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WiZeR's Decking Project

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wizer

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**long post warnng**

ok I know this is slightly off topic but I have found no other forum to be as helpful and laid back as this. So I am going to use this thread to ask advice from the forum and also to log my progress (deathly slow I expect.)

I have never undertook anything like this before. Last year we completely overhauled our bathroom, it took about 3months (weekends mainly) and was real hard work. This was my biggest ever DIY project and imho it came out really well. This has given me the confidence to do the decking myself.

Over the past couple of months I have been trying to get my head around it all. I would like to get as much detail into my plans before the work commences. As time progresses I am getting more confident. The internet is a great place to learn the theory behind this sort of thing. I spend my working life in front of the internet so have had plenty of time to get a good idea of what products are out there.

Stage 1: Fencing Issues

My neighbour recently suggested extending the fence which divides our shared drive 8m longer to gain more storage area for the garden. This is good news for me as it means I have an area where eventually I can build a small workshop. This will be the first job to carry out as the new fenced off area will be the only place all that wood and the current garden furniture can be securely kept. I need to dig the post holes in the tarmac and run in the fence panels. Followed by installing a double gate at the end on my side and a single gate on the neighbours side. Also in the garden the fence on the other side fell down during the winter and is currently being held up by beer crates! Need to secure this properly before the deck is constructed. I hope to start this either next weekend or the weekend after.

Stage 2: Dig Out

The garden drops away slightly to a point then drops steeply down about 3ft. We want the deck to be at the current ground level. This means hiring a rotovator and digging down about 25cm's. A skip will need to be hired to take away the soil. I am hoping that once I go down 25cm's I can level the deck area without having to use posts. Hopefully I can rope in someone to help with this as I don't think my back will survive!


Stage 3: Framing

This is the most important thing to me. If I get this right the rest should be relatively easy. I have a great book from Black and Decker on decking construction and it prety much covers everything I 'think' I need to know. Yesterday I spent hours drawing out a plan (my maths is terrible). I think I have got my head around a lot of it. The hardest thing here is getting everything level, square and true. Very nervouse about that!

Stage 4: Railing

If I have understood thing correctly then the railing needs to be sorted out after framing. The railing will be very basic with steps leading onto the lawn in the middle. Not thought much more about this yet.

Stage 5: Lighting

Not much to say on this. I have chosen low voltage up lighters which will be placed around the edges of the deck. A friend of mine will install the electrics and I will run in the lights when I install the deck.

Stage 6: Decking

I still haven't decided on what deck to use. I would love to use IPE but think its going to be far too expensive. The next alternative would be Red Cedar which is lovely and a near cert. I deffinately don't want 'grooved' decking and would prefer not to use that stuff which is in all the sheds atm.


Stage 7: Treating

A Week or so after laying the deck I will finish it with some sort of oil that will retain it's colour. I am not keen on letting decking weather, this is just personal taste.


Stage 8: Rejoicing

Ahhh imagine the day when I can sit out on the deck that I built and admire the view with a cold beer! I hope it will be sometime THIS year....
 

wizer

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first question is:

What does the forum think of this product:

http://www.decksupply.co.uk/displayPage.asp?id=33

as the deck will be laid at a low level near to the ground I think this might be a whole lot easier than making concrete footings. Or do you think this product may not be stable enough?
 

OLD

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The footings provide a way to eliminate the effects of ground movement due to frost and ground heave the footing being below the frost line. Having the blocks mounted on gravel is to take any water away from the blocks if the ground conditions will allow free draining they should be ok
 

wizer

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thanks OLD, I think i'm going to use a combination of this product and paving slabs.


Ok, what about screws? They have a few products on that site, I have no idea if these are good products and if they are cost effective?

http://www.decksupply.co.uk/displayPage.asp?id=9

suggestions..?
 

tim

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I recommend this book highly for deck building. Irrespective of the US factor - terms and hardware/ timber not all being available in the UK it is still very useful and not just a bunch of pretty pics of decks.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos...8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/026-6047916-1740455

I looked at Decksupply when I was building my last deck and thought them to be pretty pricey. I got my Ipe through Travis Perkins - can't remember what I paid exactly but it was no more than £3.20 ex vat for 21 x145 smooth. Certainly a lot less than the £4.37 quoted by DS. I had to push TP hard to get them to get it but it is through one of their own companies, its just that the guys in the local offices don't know that!

