How to Build a Composite Deck: What You Need to Know
Installing some composite decking is just one way to increase the value of your home while also providing additional living space for outdoor entertaining. Of course, if you don’t know how to build a composite deck, it’s always the easier option to allow a professional to install a deck for you. But, after you read this guide, it will be possible to do it yourself!
Composite deck manufacturers such as NewTechWood offer free installation guides that are viewable and downloadable from their websites. It is essential to always read the manufacturer’s installation guidelines before commencing any DIY installation to avoid making mistakes that could potentially void your warranty.
How to build a composite deck: Step-by-step guide
The intricacies of exactly how to build a composite deck with step-by-step instructions are outlined in the manufacturer’s installation guidelines. But before you get to that point, there are some other steps you need to follow.
Getting this right can save you hours of regret down the track, as planning is the most crucial step for every deck project.
Plan ahead to know what composite decking you want
Before doing anything else, be sure to know the specifics of the deck you want to build.
Asking yourself the following questions can help with this:
- What type of deck do you want?
- Where do you want your deck to be built?
- How do you want your deck to be laid out?
- What composite material/materials do you need to produce your ideal deck?
Once you have this information, you can much easier draw a plan of your deck up. From here, you can then focus on getting council approval for building the deck.
Get local council approval for your composite decking
Before you even buy your decking materials, check with your local council for regulations regarding your planned deck installation. It is likely you will need Council approval for your deck. They will advise on what planning and building approvals are needed, as well as what restrictions apply – if any, – for your area and intended project.
Make sure your deck frame can be used
This is important and also depends to a large extent on your local council. In some areas of Australia, only metal sub frames are permissible, while in others, they also must meet certain BAL-level requirements. The subframe is going to support your precious deck, so you must get this right.
Ensure you have proper clearances for your deck
It’s important to consider what clearances you need to ensure adequate ventilation beneath the decking. Will you be installing it over earth/grassed areas, or over existing concrete or paved areas?
With NewTechWood decking, the following clearances would apply:
- Over ground – 300mm
- Over concrete – 40mm.
If you want to build a deck on existing hard surfaces, some innovative deck support options – such as an aluminium deck subframe – are a perfect solution.
Build your deck with a decking board that suits your vision
Composite deck boards come in a lot of colours, and so, naturally, you want to choose a colour that best matches your existing décor. However, you should also consider your lifestyle and expectations.
Natural timber wood decking requires a lifetime of ongoing maintenance and treatments to keep it in good condition. This is where composite decking holds its own.
It may initially be more expensive to buy, but within just a few years it will have paid for itself in time and money because, in comparison to a natural wood deck, it is generally very low-maintenance, apart from cleaning.
It is also important to consider the board length and widths. All brands have their differences, and one of them will be more suitable for your project and your budget. Be wary of cheaper products, especially non-capped, because you get what you pay for.
Design your deck the right way for you
Given the area to be decked, consider which layout will offer the most pleasing aesthetics and be the most cost-effective. Ask yourself these questions:
- Would this deck look best with a picture frame border?
- Will I need a breaker board?
Breaker boards can assist with keeping waste costs down as well as providing a more appealing visual if your decking area is longer than that of a single board.
Leave some budget for possible additional materials
Boards are not the only thing to consider when budgeting the cost of composite decking. Make sure you budget for joists, fixings and pedestals – if you are going to use them – along with accessories such as LED deck lights, balustrades, or stairs. With natural timber, you would also need to factor in final treatments and sealants.
With most composites like NewTechWood, you don’t have to do anything other than lay the board before sitting back and enjoying it. This is because NewTechWood boards are protected by the patented Ultrashield capping, which requires no maintenance other than to keep it clean as you would keep any of your other flooring.
Ready to start
If you have invested in a composite timber deck, make sure you read the manufacturer’s installation guidelines before you begin. It cannot be stressed how important this is. If you have NewTechWood, you can easily access all install guides online.
Here are some tips for building your composite decks:
- If you are using deck footings as opposed to decking pedestals, dig holes for the footings and pour in the concrete. Allow this to cure for at least 24 hours before continuing.
- Make sure your deck is level with the subframe right from the beginning – using a chalk line can help with this. With capped composites, only ever use white chalk on the actual decking, as coloured chalk can cause staining.
- We recommend using a protective sealant on cut ends that are likely to be exposed to a lot of water, such as around pool edges. The joists themselves can be protected with a dark coloured joist tape.
- When laying composite decking, you should avoid irregular butt joints due to the contraction and expansion experienced. Breaker boards can come in handy here, providing a neat solution to this natural phenomenon by helping to minimize the appearance of expansion and contraction.
These tips aren’t necessarily ground-breaking, but you’d be surprised how things like this can be overlooked in one’s eagerness to get a deck laid.
For NewTechWood customers, we have our expert team always ready to assist with your install enquiries and provide technical support. Contact us to get your deck sorted today.