The First Example is from DIY Creators, a woodworking DIY enthusiast from the USA. The videos show how to make a floating deck in the garden, using the same techniques as we have in our example. They demonstrate how easy it is to fit step lighting and the use of LED down lighting,
Our written example is a raised decking and patio, this will detail how to make the frame, railing balustrade, steps down to the garden and how to fix it to the house wall.
It is my advice to plan your project thoroughly, if you are not used to working on DIY projects, keep it as simple as possible.
In the video DIY Creators have used Trex Decking, a Composite WPC Decking Board, depending upon the quality, this can be very expensive. You can see he has trouble cutting and shaping the Decking Board, and he is experienced. Out tip, if you do choose a Composite WPC Decking Board, try and make your plan simple so you do not have to cut it down. Mistakes can be expensive.
There are alot of Composite WPC Decking Boards available on the market, we suggest you shop around for the best deals and then compare it with the price of wood.
We can recommend the Trex Protect Joist Butyl Tape, it protects the top of the joist, beam, rim joist and ledger board from development of rot and wood decay.
This decking project it for a slightly raised veranda deck adjacent to the house. The main purpose was to give added space that could actually be used. before the deck, there was an old patio which could only be accessed by steep steps from the house, and had a surrounding retaining wall - double - that doubled as a poor planting area.
So as with many decks abutting the house, there were two primary considerations. Ease of access to the deck and then to the garden was the main consideration, for access to the garden was both dangerous and non-appealing.
The other consideration was to get rid of the existing patio that had been poorly laid, and offer additional space near the house which could be used for recreation. Both clients had very busy job-styles, and needed the opportunity when time allowed, to simply chill out!
Wooden Decking and Rail
We start with a few images of the finished project so that you can then see what was being aimed for in the work and planning that lead to these.
All of the timbers were bought from local supplies including builder's merchant and nearby DIY stores. The deck is not beyond the scope of any good handyman, though a basic thorough knowledge of carpentry tools and how to use them is essential. So too is the use of heavy duty power drill for house fixings and deck base bolting.
The most difficult job would be the purpose made railing balustrade. Shop bought unis by way of spindles and top and bottom rails were used throughout.
Raised Garden Deck - near finished - with handrail balustrade and steps down to garden.
Steps down to garden from raised decking patio
The basic rule for decking as with most DIY jobs is, if you are not sure - STOP. Do your research and then go ahead. Mistakes can be at least expensive; at worse dangerous!.
Even though this deck was only slightly raised - and also had wall supports to help - both at the house and deck edge by way of old patio wall - it was treated in the same manner as higher raised deck - with modifications.
All timber used was pressure treated at source, and all resulting cut were either treated with liberal coats of preservative, or where necessary - 'End Seal' fluid.
The Before Picture
A raised Timber Decking Patio into the garden to replace the old low level paved area.
Building a deck in a garden, from start to finish. This garden decking will be raised, owing to the variation in levels - as can be seen from the first image of the site.
The main reasons for building this garden patio deck were twofold; 1/. to have access to a patio without having to go down a set of unsafe steps; 2/. to extend the living space out into the garden.
The first and second reasons were taken care of in the raising the deck up above the old patio. The old steps ceased to exist, the deck extended further into the garden area and had a finished level at the same as the living room floor. It was thus pleasantly possible to walk straight from the interior onto the exterior part of the 'room'!
As can be seen in the 'before' photo, something needed to be done about the dangerously steep and shallow steps, and the old patio which was gradually being encroached upon by overgrowing shrubs.
Safety and ease of access was of paramount importance as there was a young child to be considered, and also because there were often visitors to the house, who were elderly and not confidently able to use the steps.
The left-hand sketches shows the basic deck plan design in relation to the house and access etc. The existing garden patio below the deck is marked in to show the additional space that became available.
The deck frame sketch shows the basic raised base structure. In this case, the timber going across the page are to be 50mm x 150mm (6x2in ) tanalised joist timbers, which will be fixed to the house via a 6x2 wall plate with galvanized joist hangers. The timbers running top to bottom will be 50mm x 100mm tanalised structural grade timbers.
The deck timbers will be screwed to these. (The overall depth of the timber 'platform' will be 288mm (11.5in.) all screwed and bolted together to make a solid deck.) This base structure will be raised on to 75x75 (3x3in) tanalised posts sunk and concreted into the ground. (Tanalised timber is guaranteed for 15 years, if carefully treated. It will weigh approx 2 tonnes.
One thing you should be aware of in all landscape projects, is the sheer bulk - and weight of the materials required. The same is true of a decking project such as this.
