Sunday 17 August 2014

Decking Begins

Seven months ago I put in the bearers and joists for the three decks around the house and now, finally, with the help of my friend Martin we have started to lay the decking. Starting on the tricky curved deck first. The decking is locally milled Ironbark from DIY Timbers at Bomaderry. It is a reddish hardwood and I hope it will last a long time.

With longevity in mind we covered the joists with "Protect a  Deck" black plastic stripping to protect the tops of the treated pine joists.  We also made a last minute decision to add a fascia on the outside of the joists. A decision I am pleased we made as it finishes the deck nicely and helped the layout of that section to be completed using whole decking boards.

Joist protection and fascia in place
The radius of the curve meant that some thought had to go into how the last few boards were going to be supported and this required the addition of some extra blocking on the outer edge of some of the joists.

Edge adjusted to be able to support curved deck
The next tricky job was to work out how to space the boards so that they finished nicely against the edge of the deck and against the house. We ended up laying out the boards to see how they would fit. We used some plastic 3.2mm wedges left over from the window installation to space out the boards. The spacing looked good and fitted the required layout.

Boards laid out to determine spacing
The sliding doors were stepped down and set into the slab, this meant that we had to cut a board down to fit around the walls. With care we were able to finish a whole board against the sliding door. The slab also had a few dags of concrete that had to be removed with an angle grinder so that the board closes to the house sat flat against the lip of the slab and the joists.

Decking cut in to fit to sliding doors.
Many of the decking boards were bowed and needed to be persuaded into position with a sash clamp or crowbar wedged into the ground or pried apart with a chisel, and sometimes they the boards just needed a bit of brute force to push them straight. It was a time consuming job as many boards needed straightening along their length for each set of screws to be put in. The decking is held down with 50mm stainless steel square head screws. The screws were bought on e-bay from Fasteners Galore and came with a "Smart Bit" a drill bit with an integrated countersink, a big time saver, as with the hardwood the screws definitely needed to be countersunk.

Sash clamp and chisels used to straighten decking boards
We oiled the edges and underside of the deck with Intergrain Natural Decking oil as we laid them, as these sections will be inaccessible later and i am keen to make this deck last as long as possible. The top of  the deck will be oiled when completed. Work continued until and a little after dark, but we wanted to finish the long section of the deck and were pleased we did.

Deck completed about 6pm
 We left the decking boards long ready to cut off along the curve when the rest of the deck is made.

Deck in the light of day
Beautiful deck to step out onto
After a day's work decking time was taken off building to walk to The Castle in the Budawangs, west of Milton. A steep and challenging hike was worth it for the adventure and the amazing views.

Panorama from the top
View to Pigeon House Mountain


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