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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

Avg. price low

Avg. price low
£864

Avg. price

Avg. price
£1,771

Avg. price high

Avg. price high
£2,948

£3100

£2325

£1550

£775

£0

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

Wooden decking installation cost in 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 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.
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.

Can I fit a hot tub on my terrace or decking?

Yes, although you should make sure that the terrace or decking is able to support the weight of a hot tub. Usually, you will need to have a structural survey carried out on the area. Seek the advise of a hot tub retailer or installer about the logistics of installing one at your property.

How much maintenance will a wooden deck need?

Properly installed wooden decking will not need a lot of maintenance. Most manufacturers recommend regularly brushing leaves and dirt off the deck, and a yearly cleaning and staining procedure. This will keep the wood in the best condition. Fluids and treatments are readily available from all DIY shops and stores.

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.
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 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.
How much is decking?
How much decking costs depends on the type of material you go for, how big you want your decking to be and where you live in the country. But typically, the cost of decking is between £1,200 - £1,800. The most popular material for decking is pre-treated softwood, which will set you back around £1,000 for 15m2. Hardwood is more expensive but is more durable, and will cost approximately £2,000 for the same amount. Homeowners are also beginning to choose composite decking, which is made from recycled plastic and wood fibres, and is low-maintenance and eco-friendly. This will cost around £1,600 for 15m2, while uPVC which is also a low-maintenance option costs around £600. People tend to choose composite over uPVC because it looks more like natural timber. If you’re a competent DIYer, you might want to have a go at laying decking yourself which will set you back around £1,000 for a standard softwood timber deck. We think it’s worth paying the extra £600 for a professional to lay your decking, since they will be able to do it much more quickly. If you do want to try it yourself, we recommend leaving at least a whole weekend open to do it, but it’s likely to take you longer. Factor in the possibility of having to take time off work to complete it and it might be more cost-effective to leave it to the pros.

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