This 1st delivery of timber account for most of the raised base section. There are 10 3.6m lengths of 150mm x 50mm tanalised timber, and 30 x 6 m lengths of 100x38mm. Added to this, there are 9 x 2.4m 75x75mm 'fencing' posts which will be used for the uprights.
This delivery weighed in the region of 1 tonne - fortunately off-loaded with a hoist lorry - but only to the kerb-side! It is important to keep the timber in a shaded place - not in full sun - or it will invariably warp.
The Rough Sketch
The raised patio decking scheme in an image sequence. DIY Garden Decking Project.
These levelling pegs are set up outside of the project area, but near to where the 'edge' of the deck is going to be. The levels have been taken from the living room levels and extended out to these pegs.
The damp proof course line on the wall is the essential datum to work from. In this case there was a protruding overhand to the eaves of the house, so no undue concerns about rain splash from the surface of the deck onto the wall above the DPC - Damp Proof Course.
It is wrongly thought that the only thing that matters for a DPC and patio or deck, is that the surface should be 2 courses below DPC to prevent moisture soaking up from the surface to that area above the Damp Proof Course. Yes, it is the main consideration, but the other important thing to be aware of, is the surface splash of rain up on to the house wall - as is a problem when the patio/deck surface extends too far up the DPC level.
Position the Base Structure
Whatever your abilities as a 'draughtsman', you must get things down on paper in the form of little sketches that you can understand.
Corners in particular need to be thought out - especially where there is a balustrade to be fitted.
This will help you to see potential problems with the deck layout before you start ordering timber even.
It will also alert you to any intricacies that you might need to brush up on before you start.
These sketches - whilst not accurate fully - gives a picture of how details are going to be built in once works starts.
When building a raised deck – even if only slightly raised – there are two basic methods of ensuring that the deck is stable. Stability of the deck frame is a major factor with any deck that is not resting on the ground. Unless the deck frame is well anchored and secured, lateral movement can take place over years – especially with the shrinking and expansion of timber in the different season.
Free-standing raised decks have to be well supported and diagonally braced in the frame to ensure rigidity. It is the main construction technique to ensure that your deck fulfills its function for many years, and above all is safe from possible collapse.
A raised deck abutting a wall has the advantage of being held fast on at least one side to help with this stability. Fixing a deck to a brick wall demands additional work in to sub deck frame construction, but it will be well on the way to stability, longevity and safety. This involves the attaching of a timber wall plate or ledger board to the wall, upon which the normal way forward is to use joist angers from which to support the raised decking joists.
The attaching of the ledger board to the house or other wall is a job for two people for ease of procedure.
There are additional tools required, and this operation is best carried out with someone who has good building skills and also comfortable with the power tools to be used and knowledgeable as to the type of fixing bolts to be used.
Once the ledger board decking wall plate has been affixed to the wall, decking proceeds at an easier pace and with the full knowledge that the deck is not going to move from where you put it.
It is very important to get this part right, for the only way you can remedy a faulty ledger board fixing, is by removing all of the deck boards to enable access. Read the points below and fully understand before you proceed. Any doubts whatever. Stop the work and get a professional or at least experienced building workman. You are providing for the long term stability and safety of the raised deck. Here we are talking of a relatively low raised deck, but the same procedure should be followed as for a high raised deck.
Not all walls are suitable for supporting a deck, either because they are not strong enough, or not straight.
Wall-Fixing Bolt Method
There are several types of wall anchor bolts available. It is best to seek the advice of your local supplier who will have information and knowledge of local building types.
The type of ‘sleeve anchor’ bolts in the images allow for easy fixing of the pre-drilled wall plate deck ledger board which can then be slid onto the protruding bolt screws via the previously drilled holes in the ledger board.
With weaker walls or this with soft bricks and mortar, it is possible to use a straight threaded rod, which can be secured into the wall by way of impregnating the hole with epoxy resin which will then grip into the hole surrounds and hold the bolt rod securely. Much depends upon the actual strength of the wall. Seek advice, don’t assume!
Make sure that you are aware of the Damp proofing course and aim to have your deck at the recommended height ‘below’ the DPC – unless it is considerably above that level as in a semi-balcony situation. There is no hard and fast rule as to how to go about this task. The end result of a suitable ledger board securely fastened to the wall is what we are aiming for.
The ledger board is ideally the same dimensions as the joists to be affixed later – ideally 6x2in (150x50mm) It needs to be straight and not warped or have undue splits. C21 grade timber would be ideall. It will of course also be pressure treated Tanalith. It will be virtually impossible to re-treat at a later date.
Position the Framework
Using a hammer drill, drill the holes to the RECOMMENDED depth and insert the anchors. This should leave the actual screw thread available to push the wall plate over.
