ledger board, and on the other side, use rim joists around the perimeter of the deck. To nail the joists to the bearers, use galvanised hanger nails. Make sure that the joist slides into the hanger and butts up against the ledger board before nailing. Nail on both sides. Exposed joist ends should be covered by a length of joist material nailed or screwed in place.
Lay the Decking Boards
You can then lay the decking boards on the joists. Always lay the boards smooth side up, with the ridges on the bottom. This is so water can drain away from the joists and bearers not sit there and rot. Nail the boards in place using hot dipped galvanised nails, or by screwing them in place. Remember to space the boards evenly. You can make this easy by using something as a spacer. Once all your decking boards are laid, use a chalk line to mark a straight line and cut the overhanging parts off. With the decking boards laid, you can add a handrail of your choice if you wish.
If you need help or advice, a local decking
professional will be happy to help you install a deck.