Decking has witnessed increased interest from the home DIYer of late, due in part to it's reliably low cost and simple instruction. A well designed deck can provide your garden with a thoroughly practical, usable space, which is both easy on the wallet and aesthetically pleasing.
The process for constructing a garden deck is actually quite straightforward. In fact, almost any home DIYer or practically-minded individual should be able to construct a basic patio deck with just a few hand tools and a set of instructions.
The process begins with the preparation of the floor space within the garden where you wish the deck to be constructed. The first job is usually to remove unwanted plant life and weeds, plus and rocks or other obstructive elements found on or near the surface.
The next step in constructing the garden deck us to lie down a weed membrane fabric to help stop plant life growing from underneath the deck once it has been completed. Use steel ground hooks to secure it.
Now we'll look at sourcing the timbers for your deck kit. One must always ensure that ethically sourced timbers are used wherever possible. There are a huge number of ethically-managed forests out there, so check with your supplier before purchasing. Most deck boards are constructed from softwood – Scandinavian Pine in the major of cases – although some are made from Balau Hardwood. Board widths tend to vary a little between suppliers, most are between 9cm and 15cm, with 12cm being the most common. Many are grooved on both sides, giving the DIYer the choice of either 4 or 7 grooves, sometimes more. The grooves are important, as they will provide much-needed grip in wet weather.
Once the timber has been sourced, we may begin the construction process by assembling the joist frame. C16 grade timbers are most common, and are used in conjunction with metal post anchors in a lot of cases. With the subframe timbers in place, fixing them together will create a solid, long lasting base onto which the actual deck boards may be fixed. In many cases it is wise to allow around 0.6cm between each of the boards so that the wood can expand and contract according to the prevailing weather conditions.
If you wish to install a handrail, you'll probably wish to use either metal spikes or a bolt down metal brace to hold the vertical posts (called Newels) in place. The overall cost may increase through the use of a handrail system, but the aesthetic value added is immense – they really do look the part. There are a number of cheap decking supplies in the UK, although not all can cater for this type of deck.
Similarly, you may wish to raise the deck above ground, depending on the ground underneath. For sloping landscapes, a raised timber deck kit will help create a flat, usable and easy-on-the-eye solution to uneven ground. It will also do this at a far lower cost than many alternatives such as block paving.
Finally, with the deck complete, be sure to treat all the deck boards with a high quality stain (Sadolin is a very good product). You will also need to oil the deck on a regular basis, particularly any sawn ends, to prevent rot.