Build Your Own Deck

Ever fancied learning how to build a garden deck? We'll tell you everything you need to know - check out our guide below.

Step 1: Building the frame


Prepare the area where the decking is being fitted. If fitting the decking over soil or grass always use a membrane to prevent weed growing through at a later date. Build the frame of the decking by making the outer area first. Nail or screw this like so:


Step 2: Joists & Noggins


Once the outter edges of the frame are made, add the joists and noggins.

  • The joists are the main body of the frames and usually take the main weight of the deck. Never use less than 75mm x 50mm for decking as it's usually not strong enough to support the boards.
  • The noggins are the smaller sections which run across and stiffen the frames up. Cut the noggins all the same size - so when putting the joists into the frame they will all be the same distance.

Framing tip:

When making the frames always use a minimum of two nails or screws which will stop the timber twisting. Another option would be to use 'L'-brackets for corners and joists.

2a.pngUsing 'L'-brackets to join the corners
2b.pngUsing 2 nails or screws will help stop the timber twisting
2c.pngRather than just nailing or screwing through the timber frame, you can support the joists by using joist hangers which can be nailed on very easily.

Step 3: Setting the height


If you're having your deck raised off the ground, you'll need to add either some posts, bricks or blocks to provide the extra height. Here we are using treated timber 4" x 4" posts, which we've concreted into the ground.

Top tip!

When constructing a raised deck, sometimes it's easier to lift the deck to the correct height with temporary timber legs, adding the larger post when you have decided on the exact height and position.

Plan ahead

Try and think about how the decking boards will look when finished. If the frame and the posts are not flush and level the boards will not sit flat.

Posts tip

Rather than using concrete to support the posts, metal shoes can be used to support the posts in the ground. This is sometimes easier than using concrete.

Step 4: Adding Newel Posts

This needs to be done before the decking. The newel posts need to be notched out around the joists and bolted with two coach bolts.

Step 5: Adding the decking boards

When it's time to put the decking boards on, make sure that you take time to look how the deck boards will finish on the edges.

Try putting a couple of boards on and offer up the fascia board to see how it will look. You may need to think this through first, before you start laying the boards. Always use two screws to secure the boards and stop the decking from 'cupping.' Decking can shrink after fitting so be careful not to leave large gaps between the boards as this will get larger as the boards dry out. 2mm is usually the maximum gap needed.

Step 6: Finishing the decking boards

When newel posts have been fixed to the frame, take extra care to get the finish of the boards correct. This will mean cutting around the newel post and slotting the deck board over to create a neat finish.

Step 7: Handrails

This is usually the most time consuming and costly part of the job. Make it easy for yourself by pre-assembling the handrail sections on a nice flat area. Once the sections are made up you can fix the sections to the newel posts with l-brackets or clips. There are two techniques when making handrail sections:

Spindle fixing:

Spindles are usually spaced 120mm apart. Mark the handrail at every 120mm with a pencil mark and nail from the top it will make it a lot easier to construct. Turn the base upside-down and do the same again. This will reduce the need for fillet to be used in the base-rail.

Traditional fixing:

Using a base-rail with a fillet is the traditional way of fitting spindles, but can be more awkward and time consuming than other new techniques.

Step 8: Finishing Touches

The finishing of the deck is important! Make sure that screws and nails are buried properly, bolts fastened and handrails secured. It's also worth sanding down any areas that will be regularly touched with your hands such as handrails and stairs. It's also important to keep upto date with treatment. Remember that timber needs protection from the elements to keep it looking good all year round.

Download this guide as a printable PDF




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