A guide to DIY decking

By Jessica Ball

Home improvement is high on the isolation to-do list for many.

With people finding time to tackle the often overlooked larger projects, particularly in their back yard, a deck might sound like a good idea.

But Mooroopna Hardware's trade manager Jarrod Dempster said it was not as simple as waking up one day, deciding to build a deck and then being able to sit back and enjoy it by knock-off time.

He said there were a few things people needed to consider before getting started:

1. Make a plan.

Planning and preparation are key to a good deck.

Mr Dempster said it was crucial to start by creating a design, drawing up a plan, getting a quote and checking if you need council approval before getting on the tools.

While a deck may be a DIY project for some, for others a builder or handyman might be a better option.

2. Solid foundations.

A deck is only as good as its foundations and Mr Dempster said the sub-floor was the most important stage of the build.

He recommended spending the time ensuring the stumps, bearer and joists were done right including a maximum of 450 mm between the all-important joists.

“All your sub-floor needs to be done correctly,” he said.

“Once that's all good and level, away you go with the decking.”

3. Choose your decking.

There are a few options when it comes to decking: treated pine, merbau, and ModWood — a composite plastic timber that comes in a range of colours.

Mr Dempster said they all came in various thicknesses.

“It really depends on your budget — treated pine is the cheapest option,” he said.

The type of decking used will determine what type of screws are best.

4. The finish.

Treated pine and merbau can be treated and sealed but Mr Dempster said preparation was key.

When construction is complete, clean the deck and let it dry before getting started.

“Once the deck is clean, some might go for a clear sealer or you can change the colour with stain,” he said.

“The general rule is to do a couple of coats ... and a coat every 12 months.”