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Wooden decking

Wooden decking is an increasingly prevalent choice for creating outdoor seating areas in gardens. Due to the natural beauty of wood, they can be very fashionable areas that can be used year round by installing external heating and illumination. Wooden decking is often installed in locations in front of patio or French doors where they can create a seamless transition between interior and exterior spaces. Wooden decking can come in any size or shape to fit any area. Curved designs or large areas connected by pathways can produce a striking effect.

Wooden decking is relatively easy to install and causes little disruption, particularly when compared to alternatives like patio or paving. It can even be installed over the top of a pre-existing patio. It is essential however to be sure that your wooden decking is structurally sound and able to take the load of any furniture or plants that you would like to use on the decking.

There is a choice of species of wood that can be used in wooden decking. Typically decking is constructed from hardwood, but there are softwoods available that fulfil the durability specifications. As hardwood decking will require maintenance, which commonly requires yearly cleaning and staining for weather proofing, composite woods are becoming more popular for use in wooden decking as they are stronger and require significantly less maintenance.

Average Wooden decking cost

The typical cost of Wooden decking is £1500. Costs can change based upon the materials and the firm hired. The upper price range can be as high as £1725. The material costs are commonly approximately £375

Average price per Wooden decking job in 2021

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Prices based on actual Wooden decking costs for your area, as reported by local Quotatis members.

Wooden decking installation cost in your area 2021

Labour cost £1,050
Material cost £375
Waste removal £75
Time frame: 1-4 days

Advantages for Wooden decking

  • Wood has the authentic look, smell and feel over the stamped or embossed texture of composite decking
  • Wood decks remain relatively comfortable underfoot during hot weather
  • Hardwood decking options can have a life expectancy of 40+ years
  • Timber decking is flexible and can be easy to cut up and rearranged in to new styles and layouts.
  • Wide range of colours available, both in wooden and composite decking

Disadvantages for Wooden decking

  • Wood decking requires routine maintenance to prevent rot, fading and discoloration
  • Composites cost roughly twice as much as pressure-treated wood decking
  • Cheaper composite decking can have a very artificial look of plastic

Wooden decking Manufacturers

Wooden decking FAQs

How to lay decking?
Laying simple, ground-level decking may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With careful planning and preparation, you can lay decking that you’ll be proud to show off to neighbours, family and friends. Here are a few tips to get you started. Plan carefully Draw out a plan, to scale, on paper. This will help you to know how many boards you’ll need and ensure that you don’t end up having to cut anything to fit. Prepare the area Measure out the site according to your plan and hammer a peg into each corner, then tie string around each peg to help you see what you’re working with. If you’re not laying on existing slabs, dig into the ground, lifting out turf if it’s there, and check that the site is level. Then add concrete slabs for more stability or lay weed-control fabric over the ground and cover with gravel to further prevent weed growth. Build your sub-frame Since a lot of people ask this, we’ve got a more detailed guide in the FAQ below. Lay your deck boards
  1. Start in one corner of the sub-frame and position the first board across the inner joists. You want the deck board in the opposite direction to the inner joists, ensuring that it’s flush with the frame. Position any end-to-end joins between the deck boards halfway across an inner joist so you can screw both boards into the joist for stability. Make sure you keep a gap of between 5-8mm to allow for expansion of the wood.
  2. Begin to screw your deck boards to the joists. You’ll need to secure the deck board to every joist is covers along your deck frame. Use two screws for every joist. Mark where you’re going to add your screws, ensuring that they are at least 15mm from the end of the board and 20mm from the outside edges. Drill pilot holes for the screws, being careful to only drill through the deck board and not the joist. Then screw the decking screws into the holes.
  3. Continue to screw in the deck boards, ensuring you leave the correct expansion gap. You can stagger the deck board joins across the deck for more strength.
  4. Sand down any cut ends if you need to before applying decking preserver to protect the timber from rotting.
Although this is a simplified set of instructions, it’s enough for you to see whether you want to attempt to lay decking yourself – and if you don’t, you can get in touch with professionals who will be happy to give you a quote.