IMPORTANT ### make sure the fixings you use have a protruding screw thread which is several mm longer than the depth of the wall plate. In case of a 6x2in 150x50mm there will need to be at least 2.5in or 70mm of thread available.
Once the wall plate is then provisionally fixed to the wall, tighten the bolts alternatively – using a good sized washer on the outside so that tightening does not crush the timber, or - worse – force the nut into the timber. Rectangular galvanised plate washers are ideal for this 50x50m. Apply exterior grade silicone gel around the washers and bolts – sealing the whole unit from water.
Deck project - the Framework
It is normally a good idea - on solid ground - to more or less complete the sub deck frame, and raise it to finished position, securing with good screw clamps - before concreting the supports. In areas where the ground is not solid, the upright can be carefully concreted into position - sitting on a section of paving stone in the hole - before the deck frame is actually finalised and bolted into position.
Naturally you have to get the supports in exactly the right position before concrete is poured. They should also be allowed to full set, before trying to fix the sub frame deck base to them.
Once you are happy with the basic set up - the deck frame position can be enacted and bolted to the concreted supports.
On the frame in the image, there will be a cross member support beam affixed under the deck frame for added support and to lessen the span for the deckboards.
Support Beam affixed under the Deck Frame
If you do the frame as per these images and pages, ensure that you have the space to maneuvered the cross member bearing into place. For most, it would be best to position the bearer whilst the frame is in the process of being made.
A bearer - either single or double beam is also a great help in the levelling of the deck frame. Bearers will require their own independent support posts to ensure strength and stability.
All metal fixing - screws, bolts or nails even, should be exterior grade which normally entails galvanised or zinc coating at source. this also includes and washers used in the project.
The screws in these images are for temporary fixing prior to galvanised coach bolts being used for the main supports.
The Frame Work Structure
This decking sub deck frame differs to most in that the client decided that they wanted the deckboards running away from the house. The change of decision came after the initial frame had been started and concreted into the ground. As luck would have it, there was sufficient clearance room rto add and extra 4in (100mm) to the height of the envisaged deck.
An additional set of decking joist were affixed to the top of the basic frame, running across the house so that the client's desire could be accommodated without too much additional work involved. It also made for an even stronger deck base - and with a little bit more room underneath for envisaged storage under the deck.
All joists and bearers were treated with Tanalith at source - giving a 15 year plus lifetime.
Connecting the Frame
The bolts used for this M12 galvanised coach bolts with large square plate washers on the end where the nuts were affixed. No bolts were over-tightened - a common fault with some decking, bearing in mind that the timber used was kiln dried, and would expand once wet. Over-tightening of the bolts would then lead to the bolt heads biting into the timber, and in extreme cases could result in the bearers or joists splitting under the pressure.
Bottom image shows the fixing to the concreted uprights of the main bearers, which were then added to with other joists to allow the change of finished direction to the deckboards.
The upright support timbers were treated 4x4 (100x100mm) fencing posts with 15 year exterior guarantee against rot. All bolt hole were treated with preservative after boring to minimise the risk of decay around the bolt fixing.
Image shows the wet pour concrete used for fixing the uprights. This allows the frame to be fully stabilised once positioned axactly. Care should be taken in this initial set up of the deck frame with particular attention to the overall dimensions, the 'squaring' of the frame and due allowance made for the depth of the deck-board to be fixed on top.
As is normal for this type of deck, softwood timbers were used in the frame joist, bearers and of course the actual finishings with deck boards and balustrade surrounds. Softwood timber is easier to work, and can still look good with very little difference from some of the hardwood deck boards.
Screw Down the Deckboards
There are special screws which should be used for fixing deckboards to joists. Simply buying galvanised or zinc coated general purpose screws is not generally satisfactory. It is important that the screws are manufactured for long term outdoor exposure and that they are coated in such a way that the 'protective' coating is not abraded off during the screw driving operation. Stainless steel screw are by far the best and only add a small cost to the job.
6mm dia screws are the norm, and can be screwed direct without any splitting of the board. The only exception being at the end of a board, where it might be necessary to predrill the holes in the deckboard.
Choice of screwdriver is down to whether you hire or buy. The modern cordless screwdrivers with hammer action and adjustable clutch are good starting points. No need to be dragging a power cable behind.
If the power drill has an adjustable slip clutch, take time to adjust it so that it eases off at the pot where the head of the screw makes contact with the deckboard.
If you do them hat way there is less chance of driving the screw in too far and either burying the screw or splitting the deck boards.
Many screws for decking will have ridges on the bottom of the head, which helps the screw to counter sink without too much effort.
