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6 Things to Consider Before Building a Deck

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Decking is the ideal opportunity to extend your home into your garden. However, before building a deck there are a few things you should consider that will help you build your own decking paradise.

Decking1. Location

Planning the location of your decking is the first important step to consider. If your property size is limited then this will probably dictate where you can build a deck, but if you’re lucky enough to own a large garden then some planning is necessary. Ideally you want to place your decking facing south east or south west to take advantage of the midday sun and evening sun to the west. If you live in a rural area, try to take advantage of the natural view.

Top Tip - There are no set rules that say a deck must be attached to the house. You may find a detached location at the end of your garden that will provide the perfect getaway.

Wooden decking2. Size & Design

The size and design of your decking will be mainly determined by your deck's location and your budget. Make sure to determine your budget before you start, as your plans for grandeur could realistically be a lot more modest.

How you plan to use the deck is also a huge consideration that will determine the size of your decking. Think about the number of people that could be using the decking at any one time, and the size of your patio furniture, hot tub or BBQ you want the decking to accommodate.

You'll also need to think about the height of the deck. A deck should be built as level to the bottom of the access door as possible. This means that the decking will need to be made to whatever height that brings it level to this point.

The profile of your deck may be determined by the style of your house. Follow the lines, proportions and architecture of your house, so that the deck appears as a natural extension.

Decking materials3. Materials

When choosing your decking material it is not always about looks; durability, affordability and maintenance are also important considerations. Here are three of Ireland’s most popular decking materials:
  • Softwood Decking such as pine, spruce, cedar and fir are popular choices in Ireland and are ideal for the budget conscious. This decking material is renewable and is a fast growing timber from managed plantations. Remember to choose timber that has been pressure treated. Pressure treating is a method that forces a chemical preservative deep into the wood. This type of decking will need annual maintenance to keep it in good condition.

  • Hardwood Decking such as oak, ash, mahogany and Balau are naturally durable timbers and are harder wearing than softwood but also considerably more expensive. Hardwood decking will need maintenance every 4 to 5 years, to prolong its life and protect it from rot.

  • Composite Decking materials are a new decking choice. These boards are a blend of wood fibres with plastic resin and feature a raised grain pattern to replicate the look of wood. These long lasting boards are durable and low maintenance requiring no annual painting. The only drawbacks are that this material lacks the strength of wood and is more expensive.

Screws4. Screws & Nails

Low-quality screws and nails will corrode, discolour your deck and shorten its life. When the structure of decking fails, it is generally due to the use of faulty or low-quality fixings. Invest in stainless steel or coated decking screws that have been specifically made to resist corrosion.

Decking5. Railing & Privacy Fencing

Platform decks are the easiest to build but if it is higher than a few feet off the ground, you may need to consider installing railings for safety. Pre-built decorative railings can be bought directly from your local Topline hardware store and are quick and easy to install.

If your deck is visible to your neighbour’s garden, or their garden is visible while you’re on your own deck you may also want to install some sort of privacy screening that will help block the view from either vantage point.

6. Know your Level of DIY Skills

Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before you start building a deck. Decking is a large project to undertake for any person with half decent DIY skills but if you’re not so confident you may want to consider consulting a professional. You could save yourself a lot of trouble and money in the long run.

Top Tip - All but the very largest of decking should not need planning permission but if you are not sure, consult your local authority.

Now that you know everything you need to consider before building your own decking, head down to your local Topline to find all you need to build your very own private garden getaway.

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