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How to guide: decking your garden

Garden decking has been a must-have ever since Alan Titchmarsh and Charlie Dimmock took over our TV screens in Ground Force back in the 1990s. With the help of Tommy the builder, they made it look easy – but as anyone who’s ever tried laying their own garden decking will know – it isn’t. Unless you follow a how to guide like this one…

1. First things first, you’ll need to measure out the space where you intend to put your decking. Use string and pegs to mark out the area in the ground, or if you’re laying your decking over a patio you can use chalk. If you’re putting decking down above bare ground, make sure you weed it first then put down a weed-proof membrane so you don’t get any regrowth which will later spoil your decked area. Cover the membrane with gravel and you’re ready for the next stage.

2. Now you’ve measured up you’ll need to cut and position your decking joists. Cut the joists to the size needed to create the frame for your decking area. You’ll then need to fill the frame with floor joists which need to be 400mm apart. Before you go ahead and cut the joists make sure you mark the points where they will fit inside the frame. Once you’ve measured and cut your frame and joists, put them in place but don’t screw them just yet…

3. Before you do anything – make sure you’ve got a spirit level handy so you can check your joists are level as you proceed with screwing the frame and floor joists together. For this, it’s advisable to use countersunk screws in already-drilled holes. 70mm screws are best and you should use three at each end of the joist to ensure they’re solid and sturdy.

4. Once your frame and joists are all screwed together, it’s time to lay the decking boards. Place the boards at a right angle to the direction of the joists so that you have a framework to screw the boards to. Start on the outside of the deck and ensure your board is level with the outer edge of the frame. To fix the boards to the frame use two 50mm countersunk screws in ready-made holes. Screw them at each joist and work your way across the frame, ensuring you leave a gap of about 3-5mm between each board. It’s important to leave a gap so the wood can ‘breathe’ and expand if necessary. If you don’t leave gaps you could end up with buckled decking.

5. Now your decking has been laid it’s time to give it the finishing touch. Firstly, make sure you treat the cut ends of the joists and decking boards with a wood preservative. This is vital if you want to keep rot at bay. Secondly, invest in a product like Ronseal decking stain. This decking oil by Ronseal is a must-have if you want to make sure your decking will last you well. It’s a really simple treatment that’s available in a variety of colours, and will protect your wood decking from greying, scuffs and scratches and the harsh conditions of the Great British weather. Now you’re ready to…

6. Sit back and enjoy your decking…

This guide for decking has been created by Ronseal, written by Amy Rich.



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