How to fit composite decking?
Fitting composite decking is similar to installing timber decking, but there are some small differences in terms of the gaps you need to leave between boards and the screws you use. We’ll go through a quick guide to show you the process involved in fitting composite decking so you can decide whether it’s something you want to do yourself. Prepare the area Prepare the area according to our instructions in the previous FAQs – or you can use an existing patio or concrete base if you have one. Measure and mark out the area using chalk (if using an existing base). Assemble the decking frame Build the outer frame as we show in our FAQs above; if the area you have planned is longer than your joists, you’ll need to join them together. When you’ve built the frame and it’s secure, ensure that it’s at the right level for water runoff and add risers, slabs or treated off-cuts of timber at 500mm intervals if you need to. Add joists The spacing of your joists will depend on the type of design you have chosen for your composite decking. If you’re laying arched boards horizontally, you’ll need to space the joists 300mm apart. Lay your composite decking boards
  1. If you’ve not got an overhang or it’s a fixed deck, fit starter clips along the outside edge of the frame and secure with screws provided with the composite decking. If you are working with an overhang, put the first board into position not exceeding 25mm. If you’re adding a fascia, put an off-cut of board under the overhang so you know it’ll be flush with the fascia.
  2. Pre-drill all fixing points, measuring in 30mm from the edge of the board. Secure the board to the joist below with composite decking screws.
  3. Slide a hidden fastener clip in so it sits within the groove of the deck board. It needs to be in the centre of the joist to keep the boards secure and ensure an expansion gap of 6mm. Tighten the clips until just tight, and repeat so there’s a clip at every joist.
  4. Add the next board, ensuring that the fastener clips sit within the groove – make sure you don’t force it. Repeat step 3.
  5. Continue steps 3 and 4 until you’re at the final board, which you should secure in the same way as you did the first.
Add a fascia board If you’re adding a fascia, measure in 40mm from each end and add two guide marks: one at 40mm from the top and the other at 40mm from the bottom. Connect the marks, then mark at 300mm intervals down the board. Drill pilot holes, then put the fascia board into position. You need to make sure that there’s a 40mm ventilation gap between the bottom of the fascia and the ground. Ask someone to hold the board level until you’ve finished securing it with composite decking screws; you can get colour-matched ones so they don’t look unsightly at the end of your decking. Not so sure you want to carry out such a big project yourself? Get quotes from decking pros who will be able to fit composite decking much more quickly and easily.
Will I need safety barriers or balustrades for my decking?

If your deck isn’t going to be flat to the ground, it’s a good idea to have some kind of balustrade to avoid any tripping. If the gap between the deck and the ground is less than 600mm, use a 900mm balustrade. If it’s higher than 600mm, the balustrade should be 1100mm tall.

How to build decking on a slope?
You might think that building decking on a slope is a no-go, but it’s actually a great way to help you make use of your garden when the ground is sloping. It will provide you with a level surface that you can BBQ on as well as dine alfresco without finding that your meal is rolling down the table. But how do you build decking on a slope? Our guide in the FAQ above, ‘How to build a raised deck’, is the perfect solution – but we’ll break it down here if you just want to get an idea of what’s involved. Dig out the area If you’re laying on soil or turf, you’ll need to dig it out. Dig down and remove all the turf from the area and ensure that there are no weeds or stones in the area you’re going to build your decking on. Since you’re building on a slope, it will be hard to get it level, but dig out to a depth of 50mm and lay weed-control fabric with gravel over the top. Add posts and set with concrete Make holes for posts and add them in, ensuring they’re longer than you need. Make sure they’re level, then fill the holes with a concrete mix to set them in place. Build the outer frame Make sure you always work at the top of the slope when you’re building your decking, and measure where the highest point of the decking will be. Secure the 4 sides of the outer frame and factor in a 2mm fall for every metre of decking so rainwater can run off. Add joists Secure joists along your frame at 400mm intervals. If you get to the last joist and there will be more than a 400mm gap left at the end, add in an extra one for support. Lay your deck boards Screw your deck boards to the joists, ensuring that the deck boards are running in the opposite direction to the joists. For timber boards, you need to make sure you leave an expansion gap of 5-8mm. These steps should give you an idea of whether you want to have a go at building decking on a slope, or whether you want to leave it to the pros.
What should I do if my deck or terrace is slippery?

Usually, slipperiness is caused by algae or dirt on top of the deck or terrace. A full cleaning treatment should restore the natural grip of the wood or stone. If slipperiness is a persistent problem, consider installing grip mats in high traffic areas of the deck.