Cheers

Tim
 

wizer

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Thanks tim. I need to get my rear end in gear and ring around for quotes.

I think the book I have is enough from a contruction point of view, my questions now are aimed at products and advice on best practice.

The good news is I have managed to get someone else to contruct the fence for me. This should save me some time and effort!
 

StevieB

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Hi Wizer,

Sorry, I am late to this thread but for what its worth... I installed a deck last year and indeed used the cedar decking from decksupply that you are considering. I did look at their concrete pads and special screws, hidden fastners and fancy brackets and came to the conclusion that it was all very nice but at a premium price (even their 2X4 was more expensive than the local jewsons).

Lets start with the footings. There are two main methods - either bed a post into the ground, or stand a post on a solid pad. I used 4x4 fence posts (hence pressure treated) and bedded them in concrete. ie dig a hole, dollop of concrete in the bottom, put the post in (upright if possible) dollop more concrete around it and let it set. You can either try to get the post dead square and the right height for the deck, or like me you can be lazy and just get it upright and square but make it overheight then trim to be flush with the bearers when you do them. The advantage of using a pad to sit the post on is that you have momement of the post if necessary, the downside of the pad is you have movement of the post :wink: It really depends on the size of your deck, how high above ground level its going to be and whether it will have lateral movement or not. I prefer to sink mine into the ground, just a personal preference.

The bearers I did with tannelised 2x4 and joist hangers. Hangers were used where two bearers met in a T-junction arrangement, for attaching to the posts I simply used 5" screws into the side of the post. Bearers are dead level, rigid and show no movement at all. Some of the decking books use 2x6, some use two layers of bearers, some use joists and bearers. All you really want is a level stable platform with support often enough to give your final decking timbers a good support (ie 300-400mm centres).

For fixings, I eventually used screws through the decking timbers themselves. I didnt want to, but the practicalities of the design coupled with its location left me little choice. I wanted to plug them (all of them!) but due to the fact I have several pipes and services running under the deck I may need access to I didnt in the end. To be honest it doesnt look too bad, although if you do a chalk line for your screw holes it will make it look neater. I did consider using the side tacking cleats that decksupply sell, but they didnt look as robust as a screw to me so I didnt.

With regard to the timber itself, the red cedar varies from a dark brown to an almost pinkish red. It is very light in weight and seems (to me at least) to mark very easily - stilettoes will be a no-no. It does discolour fairly quickly (weeks rather than months) but smells gorgeous when cut. I would recommend going to the showroom if you can and asking to see a sample. I went for the cedardeck clear and was glad I did, gives a much nicer finish than the knotted stuff I feel. Just remember in the pictures they show however, that the uniform colour is almost certianly a stain. You will get quite alot of variation in the timber you have delivered.

Best of luck with it, if I can find them I will try and post some pics of the deck I did to give you an idea of what it looks like.

Cheers,

Steve.
 

cambournepete

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WiZeR":2gwqewcz said:
first question is:

What does the forum think of this product:

http://www.decksupply.co.uk/displayPage.asp?id=33

as the deck will be laid at a low level near to the ground I think this might be a whole lot easier than making concrete footings. Or do you think this product may not be stable enough?
My worries with these would be how to abut the decking against an existing feature (e.g. fence, raised bed) and how to hide them at the front of the deck given that they are 12"x12".
An interesting idea though, just a shame there's no edge or corner versions that don't stick out so far.

FWIW, I'm going to be building some decking this summer with a pergola bit at the back and I'm intending to stand the uprights on concrete slabs to spread the load over my clay. It's going to be next to a pond so I want to keep the wood above water level.

Pete
 

wizer

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I think I am going to use a combination of Concrete slabs at the rear of the deck and dug out concrete footings at the front.

