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|Tool List || ||Safety equipment |
To help you get everything you need a project shopping list is on the back page of this leaflet, you’ll find advice on calculating material quantities throughout, too.
Buy the timber components about a week before you build the deck to give it a chance to adjust to the temperature outside. Store it close to where it will be used, stacked on level ground on timber bearers, and cover to keep dry.
The key to a successful deck is in the planning. First decide on the location: do you want a sunny or shaded location and is privacy a requirement? How big does the deck need to be? Do you want to add interest to the deck with pergola components or combine decking components with paving? Is the site level or will part of the deck have to be supported on timbers set into concrete. See Fig.1 to get an idea of just some of the components we sell – and how they can be used together.
It is essential to plan your deck to scale on paper. Be as accurate as possible with measurements and bear in mind that it is the deck boarding that basically governs the size of the deck. Designing a deck carefully will limit cutting, and board or bearer wastage. For any deck, you will need to work on the board widths at 140mm plus 5mm gaps in between. The table one the right will help you calculate your deck’s proportions.
*This is the key deck square, which has been sized to allow the other modules to interlink, creating numerous deck designs.
Basic carpentry skills are enough for building a basic deck; raised decks need careful planning and more experience.
1. Measure out the deck Following your plan drawing, measure and mark out the deck area, using pegs and a string line. If you are constructing a deck on level ground, further marking out should not be needed, as the bearers can be laid out in the positions where they will be used.
2. Level the ground If the ground is slightly uneven, level it off, working in a 1:80 fall for drainage, and make sure that it is firm. If laying the deck over lawn or weeds, remove them, and cover the ground with Wickes Landscaping Fabric to prevent future growth under the deck.
3. Add pea shingle If the ground is soggy or likely to become so in wet periods, spread pea shingle over the landscape fabric to a depth of about 25mm. Your bearer frame will bed down on to the shingle and will, to a large extent, be kept off almost permanently wet ground.
Plan the deck so that it slopes very slightly (a 1:80 fall is sufficient), and use fluted deck boards that run in the direction of the slope; this will aid rainwater run-off, meaning the deck is less slippery and less prone to algae build-up
The basic deck support bearer layout will change with the varying deck board patterns - see Fig. 3
1. Lay out the outer deck frame Mark, cut and lay out the outer frame first using 80 x 80mm bearers. Ensure the frame rests flat and is totally supported. If you find hollows under the frame or areas where it is held off the ground, adjust the ground level to prevent the deck being springy. As you work, treat every cut end with Wickes Decking Preserver.
2. Fix the deck frame Clamp then join the frame at each corner using two external grade 150mm (6in) screws. As you proceed, use a spirit level to make sure the frame remains flat. Its corners should be square, too, and you can check this by measuring the frame’s diagonals; they should be equal.
3. Fit intermediate bearers Now mark, cut and fit the intermediate bearers, remembering the maximum 500mm spacing limit, and checking they are flat with a spirit level. If longer bearers are needed, these can be clamped then joined together by screwing together off cuts with 150mm (6") timber drive screws.
When fixing your deckboard to the frame, use decking screws as they can easily be removed without damaging the wood. Clamping timbers together before screwing stops them moving out of alignment during the fixing operation. Don’t just use preserver on cut ends – use it in drill holes to help prolong the deck’s life, too.
With the basic deck support bearer frame complete, you can begin to lay deck boards.
With the basic deck support bearer frame complete, you can begin to lay deck boards. The different deck board layouts shown in Fig. 3 from chevron to diagonal, are created using 140mm wide boards and 80 x 80mm bearers. Plan your layout before assembling your bearers, as the pattern will affect the spacing and number of bearers. For example, double bearers will be needed for some chevron styles see Fig. 4.
1. Check the deck board layout Loose-lay boards initially to determine what the gaps will actually need to be – the variations in timber mean you should not stick rigidly to fixing the first board,measuring or using a 5mm spacer,then fixing the next board and so on.
2. Secure the deck boards Once you are happy with the layout and spacing of the deck boards, fit and secure them to the bearers with 65mm (no.8 x 2½") decking screws, using two screws per board to each and every bearer to avoid cupping. Locate the screws about 15mm in from the edge of each board and in a hollow, see Fig. 5 over-sized and trimmed later,Fig. 6.
3. Cut curved edges If you want to create a curved edge, bear in mind that the unsupported decking cannot be more than 150mm away from a bearer. Mark out curves using a string line in an arc or with a piece of timber fixed to create an arc see Fig. 7.
4. Edge the deck Add deck boards around the edges to frame the deck and finish it neatly see Fig. 8
Gaps between decking boards should be at least 5mm to allow for expansion and for rainwater to drain through freely – cut a piece of timber to 5mm and use between boards for a consistent gap (Wickes flooring spacers do the same job).
