A timber deck can bring a whole new dimension to your lifestyle property. It can seamlessly integrate indoor and outdoor living spaces. It also looks good and feels comfortable underfoot.
With outdoor living becoming an integral part of the Australian and New Zealand lifestyle, incorporating high performance timber decking into designs is critical. A deck, patio and outdoor structures professional can help you choose the right materials.
Choosing the Right Material
A construction project’s success depends on the materials used in its construction. It’s vital to choose the right material to ensure that it will hold up well against various factors, such as climate and regional conditions. It’s also important to consider the mechanical properties of the material, which include stiffness, strength, and toughness.
A good decking Warkworth company will ensure that the materials they use are of a high quality. They should always look for locally available options and avoid purchasing foreign products, which can be expensive and difficult to import. This will save on shipping costs and make the building process easier and faster.
Hire a local deck and patio specialist to help you create an outdoor living space that suits your needs. These contractors will survey your backyard and home to come up with a design that complements your exterior, while being structurally sound. They will recommend sizes, heights, and construction materials that suit your budget and lifestyle.
Digging the Footings
Footings are essential to support the weight of a deck. If they’re not large enough or built properly, the deck could collapse. It’s also common for local building departments to require footings as part of a deck permit application.
There are a few different ways to construct deck footings. Many professional builders use Bobcat equipment with hydraulic augers to dig holes for the footings, but this method isn’t practical for everyone. Some locations, such as fenced in yards or steep slopes, can’t be reached with this type of machinery.
The most common way to build deck footings is by digging a hole and pouring concrete into it. It’s important to make sure the hole is a few inches below the frost line. Doing this prevents frost heave, which happens when the ground freezes and lifts the deck. This can cause the deck to detach from a house or even collapse. Alternatively, you can use screw piles to build your deck.
Installing the Beams
Depending on the deck design, it may be necessary to install beams for support. These are usually a little heavier than joists, and they are a vital component of any deck, ensuring its stability and safety. They also add a decorative touch to the structure.
Before installing a deck beam, carefully inspect it to make sure it is level and stable. Use a level tool to assess the entire surface and look for any unevenness or slopes. Also, feel around for any areas that appear unstable or flex excessively.
Once you are satisfied with the levelness of the deck beam, mount it to the ledger board. You can use joist hangers or direct bolts for this purpose, but follow the manufacturer’s fastener specifications. It’s also a good idea to install a “Z”-shaped flashing above the ledger, which helps shed water and prevent damage. Finally, attach post caps to the top of each support post. This not only provides a clean, finished appearance but also helps protect the posts from weather damage and rot.
Installing the Posts
The posts are the backbone of your deck. They’re what supports the joists and beams, and they’re what connects to the ledger if you’re using one. Most wood decks are built with six-by-six posts.
For a solid connection, the posts must be anchored to the footings and ledger with joist hangers or Simpson Strong Tie steel framing connectors. These can be used on both new and existing decks.
It’s also important to note that local building codes may call for different post installation methods than were used in the past. For instance, some require that 45-degree corner posts be notched and nailed to the outside of the deck frame.
Use a carpenter’s level to check that the deck is plumb before installing the posts and joists. If your posts are wet or the base doesn’t fit the bottom of the post, try using a wood rasp to shave down each side of the post to make it a better fit.