How to lay decking on uneven ground?
There are two ways to lay decking on uneven ground. We’ve explained how to build a raised deck in our FAQ ‘How to build a raised deck’ above, and that’s great for uneven ground or sloped gardens. But there’s another way that you can lay decking on uneven ground if you don’t want a raised deck: you can create a level supporting base. We’ll go through the basics here. Materials you’ll need
  • Paving slabs – old or cheap ones are fine
  • Timber for the frame and legs
  • Type 1 MOT hardcore
How to lay decking on uneven ground
  1. Mark out the area as we explain in ‘How to lay decking’. Then, dig to 200mm below where you want to surface of the decking to be.
  2. Add a 50mm layer of hardcore and make sure it’s compact.
  3. Build the decking sub-frame as we describe in ‘How to build a deck frame’.
  4. Lay out paving slabs along the edges and in the centre of the area. This will help to spread the weight of the decking.
  5. Set the decking frame on the slabs, checking for high or low points and adding off-cuts of timber where needed. Don’t forget to sand and seal these off-cuts with decking preservative.
  6. Add your joists and then the deck boards, leaving the recommended gaps of expansion of between 5-8mm.
Building your decking on top of paving slabs is a good way to get it level, but you still may not be able to get as good a finish as if a professional did it. If you’re in any doubt, get in contact with some decking specialists and see what they would recommend.
How much decking do I need?
How much decking you need will – of course – depend on how big you plan your deck to be. There is an equation to help you work out how many deck boards you need. It’s a little complicated until you’ve been shown how it works, but once you know how to do it it’s easy to work out how much decking you need for any project. The equation takes into account the recommended 10% wastage and includes the expansion gaps that are required, which is between 5-8mm along the length of the deck boards (EGL, or expansion gap length) and 3mm along the ends of the deck boards (EGW, or expansion gap width) for timber. It also assumes you’re laying your decking horizontally, as if you’re looking for a diagonal or chevron design you’ll need more deck boards. Let’s go through an example, assuming you have a 10m x 6m area that you want to cover with decking made from timber boards that are 2.4m long and 144mm wide. We’ll use the EGL of 5mm and EGW of 3mm.
  1. Calculate the surface area for your decking Multiply the length (L) of your decking area by the width (W): L x W = Decking Surface Area (DSA) in m2 10 x 6 = 60m2
  2. Work out the coverage of your deck boards Add your deck board width (DBW) to the expansion gap length (EGL), then add the deck board length (DBL) to the expansion gap width (EGW). Then multiply these numbers. (DBW + EGL) x (DBL + EGW) = Single Board Coverage (SBC) 0.144m + 0.005m = 0.149m 2.4m + 0.003m = 2.403m 0.149 x 2.403 = 0.358m2
  3. Calculate the number of deck boards you need Multiply the SBC by 1.1 to allow for 10% wastage. Then, divide the DSA by the SBC. DSA / SCB x 1.1 = Total number of boards required 60m2 / 0.358m2 x 1.1 = 184.36 boards – so round up to 185 so you’re not left short.
If that all seems a bit complicated for you, let a professional do the maths – they will be able to give you an idea of how much decking you’ll need in no time.
How to build a deck frame?
Building a simple deck frame, or decking subframe, that you’re laying on level ground is easy if you take time to prepare and get all the things you need. We’ll go through the steps on how to build a deck frame here. Tools and equipment To get building your deck frame, you’ll need:
  • Decking joists
  • Coach screws
  • Coach bolts
  • Combi drill
  • Socket set
  • A saw suitable for your project and the thickness of the timber
  • Pencil
  • Decking preservative
  • Sandpaper or sander
Build your subframe
  1. Measure your deck frame and cut to size if necessary.
  2. Make 2 pencil marks on each end of the frame’s 2 outer joists to mark where the coach screws will go. They need to align with the centre of the adjoining outer joist. Then, use a flat wood drill bit to drill recesses into each mark. Make them the same depth of the screws that your using’s head and wide enough for a ratchet or socket to tighten them.
  3. Using a thinner drill bit, line up the outer joists and drill a pilot hole through the middle of the recess. These pilot holes act as a guide for the screws and stops them from splitting the wood.
  4. Fit the coach screws with either a drill driver or socket and ratchet.
  5. Repeat the process for the inner joists once you’ve assembled the outer frame.
IMPORTANT: While you’re building your deck frame and the decking itself, remember to cover all pilot holes and ends of timber in decking preservative to ensure that your decking remains structurally sound for as long as possible. Though relatively simple, building a deck frame and the decking will take some time. It would be much quicker and easier to get a professional in to do it, who could represent more value for money.

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