Decking in a garden can be a huge asset to your outdoor space. 
Timber decking is an affordable and effective way of adding valuable, usable space to your garden or yard. 
A deck can level out uneven surfaces making it more accessible, as well as covering unsightly, old, uneven surfaces and unneeded patios, path and bases. 
This article will give you some ideas to consider when planning your decking installation. 
The key to a successful decking installation is sufficient and accurate planning. 
Minutes spent at this stage can save hours in the installation stage and create better outcomes and finished product. 
You may also wish to consider if a concrete pad is required. 
Sketch It Out first 
So many people make the error of not planning or sketching out the deck or sub frame first. 
You also need to clear and prepare the ground for a decking installation. 
Safety First! 
It is best to tackle this with a friend. 
Always be sure to wear the right safety gear and keep health and safety at the forefront of your mind. 
Protective gear includes various types of gloves, safety goggles, a dust mask, ear plugs, knee pads and a tape measure. 
Questions to ask yourself include: 
Do you want to add decking to the sunniest patch in the garden? 
Do you want to create an area in the shade? 
Do you plan on using the deck for having a quiet breakfast in peace, or for entertaining the friends and family with drinks in the evening? 
The answers to these questions will help you decide where to install your decking. 
At the other end of the scale, you need to think about decking installation is privacy is needed. 
You could go for covered deck for alfresco dining. 
If you’re really pushing the boat out, do you need a solid base for a hot tub? 
As an outdoor room, decking may need space for an outside sofa and chairs, so the weight and position of these need to be considered. 
Finally, a ramp might be needed to make your spaces more accessible. 
Another big consideration is whether you are fixing your decking to an existing building or wall or not. 
Making a list of your requirements will save you time and effort in the long run. 
Preparation for Your Decking 
As there are many variables with decking, you need to be sure what type of decking installation you need. 
Each one will vary according to its location, position and size. 
Is it going to joined to your property? 
Are you going to need concrete pads? 
What type of soil do you have? Sandy? Chalky? Peaty? 
Is there sufficient privacy from neighbours, busy roads and so on. 
Water and Rainfall 
As our climate changes, there is more moisture in the atmosphere. 
You will need to consider this when thinking about the location of your decking … will water collate too much? Is there a water run off? 
Also consider the maintenance of the decking area … what is the distance from a water source such as a tap. 
Therefore, you will need to work this out first. 
If you’re at all unsure, then our team can help! 
We can advise as to the kit you might need for decking work. 
The list includes tape measure, builder’s line, club hammer, space, spirit level, quick drying concrete (if you need a concrete pad), brick trowel and gravel. 
Other items include decking joists, coach screws, combi drill, socket set, panel saw, different types of saws depending on the size of the decking area, pencil, decking end grain protector, sander, paintbrush, timber decking board, decking screws, and decking tape. 
The majority of timber decks are fixed to a timber subframe. 
Good preparation for the sub frame is key. 
Choose the right location for your subframe and decking. 
Clear away plants, rocks, weeds from this area. 
Check there are no cables or similar beneath the decking area. 
Measure, cut, mark and drill to size. 
Take time to completely level out the ground, ensuring it is compacted down, too. 
Frames can be constructed out of 100 x 50mm, 150 x 50mm, or 200 x 50mm timbers. 
A dry run at this stage is always a good idea. 
Pilot holes and a countersink bit are essential before decking screws are installed to prevent timber splitting, especially at the ends. 
Consider a combined countersink and pilot hole bit to save time and improve the finish of your deck. 
Beating the Bounce 
To avoid bounce, its preferable to use smaller timbers with plenty of vertical support legs, rather than larger timbers with fewer support legs. 
You could regret scrimping on the materials costs at this stage. 
Support frames can be cut to accommodate gutters, down pipes, drain covers etc, by installing noggins to box around the obstruction. 
Noggins are short lengths of timber which join the joists together, orientated the same direction as the decking boards, and although not essential, are particularly useful. 
Preservative For the Subframe 
Once the support frame is completed you may decide to apply a preservative to the timber to extend its life. 
Pro-tip – applying a dark coloured preservative will make it less noticeable when the deck boards are laid; dark coloured Creoseal is ideal for this as it is inexpensive and effective. 
Support posts should be located on something solid, which might be a concrete base or path for example. 
Where decking is to be installed over a previously grassed area, the grass should be excavated, and a suitable solid surface installed to support the deck. 
Efforts should be made to stop water being trapped against the frame and support posts; however, our support posts are 'Use Class 4', meaning they should have a 15-year usable life if you choose to install them into the ground. 
A good tip is to plan your decking project by using full width deck boards to avoid cuts. 
Where cuts are needed, plan on placing them where they will be less conspicuous and will encounter less footfall. 
The deck boards we stock are finished at a generous 32mm thickness, ensuring a quality feel underfoot. 
Ensure you take this into consideration when planning levels. 
Also, leave 10mm under any door sills to allow for tolerance when fitting and for seasonal timber expansion. 
When attaching a deck to the house, a wall plate must be fitted. 
The wall plate should be fixed with sufficient fixings every 600mm along its length and with a slight air gap behind it to avoid trapped water. 
Joist hangers should now be attached to support the joists, which should be fitted at 600mm centres (maximum) along the deck boards. 
Concrete support screws and Atlas bolts are ideal for this. 
Deck Board Spacing 
Deck boards should be spaced to allow for seasonal expansion. 
We recommend between 5mm and 8mm. 
Each deck board should cover 125mm with a board and a gap. 
Decking tape, also known as deck joist tape, is an affordable way to help protect your deck substructure. 
It should be installed onto the frame before the decking is laid, this, in addition to treating all cut ends and edges with a suitable end grain preservative will greatly improve the usable life of your new deck. 
Apply decking tape before painting the frame. 
Where you are covering soil with your decking, you should install weed suppression membrane and gravel to hold it in place and prevent weed growth from under your deck. 
Plan for where the decking boards will finish, allowing for facias, overhangs, and a slight fall to allow water to run off and away from the house. 
The Final Deck Board 
This will need to sit flush with the fascia board. 
Looking After Your Decking 
Although our high-quality Swedish redwood decking is pressure preservative treated, consider it a base treatment, ready for your choice of finish. 
Decking should be cleaned regularly and treated annually to keep it looking its best. 
A sweep, a rinse with hot soapy water, and a coat of decking oil should do the job. 
Heavily soiled decks may need to be cleaned using something purposefully designed for the task. Decking cleaner and restorer works well for removing algae and water stains, however, preventing this is easier than fixing it. 
The finished height of the deck should be 150mm below the damp proof course of the house and ensure you don’t cover any air bricks. 
Once your decking is installed, it’s a good idea to spend a little time treating it with a preservative. 
Decking oil is specifically designed for this purpose. 
Decorative and safety features such as newels, handrails, spindles, rope, and Deck lights should be planned for from early on and installed after the frame but before the deck boards are fitted. 
Avoid having items such as plant pots stood directly onto the surface of the deck. Items such as these can trap water, shortening the life of the decking. 
Installing decking is a relatively easy task to complete for the amateur DIY enthusiast, and even newbies will find it achievable with planning and a little patience. 
Decking Supplies, Flixton Sawmill near Scarborough 
We stock decking frameworks and decking tape. 
We also stock colonial and square spindles. 
We also have handrails and base rails and newel posts. 
And where would you be without decking screws? We stock these too. 
Let’s not forget timber treatments too. 
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