Tuesday, 30 June 2009

All Hands On Deck. Ing.

All Hands On Decking

It’s traditional in the British Early Summertime to get a little too carried away with DIY projects and I’m no exception.

We’ve lived in our new home for just about a year. Long enough, we feel, to know where the sun lingers longest and therefore where we should be planning to eat outdoors. I’m so glad we didn’t go with our instinct last year, because it would’ve been wrong. The awful picture shows how we get the sun and why I stuck the deck at the furthest point from the main doors to our garden. The huge blue circle is our kids’ trampoline and the little green one is my beloved water butt

I bought the decking from
www.diydeals.com via their eBay shop. To put it in a nutshell, they were two-thirds of the Argos price, for superior timber, delivered free to our back garden. The assembly instructions are on the website too, along with phone numbers and everything you should need, except a couple of good drills and some time. The timber: 4x2 joists and decking boards, is all treated to last 15 years, even installed sat on the dirt as a ground deck like mine.

In my case, I had to cut down 2 joists of 5m and one of 3m, to make 5 x 2.5m joists. The 30cm waste piece comes in handy later! Altogether I now had 2 x 3m joists, plus my 5 x 2.5m ones.

The most difficult part of the whole job was making the frame. I positioned the two 3m joists at either end of a 2.5 m joist, 5cm in from the edge. Supplied corner brackets took care of the joints, with the help of one drill making pilot holes and a second drill driving in the supplied screws. A further 2.5m joist was joined 5cm from the other end in exactly the same way. Next the last 3 of the 2.5m joists were joined at equal distances, in my case 69cm apart allowing the 50mm (2”) thickness of each joist. When it was finished, I measured diagonally from corner to corner each way, the distances were equal so I knew I’d got good 90 degree corners.

The kit I bought came with 18 decking boards of 3m each to run the full length of the deck, enough to cover the deck with just one board left over. I used this one to tidy up the front edge of the deck, simply screwing it to the ends of the 3m joists and trimming it to fit – I left a slight overhang to meet my path when the deck was sited. Next I attached 3 boards: one at each end and one right down the centre. This gave the frame rigidity for moving into position.

No lawn in Christendom is dead flat, especially not in new-build developments, so I had to get some earth dug out to make the decking level enough. This wasn’t easy. That’s why I was glad I had help!

We marked out the frame by simply lifting it into position (it’s here you’re glad you didn’t screw all the boards on. The thing’s already pretty hefty!), marking out the frame with a lawn edger or spade, then taking the frame away and digging. Check how level your new deck is with a spirit level, and use the leftover 30cm piece of joist as a chock to hold the thing clear of the ground while you’re shifting soil around. Once we were happy about the level, we put weed control fabric down and laid the deck.

Then, it’s really all about tidying up and placing your bits & pieces how you like them!

We’ve eaten our evening meals outside every day it’s not rained since installing it, and we love it to bits. If you’re thinking of installing a deck, just go ahead and do it!

Tell ‘em Phill sent you. Again!

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