How to Build a Deck
There are many things you can do around the house to make more use of the space you have. For example, what about decking? You’ve probably seen decks in the garden or yards of friends and neighbours, and not only do they look great, but they also make the space a lot more usable. You can add lights, perhaps a wood burner, and use your deck in the evenings. There are also very efficient patio heaters for the colder months.
The trick to getting decking right lies in not only picking the right spot, but in doing the job correctly. It’s not the most difficult job – if you are competent at DIY and have tackled larger projects before, you should be able to tackle a decking project – but it does require a certain level of attention to detail and preparation.
The Right Tools
First, as you are laying decking, you are going to be cutting joists and decking boards (these are readily available at hardware suppliers, so check them out for the best advice) and to do so you will need a variety of saws. In fact, you will likely get away with a circular saw, for cutting the lengths, and a jigsaw for any detail sections you may need to deal with.
You will also need a drill and screwdriver, a tape measure, a level, and a mallet or hammer to make sure you can place those difficult lengths! These are the very basic tools for laying a simple, ground-level deck with no complicated additions. You may also wish to have handy a sander for smoothing out rough edges.
So, with your tools to hand, how do you begin?
Preparing the Space
You have probably already earmarked the space in which you want to lay your decking. If this is your first DIY job, we have a couple of words of caution: keep it simple, and keep it small! The bigger the area of decking you wish to lay, the more complex things become. Once you have selected the area you want to deck, you need to clear it of any large stones and other obstructions, and level it as best you can.
The levelling of the area can be a chore, but it is essential. It is strongly recommended that – as with all aspects of building a deck – you enlist the help of a friend or family member who also has some experience of DIY, as there are some jobs that can only be done with two people. Marking out, using a line and a spirit level, is one of them, and it is also much quicker with four hands instead of two!
Cutting and Laying
You need to prepare a framework; this is done by cutting to length and joining your joists. Plan it on paper in advance, and cut your pieces – mark each one for placement – plus use strong screws to hold the joists together. Once you have done this, you have what is effectively a large frame onto which you screw the boards. We recommend you measure out the decking boards, cut them a little longer than necessary – you can always trim them later – and you should find this final stage to be the easiest part of the process.
Of course, you may be a DIY enthusiast who has never tackled a job of this nature before. If this is the case, you may be better off looking for a professional service provider to build your deck – I can highly recommend Corell Timber; it’s not as expensive as you may believe, and you will get a very neat and attractive result. If you do think you can handle it, check out all the advice you can – and have fun building your deck!