DIY Decking Installation

Tools Needed

To install your new decking, you might use:

  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Spade

Power tools will make the work easier.

DIY Decking..Things to Avoid
If you are using heavy materials, especially in combination with power tools, you need to be careful. Wear eye protectors and make sure you have a clear work area.


Clear the Area

Before you lay your new garden decking area, it is helpful if you can clear the area for the base. This will need to be slightly larger than the size that you want your finished decking area to be. Not only does it need to be clear of plants, but with a slight slope away from your property. This allows water to run away from your home and prevents damp problems.

Depending on the condition of your garden, clearing this area will probably be one of the longest parts of the job. Once the area is clear, you can use weed control fabric under your decking to prevent the growth of weeds under your new patio area.

Some gardens are not level, and people often use decking installations to create a useful area on even the roughest patch of ground. All you need to do is make sure that your supports are all level and then fit the frame on top of them.

Create the Frame

The frame is the most important part of the patio structure. Before you start cutting the pieces of wood for the frame, work out which way you want the decking boards to lie. The main joists of the frame will need to run at 90 degrees to the decking boards.

If you are building onto an existing patio, then you can build straight on top of it. If you do not have a patio or wish to raise the height you can use bricks or breeze-blocks to support the frame. If you use bricks to support the frame, make sure you use one every 1.25m along every second joist to distribute the load. If you increase the number of pillars then you will provide additional support and stop the deck being springy. Use cross members between joists to strengthen the frame.

Your joists should be sawn treated timber of at least 50mm x 100mm which you can cut to length if required. Lay your two edge pieces of joist down and join each end to two more joists to form a rectangul. Lay the additional joists as equal spaces inside the frame. Once you have the pieces laid into place then join them together using screws for additional strength.

If you have more complicated decking shapes to make, then you will find it easier to create those shapes by joining rectangular objects together. You can screw the individual frames together to form the required shape.

There are lots of online resources that provide detailed technical instructions on how to build each part of your deck. We think the best are from Lowe’s in the USA. The video below is one of a six part series they have developed that takes you though every part of the deck building process. This one is on the decking frame but they provide instructions on where to find the other videos if you want to watch more.

Lay the Deck

Once you have the frame assembled then it is time to position the decking on top of it. The trick to get the best finish is to use the longest lengths of decking planks that you possibly can. Put the planks into position and cut any pieces to size before using screws to fasten the planks into place. Nails will not work well as the boards will twist and pull them out over time.

Use a spacing bar to make the gaps between boards the same size for a better quality finish. The ideal size for the gaps should be between 2 and 5mm for the best look.

After all of the boards are fixed into place you can stain or paint your decking. This will make it look even better but the downside is that you will have extra work every year to give it another coat.