If you are joining two cut deck boards together in a long run, screw them down at an angle 10mm from the end of each board to securely fix them to the joist beneath.
If the deck is going over a sloping or uneven site, you may need to build a partly or fully-raised deck.
Construct the frame or frames using 150mm stress-graded joists and 150mm (6") timber drive screws to join the timbers together.
1. Construct the frame It is easiest if you make up the outer deck bearer frame first (see page 2) and then use temporary legs to support it in position.
2. Check the frame When the deck bearer frame is in the correct position and you have checked that it is level, dig out the post holes.
3. Position post holes Post holes should be at the corners of the frame and at a maximum of 1200mm centres. Most will need to be 700mm deep although this does depend on your soil type. Use half a medium density block at the base of the hole and position the post ensuring that it is truly vertical with a spirit level. See Fig. 12.
4. Set the posts in position Don’t cut the posts to the desired length on an uneven site. It is easier to set over-long posts in place first, ready to be trimmed to the right height once the framing joists are attached and double-checked.
5. Secure the posts to the frame Use coach bolts or screws to secure the deck bearer frame to the posts, working to a 1:80 fall to encourage rainwater drain off, and pour Postcrete or a concrete mix into the post holes, checking that the posts remain truly vertical. Ensure that the mix sits proud of the soil and that it slopes away from the timber post on all four sides. This will help with rainwater run-off to prolong the life of the wood. When the mix has cured, remove the temporary legs or you could use Erecta plates.
6. Position intermediate joists Set the intermediate joists with maximum centres of 400mm. Depending on the size of the deck, intermediate post supports may also be required on the intermediate joists to reduce any movement on the deck surface. See Fig. 13.
Drill a pilot hole before screwing down boards, it avoids splitting the board. Using self-countersinking decking screws will save time and result in a better finish.
Adding a pair of pre-made step risers is the simple way to create steps for your deck. If the steps are wider than 500mm, they will require additional support timbers.
1. Cut the treads With the width decided, cut two lengths of deck board to fit between the two risers and secure these with 150mm (6") timber drive screws, making a pilot hole first. See Fig. 14.
2. Fix the steps to the deck Attach the risers to the deck frame with 65mm (no.8 x 2½") decking screws. Fit deck boards to create steps. If required, you can also fit deck boards at the back of the step – see Fig. 14.
As you work, collect timber off-cuts which you can use as deck strengtheners.
Handrails and spindles should always be fitted to raised decks for safety.
4. Fit square spindles If you are using square spindles, fix them to the bearer and handrail with 65mm (no.8 x 2½") decking screws. The spindles should be spaced so that a 100mm sphere cannot be passed through the gaps see Fig. 16.
5. Fit shaped spindles For shaped spindles, use a handrail as the base rail and assemble the spindle, base and handrail before positioning them between the newel posts, as shown in Fig. 16. Drive 65mm (no.8 x 2½") decking screws through the base rail into the centre of the spindles and, at the top, drive the screws into the handrail at an angle.
6. Attach to the steps Fit the newel post, handrail and spindles to the steps as shown in Fig. 17.
For decking posts that will be out of view, trimming the top at an angle will help water to run off and preserve the post.
Plan your pergola on your deck layout first. The same pergola components can be used to build a freestanding feature or build a canopy off the house wall, too.
1. Decide on the pergola’s position Position and connect the pergola posts as shown in Fig. 18. Corner posts are located slightly differently to intermediate posts but they all need housing cut out to enable the posts to overlap the deck by 21mm wherever balustrading is to be added.
Overlap is essential if you are using balustrading because handrails are connected to the posts in some cases and to newel posts in others, and they need to be aligned. The 21mm cut-out is duplicated on the newel posts, while the square spindles are fitted directly to the outside face of the deck bearers. See Fig. 16 for newel posts, spindle location and fixings.
Spindles must be spaced so that a 100mm sphere cannot be passed through the gaps.
2. Secure the pergola If your pergola requires a vertical support part of the way across a deck, locate this before any others that have to be in line with it. Remove deck boards to locate a frame bearer. Secure the post to the bearer using two 160mm exterior coach bolts. Ensure it extends into a hole in the ground and is concreted in place, as in step 3 (below). Remove a section from the deck boarding to fit around the post.
3. Fix the posts Concrete the posts into the ground adjacent to the deck, or secure them firmly to the deck frame posts. Don’t cut them off at deck base level as they won’t be stable. For a pergola on a raised deck, ensure that the pergola uprights are firmly attached to the deck frame. Use additional timbers if necessary. All posts must be set vertically.
4. Complete the pergola Construct the top of the pergola using one of the options shown in Fig. 19.
To keep your deck in the best condition, annually treat all surfaces of the deck with either a Decking Preserver or Stain. Pay particular attention to any end grains, finials and spindles and make sure you coat all sides of the deck. Patio & Decking Cleaner will remove any growth of moss or algae from the boards.
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