Decking screws will have a clear shank at the top - which should be the depth of the deck board of choice. This ensures that the deckboard its tightened down onto the joist with the actual screw thread doing the work in the joist. Non purpose made screws with a fully screw faced shank should be avoided.
75mm long screws are suitable for most softwood decking and having diameter of 6mm. The larger 8mm screws will invariably need pre-drilling, and are prone to splitting the boards if not.
Fixing Deckboards to Joists
Do not over-tighten the screw, for with expansion and contraction over the years, minute splits can appear. Far better to re-tighten the screws after a settling in period.
Screws take longer to use use than decking nails, but if it is a one-off deck for yourself, the cost is negligible in that you will not have to hire a power nail gun - nor buy nails in a greater quantity than you need! generally the pro decking installers use nails for speed and to a certain extent, the visual effect. The rail head is driven down below the surface of the timber. A neat row of visible screws as also a pleasing sight.
Take care to get the rows of screws in a straight line - even to the extent of a light marking with straight edge and soft pencil - or better still - a chalk impregnated line snapped down on the board surface.
Decking around Newel Posts
Decking project, step 7, looks at cutting in the deckboards around the newels for the balustrades. Take care with measurements and calculate where your newels will be in relation to the deck boards. Far easier to cut two slots out of adjoining deckboards than to have to cut a central rectangle out of the middle of a deck board!
One aspect of building a deck is fraught with problems fore the inexperienced DIY person. How to cut the holes in the deck where the newels poke through.
Easiest way is to have the newels and handrail balustrades right on the edge of the deck, but this is not always possible or practicable.
It will nearly always involve the cutting in of the deckboards around the balustrade newel support posts. It will help greatly if you ensure that you purchase newel posts which are perfectly 'square' and not wrongly machined.
The image shows a neatly finished cut around a newel post, where care had been taken earlier in the construction to ensure that the newel was positioned between two decking boards. This is much easier than cutting a slot hole out of a single deckboard.
The easy way to do this is to leave the fixing of the newel posts until decking is well under way. This will allow for the position to be as in the image in most instances.
Where the newel has to be fixed at a deck corner, this type of operation is not always possible.
A 'Waste' Overhang
The deckboards in this case were laid with a 'waste' overhang. This is often the case where for instance, deck dimensions do not match up with the different lengths of deck board available.
Don't be tempted to try staggering the lengths in order to minimise wastage. Visual satisfaction is important. Allow for at least 10% wastage of decking materials in your cost estimates. 10% wastage is more or less the accepted norm when buying anything other than expensive hardwood boards.
The decking project more or less finished with a view of the balustrades over well laid decking.
Where the decking runs along the length of balustrading, it is often desirable to lay your first board flush against the newels and then 'notch' the outer board to take it into the newel.
Any adjustments can be remedied later in the decking process where the deck finishes against a wall. If it is a free standing deck, then carefully allow for working around the newels at the design stage. Bear in mind the 'finished' - nominal - width of the deckboards rather than simply measuring the actual width of the board.
Accurate Cutting of the Decking Balustrade
Decking project 8 sees the work being done on the balustrade - in particular the accurate cutting of the decking balustrade top and bottom rails. Top being the handrail and bottom being the frame support - ensuring a gap to deck surface of no more then 100mm.
Here the rails are laid alongside to fixed decking newel and the exact offset angle of the newel is marked on the top rail - ready for cutting at the correct angle.
Tape laid along the balustrade handrail in readiness to mark the positions of the upright spindles to ensure no more than the allowed 100mm gap between deck balustrade spindles
An essential part of any raised decking project, is the provision of sturdy balustrades which consist of top and bottom balustrade hard rail together with upright decking spindles.
All graded preserved for outside use. Tanalith treated in this instance.
Spindles are now screwed into the top rail.
Bottom rail is offered to the part completed balustrade section and marked to ensure parallel gap all the way up the adjacent spindles.
It would be a good idea to test drill and screw at angles on scraps of decking before starting this work.
In this instance, the spindles were affixed to the bottom tail by way of pre-drilled holes to take 50mm decking screw.
Top and bottom decking balustrade panels rails affixed to the deck newel in predrilled holes using a 175mm exterior grade screw.
Use of exterior grade fixings is of paramount importance. Normal household DIY fixings are not suitable for any deck work or deck balustrade panel unit.
Firm fixing of the balustrade to the upright newel supports is essential for raised =- and other - decks.
Most raised decks need a set of steps or often a proper set of decking stairs to get access to and from the deck to a lower garden – or sometimes to a high level door – dependent upon where the deck fits to the house. Some houses at the rear garden have a floor level which is much higher than the garden – which sometimes slopes away from the house.
