10 Best Tips for Building Timber Decking
Timber decks are great- no one can deny that. They’re stylish, homey, and absolutely perfect for all purposes relating to summer fun. You can’t go wrong with a good wood deck. But, building them can be quite a project. So, how can you avoid going wrong when building your timber deck?
Pro Decks Brisbane founder and professional builder, Justin Brownless, said that “When building a timber deck, it’s best to remember ten simple rules.” These tips, along with other common-sense guidelines for building any project, will get you through this with little to no hitches. So, put your tools down and take some time to hammer some knowledge home with our ten decking tips.
1- Above-Grade Wood Above & Below-Grade Below
Quite a cryptic tip, no? It’s really quite simple, though, if you know a few things about pressure-treated wood.
Pressure-treated wood is possibly the best wood for building a timber deck because it has a higher resistance to things like water and mold damage. This resistance comes from treatment methods that involve formulas to improve these factors.
When wood is treated heavily, we call it ‘below grade.’ When it is only lightly treated, we call it ‘above grade.’ Above-grade wood should go on top of everything- or above the structure, where everyone can see and walk on it. On the other hand, below-grade wood should go under the structure in the ground where all the water and mold live.
2- Always Consider Costs
This is important for any home improvement project, but it becomes really important when something as long-term as a deck is involved. Your deck is where a lot of your life will occur, so you want to make sure it stands the test of time.
Better woods will stand up to the elements better but might end up costing more. Make sure you calculate costs per square foot and other such expenses before you start.
3- Consider Coloring
Redwood is just one of those things people are going to covet no matter what. Odds are, if your buddy’s building a deck, he’ll have considered redwood for his materials. But, redwood, while beautiful in itself, may not go along with the color of your house. You might end up with an ugly matchup.
Imagine, if you will, a bright yellow house with a dark red deck. Looks sort of ugly, doesn’t it? Almost like a McDonald’s. Choosing the wrong wood can make your deck an eyesore to both you and your neighbors.
4- Know Your Stuff
Flashing, joists, and ledger boards- if these words inspire confusion and frustration, you’re likely going to have trouble getting help while building your deck. Building a deck free-hand can be fun, but in the end, you’ll likely miss one or two important things, which could be bad.
We recommend doing a lot of research before you start working on your deck because all those articles out there aren’t going to provide you with a handy-dandy thesaurus. They’ll run you through the gauntlet of carpentry terms, and you’ll want to know your stuff.
5- Don’t Be Afraid to Use Modern Materials
Yes, redwood is great and it looks good, but the truth is that some timbers can be a product of illegal logging. To help protect the environment, consider using manufactured materials- like capped wood. It also last longer and look good too. Don’t be afraid to get some capped composite wood from your local stores.
6- Use Convenient Tools
Hammer and nails- that’s what your grandfather used, and he was proud to do it! But, is there anything wrong with using a structural screw? More convenient tools can cut your installation time and put you that much closer to enjoying your beautiful timber deck.
7- Make Everything Trim and Tidy
If you’re using below-grade wood for your foundational elements and a prettier wood for your decking, you’ll likely have to worry about hiding ugly wood. But never fear- there are very simple methods for hiding uglier wood that you’ll likely be doing anyway.
For one, you might try building your decking to protrude a little over the side of your deck. Doing this will hide those uglier pieces of wood that are- without a doubt- holding everything together. You’re grateful to them for giving you a nice place to stay, but in the end, all you really want to see is the beautiful cedar of your banisters.
8- Know Your Fastening Options
Putting down your decking really is a magical moment. It’s easy, the deck just starts looking better and better, and it means that all your hard work has paid off. You’re about to start enjoying a beautiful deck that will give you a nice place to hang out on your days off.
But when it comes to fastening these boards, you have some options. You might try regular screws, but those might stick out. Instead, you may consider hidden fastening options. Knowing what’s at your disposal can help you design your deck.
9- Try Covering Posts
As we mentioned before, some parts of your deck may be… less than desirable to look at. So, why not cover them up with an easy-to-use cover? Many stores sell post-coverings, and they’re easy as anything to install.
Post coverings, however, are often white, which means they may not fit with the color of your decking. If you really want to cover up those ugly structural posts below your deck, consider how the color of post coverings will look when paired up with the wood you’ve used with your decking.
10- Take Breaks
You’ve been so obsessed with tools, materials, building methods, and so on, that you’ve likely not thought of the most important element of any project- the builder. It’s likely going to be hot out there while you’re doing your work, so make sure to take breaks and stay hydrated.
So, all in all, if you’re looking to build a timber deck, there are a couple of unexpected things you should definitely watch out for. Things like wood aesthetics, staying hydrated and taking care of yourself during the project. So, what are you waiting for? Go get to work on your next project.