Saturday 21 October 2017

Location, location and usage dictate DIY deck project

I am looking at building a deck in our back garden as a DIY project. Any advice on how best to go about it?

Deck installations are very common at this time of the year when many home owners dream of long summer evenings spent entertaining friends or just relaxing in their garden.

As with any major home improvement, the eventual success of the final product will likely come down to the amount of planning you put into it.

First and foremost, you will need to work out the best position for your deck, taking into consideration factors such as your own and your neighbours' privacy, the amount of sunshine and shade each potential location provides and other environmental factors. Decks built in shaded areas are more likely to require frequent maintenance.

Once you have determined a potential spot, you will then need to work out the access set-up for the deck. Is it easily accessible from the house? Will you have to create a special entry point in the house, thus increasing the expense?

You will also need to consider the ground that the decking is to cover. Ground that includes obstacles, such as trees or rocks, will need to be cleared before you can lay the joists that form the foundation of the deck.

Ideally, the area beneath the proposed deck will be just grass and soil, which is the easiest area to work with as a DIY project, but we would advise removing any grass and weeds from the area once you get started, as its removal will prevent unsightly bits of green appearing in between decking planks down the line.

Now, what are you planning to use the deck for? A single sun lounger or extended family functions?

The size of the decking is important, as it will dictate not only the expense but the type of wood to be used. There is no point building a deck that subsequently proves to be too small for its intended purpose -- so think about it carefully.

With the location and size of the deck decided, you should consider its design. With any deck, the preference is to create a 'self-draining' system that ensures that any water will just run off it into the existing drainage system. This will ensure a longer deck life and less maintenance in the long run. Get some advice from a professional on how to achieve this if you are in any doubt.

Now, you should choose the decking materials for your project. Go to your local hardware shop and get an idea of the decking systems that they have on offer. You should consider the wood type, durability and any manufacturer's guarantees that comes with each. It is also worth considering decking systems with pre-treated wood included that will eliminate the need for you to stain them.

There can be a big variance in the pricing of decking in Ireland, so it pays to shop around.

It is always worth remembering that decking will always require maintenance from the home owner. Rain, wind and UV rays from the sun all serve to discolour decking, and it is best to address any issues early to ensure a long-lasting and good-looking deck that complements your home rather than detracts from it.

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