Decking is a beautiful addition to any home. Adding value to a property, creating practicality outdoors, and offering a place to relax or entertain guests are just a few of the benefits they bring.
If you like the idea of expanding your home outwards with minimal cost and fuss, then decking is your best bet. With just some basic DIY skills and the right products to hand, you could be well on your way to transforming the outside of your home.
So, for some helpful guidance and tips along the way, continue reading on. Here’s how to create a long-lasting and practical deck for you, your friends, and family to enjoy.
1. Choose a suitable decking material
Choosing a decking material the first and most important decision you’ll make when building a deck. They each have their own aesthetic appeal, maintenance requirements, and other important consideration to keep in mind when choosing. At the end of the day, it comes down to what’s right for you, based on personal and practical tastes.
Here are the most popular material options to choose from and why:
- Pressure-treated wood – Among the various types of wood decking, pressure-treated wood is the most common. It’s treated with chemicals that contains insecticide and anti-rot properties which helps to enhance its natural durability. Pressure-treated wood is also easy to find, cut, and work with. However, compared to composite and hardwood decking, the most important differences involve the splitting, warping and cracking tendencies of pressure-treated wood. Pressure-treated wood also requires regular maintenance.
- Cedar decking – Commonly regarded and a higher-quality material than pressure-treated wood, cedar gradually weathers into a soft grey tone through the years. It’s a lightweight option that’s easy to work with as well, making it great for DIY projects. It contains natural tannings for resistance against decay, infection, and rot. As with pressure-treated wood, cedar will require a fair amount of regular maintenance. It’s more expensive than previous option too, but you pay for the extra quality - so expect cedar to outperform pressure-treated wood.
- Composite decking – There are many types of composite decking, as “composite” refers to different materials combined to make a new finished product”. But you’ll often find that it’s low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and wood used to create composite decking. The great thing about composite decking materials is that the plastic material provides another level of durability to the wood. It becomes extremely scratch resistant, as well as protected against chips, warping, and splitting. Composite decking is also very low-maintenance – something that traditional wooden decking doesn’t provide. With minimal care, you’ll notice your composite decking remains in top shape for much longer.
2. Gather the appropriate tools
Once you have chosen a material to erect your decking with, gathering tools to make your project as plain sailing as possible is key. You’ll need tools to help you layout and measure materials, cut, fasten, and shape your decking. Essential tools for this job include:
- Tape measure – You can’t avoid the use of a tape measure in any construction project, and building a deck is no different. By accurately marking your boards for cutting, you’ll ensure a neat and professional deck that fits properly. So be sure to measure and mark your boards before diving straight in. Remember, measure twice, cut once!
- Chalk line – A chalk line is another must-have for building a deck. It will serve as a guide when cutting your boards so that you get the straightest edge possible. When it comes to using, lift directly towards the sky and not at an angle for an accurate marking.
- Carpenter’s level – After taking the time and effort to measure, mark, and cut your boards accurately, the last thing you want is an uneven deck. Upon laying, use a carpenter’s level to avoid any sloping to one side.
- Circular saw – A circular saw should be the tool used most during your decking project. It’ll do most of the cutting (and a lot of it) so be sure to wear eye protection when doing so. As an added tip, cut the boards just an inch longer than you need. You can then use a handheld circular saw to cut the ends of the boards at once for a perfect edge.
- Hand saw – Whilst your circular saw will do most of the cutting, there are times a simple hand saw will do the job. Particularly useful for detailed cuts around the stairs, a hand saw is easy to use and a great alternative if you haven’t got many boards to cut.
- Power drill – Having a power drill makes screwing down your deck a lot easier and quicker. You can’t really go without one.
3. Don’t underestimate the importance of screws and fixings
When it comes to securing your deck boards, selecting the right hardware is essential. Not all screws are equal!
You’ll want something that holds down each board and is either countersunk or screwed in the groove so it cannot be seen unless you have a closer look.
As well as this, using screws with a high corrosion resistance are paramount to a long-lasting deck. This will help to prevent the screw from rusting and causing any unwanted damage to your deck boards.
At Birkdale, we supply a choice of Power Pro and Premium decking screws from our SITEMATE range that guarantee maximum power, speed, and efficiency for your project. With our Premium decking screw utilising special thread geometry, a cutter point tip for quick insertion, and a ribbed double countersinking head, you’ll find no better screw for the job. Oh, and you’ll receive a compatible power drill bit included whilst our promotion lasts!
4. Explore lighting for a practical finish
No deck is complete without a touch of light. You want to use this space to hang out with friends and family at night, don’t you?
When night falls, the addition of deck lights will allow you to continue through what would otherwise be a dark, short evening.
From the use of spotlights, stair lights and rail lights, there’s a lot you can do to bring your deck to life at night – and all of this can be achieved through a simple ‘plug and play’ system with Ellumiere.
As a 12v garden lighting system, the Ellumiere range is simple and easy to use. Whether you’re a keen DIY-er, or professional landscaper, Ellumiere makes lighting outdoor spaces a breeze.
It features decking-specific lighting products which allow you to seamlessly integrate light into your newly built deck. The Deck Light Starter Kit comes with all the hardware you need to get things set-up too. So, plan your deck for the addition of Ellumiere lights and add a practical touch to your outside space.
For more information on decking hardware or accessories, contact our friendly team at Birkdale today. We’d be more than happy to answer any decking related questions you have and are standing by to assist where we can.
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