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Timber Decking Kits - How to Complete Their Installation


In our last article we looked at how to ensure site safety before protecting the deck from weed intrusion using a high quality weed membrane. Now it is time to prepare the site onto which the deck is to be built. This site, more often referred to as the 'over-site', is basically the footprint area onto which the decking joist sub-frame is to be built, and the deck boards subsequently laid.
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The first, and perhaps most obvious, thing to do during over-site preparation is to ensure that the site itself is suitable - particularly if you are looking at constructing a ground deck (a deck which will sit on the floor). Ensure the site is free draining if possible but, if this is not possible, it should be at least sloped at 1:40 or above. You'll need this to be the case if the site is to be free-draining after rainfall.
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For ground-decks, you'll probably want to dig up the top 10cm of soil (known as the 'topsoil') before going any further. Fill the resultant hole with well-compacted gravel (or alternatively hardcore - broken up brickwork and masonry) to provide a solid, free draining site, onto which the deck may be later built.
The next stage is to construct the joist sub-frame. Timber decking kits will, by their nature, include all the necessary timbers which are required to construct both the joist frame undercarriage and the decking surface on top. The sub-frame is, in essence, a structurally solid base onto which the deck boards may be affixed in due course. We advise DIYers begin by laying down all but two of the joist timbers in a row, parallel to each other and at 60mm centres. These timbers will be the regular joists. Next lie the remaining two joist timbers at 90-degrees to the regular joists, at either end (top and bottom) of the row. These two timbers will be the connecting joists, or cross-joists. Your next step is to cut down the length of the regular joists by the narrower width dimension of the cross joists. As the profile of these joists is either 2" x 4" or 2" by 6" (the latter used in raised decking kits, or by specific request), the regular joists are therefore cut down by 2". This will ensure that the deck is built precisely to the specification.
The next step is to fix the cross-joists to the two outer joists, creating a rigid frame which is either square or rectangular (according to your original specification). Now install the remainder of the regular joists at 60cm intervals to create a rigid frame, onto which the deck-boards can be fixed. Now fit the deck-boards at 90-degrees to the regular joist timbers, and at 5mm intervals. Finally, use pilot holes and 65mm+ decking screws to fix the deck-boards in place.