Can I ask some advise on screws? I have seen the folowing product on screwfix: http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/cat ... 2&ts=15749

Is this the best/most cost effective product to use? Can I use these screws when building the frame? or will I need something else? Shall I just get the longest (85mm)?

I also need to ring around for decking quotes, and quotes for structural timber.... :?
 

wizer

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Actually although these are marked Decking Screws, I notice that the screw thread does not go right up to the head. I thought that this was a bad thing as over time the board starts to 'bounce' and rub against the non-threaded section of the screw. Causing 'bounce and 'squeek'?

Am I on the wrong tracks?
 

tim

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Go for the decktite ones not the others. It depends where on the frame that you intend using them. I join timber to posts with stainless coach bolts and use joist hangers for joists, toenailing the tops with galv ringshank nails.

Just seen your squeak question. You need to drill a clearance hole in the top board and a pilot hole (if required) in the bottom piece. If you screw down tight then there will be no gaps and no squeak. If the thread goes right to the head then the two boards will often not meet tightly.


Cheers

Tim
 

wizer

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Thanks Tim, that's helped alot.
 

Shady

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Yup, just to reinforce Tim's point, screws of that type will actually 'draw' the 2 pieces being fixed together - in effect, they actually apply clamping pressure as you screw them home. This does depend on getting the right size - the unthreaded part of the shank should be the same length as the thickness of your decking members. Screws that are threaded 'all the way up' do not draw things together, and so you need to be careful to clamp everything down before using them. FWIW, on a big job with loads of screws, I'd definitely go for the screwfix offering on both price and speed of assembly.
 

wizer

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Morning all. Made some good progress on Stage 1 over the weekend. Back breaking work using a SDS drill breaking through tarmac and rubble. In the end we were scooping out a mixture of mud and rocks with kitchen spoons! Managed to get the fence up with no real problems. The gate at the front is a little ramshackle for now as I am intending to install double gates. Still have the neighbours gate to do which I will complete next weekend.

With the fence up and the gate installed I could clear everything out of the garden. During the week after work I will cut the grass and maybe begin digging out the soil.

No Pics atm, the digicam is poorly :cry:

Good Weekend!
 

tim

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Wizer":2ulh1mfo said:
In the end we were scooping out a mixture of mud and rocks with kitchen spoons!
Why?

Do not, repeat, NOT forget to put a plant barrier membrane down under the frame! Unless you think chopping down thistles as they come through the deck is a good thing.

Cheers

Tim
 

wizer

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We were using garden trowels to dig out the holes but it was awkward to get the trowel in and scoop out the muck. Spoons were small enough to get in the hole and lever out the rubble and bits of stone. It was only for the last few inches and worked very well.

I was very suprised how easy the actual fence installation was. Everything stayed level even tho it was a very windy day. Cutting down the end panel went fine also. The circular saw made a nice neat cut and I tacked the trim back on no probs.

Strangely I enjoyed it, even tho I was as stiff as a board this morning!

As for the weed membrane under the deck, I had planned for this. Once I get all the soil level I will put this down.
 

wizer

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sorry guys, i am trying to get my head around these sums and my maths is terrible.

I need to work out the amount of deck that I need in Length. The deck boards are 19mm wide and the area to be covered is 1080cmx330cm I would like a 5mm gap between boards.

I know this is staring me in the face but I keep coming up with the wrong thing.

Could someone give me a helping hand? :oops:
 

tim

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Wizer":35171re4 said:
The deck boards are 19mm wide
That could be the source of your error!

Try this link:

http://www.decksupply.co.uk/displaypage.asp?id=87

Its a decking calculator. FYI your decking area is 35.64m2 if your dimensions are correct ie 10.8m x 3.3m.

According to them if you use a 90mm wide board then you need 11 linear meters per square meter ie a total of 392m (450m)

or if using a wider board eg 140 then you need 7 linear meters/ sq m ie total of 250m (287.5m)
.
Figures in brackets are including 15% extra as they recommend.

Hope this helps. I didn't see what gap they were basing it on.

Cheers

T
 

wizer

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doh, thanks tim it was 90mm i meant.

I am still not absolutely clear on the maths, but your calculations seem to make sense.

Thanks again
 

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