With the sight of daffodils putting a spring in the step of decking builders, Metsa Wood walks us through the crucial steps to the realisation of a project.
As Summer slowly creeps up, people turn their attention to the outside of the house and the question of how they can improve their gardens and patios.
For many this will involve new timber projects. Being both easy to work with and great to look at, timber is a natural choice for any outdoor project and decking particularly can really complement a garden or patio.
However, in order to make sure that your decking project is a success, there a number of factors that you need to consider.
The first question should be ‘is planning or Building Regulation approval required?’ Guidelines on this can be found at the Timber, Decking and Cladding Association (http://www.tda.org.uk).
If you are building on sloping or difficult terrain then it might be a good idea to add a change of level. Any step or heavy traffic area will benefit from a low slip product, such as WalkSure from Metsä Wood.
Will the deck’s location interfere with services, like drains and manholes – access to these may need to be built in to the design.
What type of timber do you need to use for the frame? Timber comes in various strength grades and for raised level decks you will need to use the appropriate structural grade e.g. (C24 grade).
If your frame is in contact with the ground then the timber ideally needs to be properly treated with a water repellent that helps further protect the wood from weathering.
Is the deck to be wholly in the sun or a shaded area? Or does it need to combine elements of both; either naturally or by including features like an arbor or screening for protection against a prevailing wind?
Is the deck primarily for adults, for entertaining or for family use with a children’s play area – swing/sandpit included? Again, give some thought to those low slip alternatives. You know how children tend to charge around!
What type of board will be used for the surface of the deck? There are a wide range of species and styles available providing variations in grain pattern and colour. There is also a choice of plain, grooved or ribbed finishes to enable different effects to be created.
What features can you incorporate into the deck design e.g. planter boxes, seats, trellis, arbors, pergolas, storage boxes, sandpits, ponds – almost anything is possible.
What style of handrail and balustrades will you need to build in? Is a hot-tub spa, out of ground swimming pool, garden pavilion, shed, conservatory or other heavy structures going to be added at a later date?
If so, you will need to make sure that the structural specification of your deck is beefed-up significantly to take the loads that may be placed upon it. Again, consider a low slip product in the step in/step out area.