Timber Decking Kits – How to Build the Wooden Joist Sub Frame

Patio timber decking has become increasingly popular in the 21st century garden. In line with this, a wide selection of patio timber decking kits are now available to buy online, direct from the manufacturers and without the need to pay top-dollar prices down at the high-street DIY chains.

These kits are designed specifically to be easy and straightforward for the average DIYer to construct. Indeed, provided you have the basic tools held by most households – battery drill, saw, and a tape measure – there is almost nothing stopping anybody building one of these off-the-shelf kits in just a couple of hours.

Once you have decided where your deck is to be constructed, and prepared the over-site (the ground area onto which the deck is to be constructed) you can begin constructing the joist subframe. Why construct a joist subframe? There are a number of reasons.

Firstly, and most obviously, the joist subframe provides the DIYer with a strong and structurally sound base onto which all decking joists are mounted.

Another key reason, and one often overlooked by the DIYer (and the cheaper decking kit suppliers, for that matter) is that only treated timber should come into contact with the ground. On this basis, a minimum of C16-grade timber is required. C16 is very popular in Britain, and widely specified by architects, builders and DIYers alike for use as decking joist timbers. The classification C16 basically determines how many defects the timber has (such as grain defects, knots, etc) across the length, width and depth of the timber.

If the deck is to be raised, you will most likely use raised posts to hold the decking subframe in the air. Support posts should be no further than 3 meters apart, and regular 2″ x 4″ joists should, as an absolute minimum, be supported by the use of 2″ x 6″ timbers.

To ensure that the area underneath the deck is free draining, boards should be laid down along the gradient (Rather than against it). Raised decking support timbers are fixed through the use of either metal post anchors or metal spikes. The post anchors are bolt-down shoes, into which the vertical support timbers are inserted. The metal spikes are, quite literally, 60cm spikes which are driven into the ground and which act as ‘anchors’, into which the vertical timber support posts are inserted. Remember that any deck surface which sits at or above 60cm above ground level will fail to meet planning regulations. If in doubt, consult your local planning authority.