Decking FAQ

Will I be hurting the environment if I have a timber deck ?

Not at all! The sort of wood used in timber decking comes from responsible producers who insist on proper management of their resources.

This involves the conservation of forests through the use of sustainable forest management techniques and renewal through re-planting schemes.

Timber is the only mainstream construction material that originates from a renewable resource and, as a result of the policies mentioned above the amount of productive forest in Europe (from where most decking timber comes) is increasing every year.......>>TO TOP

Can I install my own timber deck, or do I need professional help ?

Using a professional company to install your deck will give you the peace of mind that your deck has been designed and installed to the highest industry standards.

Using a decking professional will give you access to the wealth of designs possible and top advice on finishes and maintenance procedures. Of course it is possible for the DIY-er to tackle decking, although a fair degree of competence is required.......>>TO TOP

How long will my deck last ?

Timber decks are highly durable. That's because naturally durable timber species or pressure-treated softwoods are used in their construction

Modern preservative treatments mean that the timber, if maintained, should be structurally sound for around 25 years. However, to keep it looking good over such a time, it will need periodic cleaning and any finishes will need occasional refreshing......>>TO TOP

What sort of maintenance will my timber deck need ?

A simple programme of routine care and maintenance will really enhance the long-term appearance and durability of your deck.

All decks will benefit from regular brushing with a good stiff broom and around twice a year it would be a good idea to wash your deck down with a pressure spray.

The aim of these exercises is to remove dirt, dead leaves and any slight surface growths. Doing this will also help to reduce slipperiness.

Unless they are stained, all timber decks will gradually fade to a pleasant grey colour and you may be surprised to hear that the preservative used to pressure pre-treat deck timbers and protect them actually slows this process down! You may find it helpful to add a small amount of detergent to the water you use to clean your deck or use one of the specialist timber decking cleaners available.

As your deck timbers weather, small splits are likely to appear on the surface of the boards. These are a response to intermittent wetting and drying of the timber and will have no structural effect whatsoever.

Regular application of surface coatin and specialist deck finishes will reduce the uptake of moisture and consequent swelling and shrinkage. Any product should be used strictly in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.

Clear water repellent coatings will need to be reapplied annually but stains should only need to attended to every few years.

A couple of months after installation it would be prudent to check and tighten any screws and bolts that may have become loose. Some types of timber contain a resin that may exude from the surface of the timber in hot weather and create rings of crusty white powder around knots in the timber.

This resin is not at all harmful and can be removed from the surface of the timber with a stiff brush. It is unlikely that resin will continue to exude after the deck has been through its first summer.......>>TO TOP

How much should I expect to pay for a deck ?

The price of a timber deck will vary enormously depending on the type of wood used, design and area. Other contributing factors will include what is currently where the deck is to be built, height from the ground, inclusion of any options such as balustrading and access. As a very basic guideline, expect to pay in the region of £60/sq metre for installed softwood, but please bear in mind the factors as mentioned above......>>TO TOP

Can I personalise my deck ?

Yes - timber decks can be customised to your own decorative or stylistic tastes.

Stain your deck to practically any colour you like, whether one of a huge range of natural wood colours - or in a bright fashion shade. Similarly, the choice of additional design features - balustrades, pergolas, trellises, steps and so on - is almost infinite.

The nice thing about timber decking is that it can be extended, or another level or feature added in the future to enhance your enjoyment.......>>TO TOP

Are the treatments used in protecting softwood decking timber in any way harmful ?

No. Timber decking is entirely safe - even for pets and plants.

The strictly controlled process of impregnating the timber means that the preservative substances found in decking are 'locked' into the wood - even when in contact with water.......>>TO TOP

Are there any publications about decking ?

The TDA (Timber Decking Association) publishes a Manual for professional designers and installers which covers everything to do with deck construction including species selection, span tables and strength classifications.

The Manual sets the standard for best practice deck design and installation and can be purchased from the TDA Secretary's office for £29.99 including postage.......>>TO TOP

Where can I site my deck ?

Timber decks are marvellously flexible structures that can be located to suit you, your family and the property you live in.

Whether you want to enjoy your deck in a sunny open site, have it as a garden island a combined balcony and veranda, or in an intimate, shady spot - it's up to you.

However, in order to get the most benefit from your deck you should some thought to where you locate it.

Things to consider include: Will the deck get the sun at the time of day when I want to be using it? Do I want to be shaded from the sun in high summer? Will adjacent trees or buildings block the sun from my deck? Will people in those buildings invade my privacy and will those trees drop their leaves on my deck? Will I be protected from prevailing winds? Can I see and hear my children playing on the deck?

Whether used for relaxing, entertaining, dining or as a play space for children decks are superbly versatile and aesthetic extensions to the home.......>>TO TOP

Aren't decks slippery when wet?

Timber decks, like other flat surfaces can be slippery when wet - but there are lots of things you can do to reduce the chance of anyone having slipping and hurting themselves.

Things to think of include: Using grooved or ribbed deck boards instead of smooth ones. Choose wide deck boards and ensure that the gap between individual boards is sufficient to allow water to drain quickly away from the surface of the deck

Plan your deck carefully - if you place it complete in the shade under trees and bushes, mildew, algae and moss - the surface growths that make all surfaces slippery - will develop more quickly.

Carry out regular cleaning and maintenance (see next question)......>>TO TOP

Softwood decking set on the diagonal and pergola Standard softwood decking Another deck covering sloping ground Hardwood Deck

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West Sussex

RH19 1LP

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