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Practicing professionals will try their best to answer any relevant questions you may have. You can do-it-yourself: building a timber deck is really not that hard if you keep it simple. For many homes in bushfire prone areas timber decking is not an option, due to its combustibility. For many houses that have decks on top of one another waterproofing the lower deck can be tricky. There are now under deck ceiling systems on the Australian market that not only waterproof a lower deck but can also redirect rainwater and are easy to remove quickly if required. For simplicity we will assume the deck is square and has a floor level no higher than 300mm off ground level, thus not requiring a balustrade.
Sit down together with your list of requirements, your visual research and the simple plan of your house.
Look at your list and ask yourself "Where on my house plan is there space that meets my list of requirements." You will probably find that no space immediately meets all your requirements, so work with the location that ticks most of the boxes.
Once a location has been decided, you will need to ensure there are no services such as plumbing and electrical running in this area. Design a deck is something you could undertake yourself or you could engage a draftsperson to draw it for you. Make sure you have the correct materials for the job to prevent things like premature corrosion, wood rot and termite damage.
Do not use standard treated pine for decking on the southern side of your home as it will be prone to wood rot. Ensure that your deck is built using galvanised or stainless steel connectors such as nails. Separate the bearers and joists with plastic separators if possible to prevent premature wood rot between these members.
To set out the shape of your deck, measure the depth of the deck off the house wall with a string line and locate a timber stake in the ground for all corners of the deck. Take the long straight piece of timber and prop-up it against the house at a 90 degree angle along the string line, with the long piece of straight timber (95mm end) sitting vertically. Once you can see the concrete start to thicken place the post in the hole, push them down as far as they will go and hold the post until it stands on its own.
Check that your post is completely vertical by holding your spirit level vertically on all four sides of your post. Now get your spirit level, place it on the top of the bearer, and move it up and down a little until it is horizontal.
Note: If you intend to cover your deck with tiles you must provide a fall from the house to the outside of the deck to prevent rainwater entering your home. The engineering drawings will note how often and at what centres you must lay your joists on top of your bearers.
If you are using a timber that is prone to lots of movement and splitting it is wise to drill all ends of the boards and screw them down to the joists.
If your deck is unprotected from rain you will need to provide spacing between the boards of about 5 to 10mm. The connection between your deck and entrance into the house should be scrutinized by a professional to ensure that waterproofing issues have been considered. The deck should be coated with something that will help protect it from the sun, rain, and attack by fungus.


It’s a good idea to get expert advice because there are many types of timber finishes on the market. No matter who builds your deck it will need to be checked by someone with technical or building knowledge.
Undertaking the construction of a simple deck can be a rewarding experience, however if you are looking for a professional, take a look at our directory of local.
The 1200 business categories you can select from include everything from architects to cleaners.
Many homeowners opt to treat their own decking as the use of a professional can be expensive. If you're lucky enough to be able to work from home, then you probably already know how important it is to have the right home office set up.
Why can some people make their home look stylish, cozy or just plain brilliant when others, no matter how hard they try, simply make a mess of it? There is often a need for steps as an access to a deck or for use between decks with different levels. One of the common problems people undertaking a home DIY project will encounter is repairing holes in plaster. This article outlines the DIYers toolkit essentials as well as provides a short guide to buying tools. If your home is in a bushfire prone area or you want a maintenance free timber deck you may like to try a timber composite product. The Timberlast product is made to last and will not rot, splinter or require painting or oiling. In the past if a home owner wanted to waterproof a lower deck 'Colorbond' was fixed to the underside of the upper deck.
Generally, a deck that has a floor level higher that 900mm off natural ground will require council approval. Have a good "Google" around, keep your eyes open when you're out and start to consider what style of deck would best suit your home. Chat to your neighbours about what you have in mind and if privacy becomes an issue, add a screen to the design. If you don't engage a draftsperson you will need to consult an engineer to specify the size of the timber members required for the job.
For a simple square deck you will only need to make one triganometric calculation (see free calculator software here). Vertical set-out is important to ensure the step down from the house to the deck is sufficient. Ensure the top of the timber is lined up with the deck floor level marked on the house cladding. Move the post a bit until all sides of your posts are perfectly straight (with the spirit level bubble in middle). The bearers can be attached directly onto the side of the posts using structural bolts, or the bearers can be notched into the posts using a chisel, then bolted into the post. Normally joists are laid across and on top of the bearers at 450mm centres and then fixed with a galvanised connector plates. You will need to use a spacer of some kind so that the boards have a consistent distance between them. An oil-based coating will enhance the appearance of the timber, stop it splitting, and extend the timber's life.
Use our handy and free online deck cost calculator to estimate the cost of a new timber deck. Learn about 12 most common mistakes home-owners make when the build a deck on their own (DIY).


While stripping the stain oneself will most certainly be involved and time-consuming, the cost benefits can be substantial.First, the surface should be swept and cleared of all debris, such as leaves and twigs. Includes information for traditional timber paling, tubular fencing and rendered panel fencing. This guide will enable you to construct a deck that functions well, is cost effective and durable. It is slip resistant, fade free, easy to install, and the product looks like regular timber decking. This means it will get good sun from morning (sun rising in the east) to the afternoon (sun setting in the west). Stainless steel connectors are only used for builds in highly corrosive locations like beach front and industrial locations. The deck floor level should step down from the internal floor level by at least 75mm to avoid waterproofing problems that may occur due to driving rain. Hold the other end of the timber out from the house 90 degrees, place a spirit level on top of the timber and move it up and down until it is horizontal (the bubble in the level is in the centre). During the placement of each post ensure that your posts stay lined up with each other by checking their position with a string line or the straight piece of timber. The first method is easier, it just costs a little more (for the bolts) and is fine for a deck that's only 300mm off ground level. There are probably purpose-made spacers that can be purchased at your local hardware store but you can just as easily use a bolt or piece of wood that has a thickness of between 5 and 10mm.
Particular notice should be paid to the cracks and crevices in between boards as a lodged leaf will rot and eventually cause the wood to rot as well.Once cleared, apply a liberal amount of chemical stain stripper with a polyester brush, roller, or a pump sprayer.
Decks on the south and west sides of your home will give you extremes in temperature in seasons where they are not wanted and can also make your house hotter by transferring reflected heat into your home. If this area is on a corner of your house, choose the side with better orientation, even if it has less space for a deck. There are ways to construct a deck floor level the same internal floor level, offering a seamless entry, but this is best left to the professionals.
The height of all other deck members including decking joists, whaling board (or ledger - it attaches the house to deck), bearers and posts will all be governed by this vertical level.
Most professional builders will use the notching method because it produces a better quality deck. Ensure that the bearer is at the correct level so that there is enough space above for the joists and decking to meet the floor level that you have decided upon.
Allow the stripper to sit until the color begins to lift, and then scrub along the wood grain with a hard bristle brush. Mix the water and concrete together quickly with a shovel until all the dry concrete mix is a wet but not sloppy. The stain stripper will need to be rinsed with large amounts of water.Although a pressure washer is not necessary, it can eliminate some need for scrubbing, and will speed along the process, particularly with larger decks. Use the length, depth and hypotenuse as noted in the image above and confirm the position of the corner set-out stakes. The decking will require days to thoroughly dry, at which point the surface can then be re-stained.



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