A DIY decking project requires some level of skill with wood working but a simple, flat decked area, is within the reach of most people and will provide you with a multipurpose outdoor surface of high quality. You can construct your deck as a stand-alone feature to take advantage of the garden, make a seating area next to a summer house or extend your home’s floor space by installing a deck at the front or back of your property.
This look can be particularly effective when the decking is connected to the home by a set of sliding patio doors. More advanced wood workers will be able to add steps that connect the sense of internal space to a lower lawn area. The key is to make sure you have prepared adequately before starting with the decking itself.
Think about the space you want to deck and the overall design you want to achieve. Make a simple drawing of the area, including dimensions. Add any steps that you will want to include, if your ground is not flat. However, remember that raising your decking so that it is all on one level will be a lot easier to install. Consider how you will lay out your decking board. Will it all face in one direction or will you fix it down to create patterns? Once you have settled on a strong design stick to it as closely as possible as you work.
Prepare The Ground.
Make the ground that you are going to deck as flat as possible before you begin. A shovel and a wheelbarrow are essential tools for this, but don’t undertake any major earthworks that could make the ground slip. Pull out any weeds as you won’t want these coming through once the deck is laid. Lay some foundations by digging out some small squares that are about 12 inches across and 18 inches deep at regular intervals. Pour concrete into the squares and lay paving slab on top once it has dried. These slabs will create a stable base for the next stage of the project so check that they are flat and at the same height as one another with a spirit level.
Lay lumber over your paving slabs, connecting them, so that they run the entire length of the area to be decked. Use you lumber joists to form a box grid that will lie beneath the decking boards. Measure the lengths of lumber you will need to make the grid and saw them to the correct size in a workshop before transferring them to the decking area. The joists should be spaced no more 16 inches apart so they can sustain the weight that will be put on top of them. Use 16 inch spacer joists running at 90 degrees to the main ones to keep the main joists a consistent distance apart and nail them in place. This will add strength to the decking. Cover the entire area with your joist box grid. Make sure it sits flat on top of the paving slabs with a spirit level.
Once you have made a box grid that is sturdy enough you can proceed to lay the decking boards themselves. There are many different products to choose from. Select boards that have pre-made grooves that prevent you from slipping over when the deck is wet. Saw the decking to the correct lengths. For simplicity lay it all in one direction. But if you want to make a stylish end to the deck you will need to a miter saw to make 45 degree angles for the corners. Using a nail gun to fix the decking boards to the box grid beneath make this job pleasingly quick to accomplish.
Decking And Lighting.
If you want to install exterior light fittings within your decking, then remember to install your cabling before fixing the decking boards in place. Use a large wood drill bit to pop holes through the box grid so you can run the power cable through it. Once your decking board is in position, use a suitably sized wood drill bit to make a recess hole for the light fitting. For this reason, it is worth selecting light fittings that are round, since they are much easier to install.
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