The examples on this page are of very basic deck steps – quite easily constructed using pre-made ‘stringers’ which will be sold at most builder merchant or your normal deck timber supplier. The stringers are pre-made, taking into account the rules and regulations for tread width and riser height which will be a necessary consideration if building controls are involved.
Decks can sometimes not be signed-off by a building control inspector if the dimensions for treads and risers and also the angle of the steps do not conform with building regulations. Basically the same criteria are adopted as for full staircases in the house. There is no different specification for deck staircases.
Sometimes there is a single step required down from the deck to the garden. This is easily achieved by building a box frame from the joist timbers (6x2in – 150x50mm) and fixing deck boards to the surface. Aim for 12in 30cm depth which is normally ok for two standard deck widths. Even though it is just a simple single step, the box base will need to be secured into the ground – NOT free standing. Over time there will be wear under the fra,work, leading to an unstable, rocky step.
Fixing Steps to the Wall
Building a deck staircase – or even a few steps - is invariably the most difficult part of the deck construction to get right. However small the set of steps are, safety should be the first consideration. This starts with proper construction giving a rigid project, and by ease of use which will be defined by the building regulations. Even if you do not need building control permission, it is as well to adhere to the rules and regulation relating the staircase provision and Steps will or should be accompanied by some type of handrail and again, there are regulations that need to be adhered to for handrails.
In the example images we have used simple pre-formed stair stringers; by far the easiest way for a deck with a height of up to 90cm (3ft). An added advantage of using deck staircase stringers is that the staircase can be built using your deck surface as a workbench (nice flat even surface) or if you are not used to bending and kneeling down yet (!) a moderate size set of steps can be built on a sturdy workbench. You can also build the steps in-situ after firstly securing the stringers to the deck and ground.
Securing the Stringers
Decks higher than 90cm – 3ft off the ground will need a different approach to staircase building.
For support reasons, the ground fixing is very important for you do not want your steps sliding away from the deck over time. With good ground support, the stringers can be simply resting against the decking fascia with minimum fixings – just a few screws.
The support posts concreted into the ground will also provide a good non-giving surface on which to base your newels - assuming you are going to incorporate a balustrade or even a hand rail - IMPORTANT even for a few steps down - or up.
A standard deck staircase stringer will have been manufactured to take a single 6in deck board as the riser, and two deck boards as the treads – allowing for a slight nose over the front edge of the tread. This can be clearly seen in the side view image of the steps. It is important not to have too much overhang for the nose of the tread or tripping can be the result.
If your deckboards are not as wide as the standard 6in boards you should always have a full deckboard width at the tread leading edge, and any in-fills of differing width can be situated in the main depth of tread. Together with that, you will have to accommodate the 'give' in narrower boards when used on the treads. 150x40mmdeckboards can normally be used with a 90cm span. The give extra stability to the treads, it is a good idea to use an off-cut deck board or joist under the tread as a central strengthening extra.
Staircase ready for fixing of the newels. The overhanging treads will need to be cut in around the newel - or simply trimmed off flush with the stringer surface. Overhang looks better and can be further enhance by using a fascia deck board on both edges attached to the stringer.
The decking staircase at the end of the deck, served as access and egress points both to the garden and also to the side of house footpath. Balustrade was necessary because of the height at the end of the deck. The deck staircase mad for an interesting and very practical feature at deck end.
Note that all the risers are at the same height. A common mistake is to try and 'fit' decking steps to the difference in level. Far better - and safer to provide standard riser heights - of maximum 22cm (5.5in). Do NOT allow for 6in risers - even if seemingly eraser to calculate.
A useful addition to most decks is the provision of a power source. in this case, two 13amp socket were place to the front edge of the deck to allow for lawnmower and other electrical garden tools.
All exterior electrical work should ideally be carried out by a competent, qualified electrician.
If you feel competent, and it is your own property, this type of deck fitting is an easy enough task. The main points to address being the secure fixing of the unit. As it protruded from its fixing surface on the deck, it was positioned under the front overhang to prevent accidental damage.
The Finished Result
The unit is fitted with waterproof seals, and extra care must be taken to ensure that they are put in place with no crimping of the seals.
The finished result of a deck that made for considerably increased 'garden' space and of course was extensively used for those pleasant moments in the evening sun that we all enjoy.
Always ensure that you deck will actually have the floor space to make it an area that can be used for all manner of purposes - from doing the ironing on a nice day, to enjoying the al fresco meal or drink.
Be aware of the often overlooked little problems that can occur with a slightly raise patio deck terrace - especially the height of the finished article in relation to the overhang of the roof of the house.