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4 things to consider when installing a deck

By Emma Smith

Article written by Emma Wheaton

Adding a deck can bring so much value to your home, especially in Australia where outdoor living reigns supreme.

Whether a smaller side deck, pool decking or a big, classic back verandah, a deck extends your living space outdoors and increases the amount of enjoyment you’ll likely get
from your place.

Before you set about installing a new deck, here are a few things to consider first.

1. Check if you need approval
As with most home improvements, it’s a good idea to investigate whether or not you’ll need council approval first.

“A first floor deck, for example, might have regulations on privacy and size,” says Aaron Phillpot, a carpenter who’s worked on a range of projects, from luxury resorts to heritage-listed buildings to new homes and renovations.

2. What do you want from your deck?
Considering your deck’s purpose will help you decide its size.

“Are you going to be adding a barbecue, table and chairs and some greenery? By the time you do this, you may be left with nowhere to stand,” points out Aaron. Likewise, you don’t want to be paying for materials and labour for a ridiculously large deck you hardly use.

It’s important to think ahead, consider why you want a deck and how you’ll likely use the space.

3. Decide on materials and factor in maintenance
You want to make sure you use exterior-grade materials only, says Aaron.

“Remember, the better quality the materials, the greater the longevity of your deck. H3 treated pine joists, rubber joist protection, sustainable hardwood decking and stainless steel screws are the way to go.”

Another thing to factor in is the maintenance. You want to keep your deck looking nice don’t you? Oiling your deck annually will keep the timber in good condition and maintain its original colour, too.

Touted as long-lasting and low maintenance, composite decking materials are another option you may want to look into.

4. Assess if you’re up to the challenge of DIY
While we all love a bit of DIY, some things are best left to the experts.

“Hire a licensed contractor to construct your deck; they have the knowledge, experience and tools do the right job,” suggests Aaron.

“Remember if you do it yourself it could take you five times as long, and the end result may not be everything you imagined.”

TOP TIP: If you are going to tackle the deck yourself, keep your screw lines straight and edges even. “You should run your decking boards long and then cut the ends last. Straight joists will help with straight screw lines,” advises Aaron.

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