You can do-it-yourself DIY : Building a timber or wooden deck is really not that hard if you keep it simple and apply common sense. If you know nothing about construction then the BEST advice is RESEARCH. There is nothing like research, have a good look around on the internet and bookstores. There are many articles that will help you understand the process of construction, and ask your timber decking supplier as many questions as needed.
It will help enable you to confidently construct a deck that functions well, is cost effective and durable, and above all have an end appearance that will astound your family and friends.
There are many important steps you will need to follow to design and build your own timber deck, here are but a few.
Location and Design
If possible you can locate your deck straight off your everyday living space, this will give the feeling of an easy following extension of the house. Remember that for a deck to be fully useable it needs to be a minimum of 2 metres in depth. You may even consider wrapping the deck area around the corner of your house, to another usable door entry such as the kitchen, laundry or bedroom.
Discuss your family requirements. For example the deck may need to be large enough to fit a 8 seater table with enough space to walk around chairs while people are seated. Have enough space for the kids to ride their bikes on. Be protected from North and West facing sun, protected from rain by incorporating a roof structure, or be partially roofed to extend the use of the decking area to all year round entertaining. Sunny in winter and shady in summer, as well decking substructure must be able to allow good air flow ventilation through and underneath. As far as privacy is concerned, keep in mind that you cannot locate your deck any closer than 1 metre from any side boundary fence. If you are thinking about having your deck on a side boundary, keep in mind privacy retention. Since your deck will not only be close to the fence but also higher; views into and from your neighbour’s space should be considered.
And the most important thing on the check list is to ask your Local Council if you require building permits. A council has a right to force you to change, alter or even remove your deck completely if you do not follow their guidelines, and it is not properly designed and constructed to within Australian Building Regulations.
And all ways consider before you start digging those stumps holes, are there any easements, plumbing pipes or electrical cables that might be in direct location to your hole.
Timber Decking Selection
These days there is a wide variety of choice from Timber to Composite Decking boards. Even to the methods they are fixed down in place, from top nailing, top screwing or no nail decking concealed fixing systems. Research has shown the past top nailing method to have long term damaging effects to the timber decking, where it splits the boards around the nail area and this creates an entry point for water to penetrate into the decking and start the rotting process. Along with this the nails work loose and start to pop up above the surface, creating a tripping problem for when the deck is being used by not only adults but children and our pets.
Top screwing fixing method for decking boards are a lot better than top nailing. If using Stainless Steel Screws, these have been designed for long lasting outdoor climatic conditions. When using this method you must ensure that your floor joists that you are fixing the decking boards to are absolutely straight, to give you the best chance to get the appearance of all those screws are in a straight line. This can be a very time consuming process.
The No Nail Decking System of secret fixings is quite the opposite, you don’t have the worry or if your joists are not truly straight, in fact your timber joists can be stepped side by side and you can still securely fix the decking boards in place without the worry of seeing unsightly staggering fixings on the top of your decking boards. For No Nail Deck Grips are fitted to the side edge of the decking and screwed in place using square drive Stainless Steel Screws for Timber fixing or square drive Galvanised Screws for Metal joist fixings, as well it incorporates using a commercial adhesive for extra holding power. This makes easy work for the DIY enthusiast and giving a truly professional appearance, to make this process even easier again Melbourne Company NONAILDECKING, supply Timber Decking Boards Pre Grooved in a range of Species such as Merbau, Keruing, Angelique Teak.
Another consideration is many homes in bushfire prone areas need to check and purchase decking boards that will adhere to Council Bushfire Prone Regulations, under the Australian Standards 3959. The above listed species have ratings between BAL 12.5, 19, and 29.
Composite decking some however may not be an option, due to its combustibility so once again do your research.
Painting or Sealing
All decking should be coated with a premium decking oil that will help protect it from the sun, rain, and attack by fungus. Timber and composite deckings are both subject to the natural elements and will need on going protection. With timber decking it is advisable to seal all four sides of the boards before laying commences, and another two coats after installation.