Monthly Archives: April 2011

Building decking – part six

Next job is to build the steps.  Instead of building stringers and suspending the steps from them, we chose to make two stacked “boxes”.  Most of the effort and difficulty in this was getting the ground level and at the correct height – lots of sand, effort and a few bags of concrete later, we got the first box section in (approximately) the right place.

Then we added the second step…


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Building decking – part five

After building the first section of deck, we had to do it all again on the second section.  Used a slightly different approach of making the frame first, then moving it in to place – then adding the remaining joists and noggins.  This worked well with the smaller section of deck.

Next job will be the steps…

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Building decking – part four

After finishing the frame, we could fix the decking boards in place.

After cutting the boards to length, we used green coated decking screws to secure them, allowing a 5mm gap between each board.  Having two cordless drills was very handy, one for drilling the pilot holes, the other to drive the screws – all 252 of them!

Next job will be doing it all again on the smaller second section of deck – then building the steps.

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Building decking – part three

With the preparation complete, it’s time to start work on the deck itself!

Because the deck spans over 5 metres along the back of the house, we split it in to two sections to make things more manageable.


The deck needs to be attached to the house – this is done with a ledger.  We used through bolts to fix the board to the wall, staggering the bolts high and low so the board doesn’t rock.  It is important that the finished deck is well below the damp proof course to avoid moisture getting in to the walls – so setting the ledger height correctly is critical!

We added washers to the through bolts to leave a 10mm gap between the ledger and the brickwork – allowing some air circulation and preventing the timber from rotting.

In the photo below, we added a couple of joists to make sure the ledger height cleared the small block wall, while still giving a fall of around 1 in 100 for drainage.  Luckily the block wall is level so we can actually bear the joists onto it directly.

We also treated all cut timber with a generous coating of wood preserver.


After the ledger, we could start work on the frame itself.  Using a combination of joist hangers, long nails and skewed screw fixings – the frame gradually takes shape…

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Building decking – part two

After the design work and shopping (part one), it was time to prepare the ground for the decking.


Because the deck is partially elevated, we needed to sink some 100×100 fence posts at approximately 1 metre intervals.

After marking out the hole positions, I got to work boring the holes – 70cm deep to ensure the posts are stable and secure.  Doing this without a hole-borer would have been a horrendous job, so it was well worth hiring one for the weekend.  Even the manual borer was surprisingly effective, although it’s physically hard work!

Several hours of boring later, the holes are done.  They aren’t particularly accurately positioned but for the chosen decking frame design that doesn’t really matter.

After this, it was a simple job to fix the posts in place with a bag of postmix concrete per hole (just add water!).  The posts were deliberately left over-long, to be cut down later when building the decking frame.

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Building decking – part one

Winter is over – what better time to turn thoughts to the garden.  The extension build took quite a toll on our poor old garden, so stage one of the garden recovery is to construct some decking.


One of the perks of my job is access to SolidWorks 3D CAD software.  So the decking design work was an opportunity to put the software to good use – especially using the “weldments” commands to build the framework and deck using the correct size timber and boards.

After consulting some good reference material over at the Ultimate Handyman site, I designed the frame and SolidWorks kindly worked out how much timber I’d need.

Shopping list

  • 150 x 50mm joists, pressure treated, C16 grade timber.  If the deck wasn’t partially elevated I could have got away with smaller and cheaper joists
  • Wickes decking boards
  • 100 x 100mm fence posts, pressure treated
  • Hole borer (hired)
  • Postmix concrete to fix the fence posts
  • Weed control fabric
  • M12 x 180mm Through bolts to fix the ledger board to the house
  • Nails, long ones and short ones, galvanised
  • Decking screws
  • Joist hangers
  • M12 nuts and threaded bar
  • Probably a few other bits and pieces…

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