Timber Decking - A Room Outside

Everyone's Favourite

Sunny Deck pictureEverybody, it seems, likes decks. D-I-Y-ers like the fact that simple decks are just that - simple to create. Architects and designers like the design possibilities of decks and the "green" aspect of timber, a natural product in an outdoor setting. Housebuilders and developers like the fact that decks add value to a property all of those sloping sites can now have useful outdoor space - and are incorporating them on a lot of upmarket sites. Hoteliers and others in the leisure industry like decks for the way they extend the use of leisure and recreational facilities. And timber traders like decks - because they've proved a serious growth market over the past two years. Many now specialise in the supply of decking timbers and some also offer a full design-supply-erect service - check out our suppliers list!

Decks range from the simplest, rectangular raised platform at ground level, next to a property, to complex, multi level structures incorporating features like stairs, archways, fishponds and so on. Whether simple or complex, DIY or specialist supply, here are a few basics to look out for.

A Few Basic Thoughts

Timber Supply

loungers on sunny deckMake sure your timber is quality graded and kiln dried. Make sure too that it is treated to prevent fungal and insect attack, thus ensuring the long life of your deck -- up to 30 years plus. These days vou can also make sure the treatment is child and plant friendly. The actual timbers used are very straightforward- standard joists, beams, posts, railings and deck boards - your STTA supplier will advise.

Ties and Nails

Make sure your ties and nails are galvanised, so they will last as long as the timbers they hold together.


Make sure your design is right for the site, taking into account such elements as prevailing wind; sunniest aspect; ease of access etc. Also, how will you use the deck? For example, if you plan evening use, make sure you incorporate outdoor lighting. If you have young children, make sure handrails and barriers are in place.


This isn't difficult. An application of sealant and anti-slip finish every few years is all that will be needed. Don't scrimp on the anti-slip - safety first!

Step by step to constructing a deck.

Umbrella and chairs on sunny deckOne of the plusses of the deck is that provided you aren't wanting anything too fancy, or aren't dealing with a particularly difficult site, for example on a steep slope, a deck is well within the capability of the average handy man or woman.

Step 1 - Plan and Purchase

Plan your dream deck to fit your lifestyle; budget; site; and skills. Or speak to a specialist deck company

Step 2 - Prepare the Site

Minimal site preparation is needed. Just make sure that all plants and weeds are removed. If the site is even, the platform can be placed close to ground level on concrete footings. (Never put timber in direct contact with the ground.) If the ground is uneven, or has small features such as old walls, steps etc., the height of the platform can be raised to accommodate this. The ground beneath a raised deck needs little more than weed suppression and gravel or bark to finish it off.

Step 3 - Put up the Deck

Having cleared the site and put in concrete footings, secure the beams to the footings, the joists to the beams and the deck boards to the joists. If the deck abuts a property, it will be supported on a ledger secured to the property. Make sure the ledger is below damp proof course level.

Step 5 - Paint and Polish

Finish off with a coat of water sealant all over and anti slip treatment at key places. Remember, lots of woodstains come in exciting colours these days, so you can make a bold design statement if you want! Garden centres and landscape suppliers abound with planters and suitable outdoor furniture to finish off the job

Some final words on safety

Beechgrove Garden elevated deck pictureWhenever you are working with timber, for decks or other uses, there are some simple precautions which you should take.

  • Wear appropriate protective clothing: workgloves, safety goggles etc
  • Do not inhale sawdust over a prolonged period
  • Dispose of treated wood as ordinary household waste but do not use it for open fires or barbecues
  • Wash your hands after working with any construction material, or before eating or smoking.

Contact the following STTA companies for decking supplies and services:

Supply of loose decking components:

  • James Donaldson Timber Ltd
  • John Fleming & Company Ltd
  • Gilmour & Aitken (hardwood only)
  • Howie Forest Products
  • International Timber

Design, supply and installation of timber decks:

  • Archadeck, James Donaldson Timber Ltd

Full contact details are given on the Membership page

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