Category: Installation

How to Calculate How Many Decking Boards I Need

M. John

Ensuring you get your decking board calculation correctly is important. If you want to build a deck using Ultra Decking composite boards, you will need to know the number of boards required to complete your project. This will also help you to determine how much you need to budget.

If you don’t know how to calculate how many ultra decking boards you will need, read this article to know how.

Calculating Your Decking Boards

The simplest way to determine how much decking you will need is to calculate it yourself or use an online decking calculator. However, some other factors need to be considered to determine the exact number of boards needed.

You will need to know the square meterage of your decking area and also consider how the design layout of your decking could affect how many decking boards you will need. Don’t forget to add 5% to 10% for wastage if your decking design is complex or includes diagonal or curved shapes and cuts. You will also need to know the size of the composite decking boards you plan to use.
You can use a calculator to calculate the number of decking boards you need. The first step to take if you want to calculate the number of composite or wood decking boards for making your deck is to determine your deck size. How large do you want your deck to be? Do you want it small or big? Estimate the dimensions of your deck to know its size.

Use a tape measure to discover the length and width of your deck. Once you know the length and its width, multiply both together to determine the deck area.

Next, you also need to know the lengths of the decking board you want to use. Most wood and composite decking boards have different board lengths that range from 2.4m, 3m, 3.6m & 4m. The widths of composite decking boards range from 120mm up to 160mm and wider. Once you get the board length you want, choose your joist spacing. Most joist spacings are 30cm (300mm) to 0cm (400mm) in the centre, depending on whether your decking is for residential or commercial use. For commercial use joists and centres can be from 20cm (200mm). This should be checked with the composite decking manufacturer or supplier.

If your decking is for residential use, choose a joist spacing of 30cm (300mm) in the centre. You should also check any building But for commercial use, choose a spacing of 12 inches in the centre. You should always check with your local authority for any building regulations to determine adequate spacing for your decking joists.

Steps to Calculate the Number of Decking 

You can calculate the number of decking boards you need for your deck project in three simple steps. You will need a jotter, pen and a calculator.

Step One: Estimate the Deck Area

Start by calculating the total area of your deck. You can make use of a calculator to make the calculation easier. Multiply the length and the width of your composite decking to find the area.

Step Two: Calculate the Board Area

Knowing the total area of your deck, proceed to find the total area of the decking board you want to use. Calculating the area of your composite decking is easy. You have to multiply the board length together with its width in centimetres or metres.

For instance, if the length of your decking board is 360 cm (3.6m) and the width is 15cm, multiply by each other to give you the area of your decking board.

Step Three: Calculate the Boards

You can now calculate how many decking boards you will need since you have your deck and board area. To find the number of decking boards you need, divide the total deck area by the board. Your result is the number of decking you will need to complete your decking project. However, it’s advisable to purchase extra decking boards to account for waste. In addition to that, it is also good to purchase extra fasteners for your decking.

For example: A total deck area of 5sqm x 4sqm = 20sqm

You will then work out the board’s sqm value by converting all to millimetres. To do this, multiply the length of the board by 1000; for example, if you have a 3.6m board, this = 3600mm. You then multiply the width of the board by mm, which a high percentage of board dimension will already be quoted in millimetres. For example, our home choice premier is 3.6m by 140mm, which would be 3600mm x 140mm Multiplying these together = 504,000 sqm, then divide by 1 million, which will give you the board’s sqm value which in this instance is 0.504sqm. Always round up, even if you do not have a single number.

Then lastly, you can calculate by taking the sqm area of 20sqm and the board’s sqm value of 0.504 and then dividing.

20/0.504 = 39.68, always round up providing 40 boards; please note this does not include wastage, and it’s always advisable to add wastage of 5 % and 15% with designs requiring unique shapes and cuts.

The next method of calculating how many decking boards you will require is using the width of the boards. Again convert width to mm if not already provided. With this example, we will use home choice premier again at 140mm width.

Convert the metres to millimetres by multiplying by 1000. With this method, you need to convert to mm where the boards are running the width of the decking; For example, if your boards are running parallel to the 5m area, the boards will run the width of the 4m, so covert this to mm which x 1000 = 4000mm

Now you are almost ready, don’t forget the clips; if you are using 3mm, clips add 3mm to each 140mm board width.

Now you ready 4000mm divided by 143mm = 27.97 always round up = 28

Now covert to linear metres. 28 x the length 5m = 140 linear metre then / (divide by 3.6 boards length) = 38.888 =39 boards

These are the two ways of calculating. In our experience, the first option is always the best unless you have an exact width, like 4m or 5m, etc.

Conclusion

If you want to build a deck, it is good to calculate how many decking boards you will need. Follow the simple steps in this article to calculate the number of decking needed for your next project.

How Far Apart Should You Place Your Joists?

M. John

Composite decking is the leading choice for homeowners. Composite materials are a durable and beautiful decking option made from recycled plastic and reclaimed wood. Not only is it reliable, but it’s eco-friendly as well. Aside from that, it’s also cheaper than regular decking when compared in the long term.

Another great thing about composite decking is the ease of installation. You don’t need to cut, treat, or sand the materials. Instead, you can immediately start working with them. In some cases, you can also have the materials measured and customised. One of the best conveniences of using composite materials is that they don’t require any complicated foundation. You don’t have to lay a solid foundation or set up concrete for your composite decking. Instead, you will only need a basic joist frame to act as the foundation.

However, here’s what is confusing for many people: how close should joists be when using composite materials?

A strong foundation is the first step to a well-built decking. To ensure long-lasting composite decking, the precise placing of the deck joists is crucial. If you want to install decking in your outdoor space, you should place the joists accurately. This article will shed light on joist spacing for composite decking. It will also discuss how far apart you should place your joists.

What Are Decking Floor Joists?

Deck joists are horizontal beams that make up the frame that supports the deck. The joists are important to perfect the deck. It functions as a support for the deck, ensuring that the decking weight is evenly distributed. When building your decking, you have to place the deck joists correctly and ensure they are properly spaced apart.

How Far Apart Should You Place Your Joists

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Why Is Joist Spacing Important?

Joist spacing is very crucial in decking buildings. Correct spacing of the joists will prevent your ultra-decking from sagging. If the decking joists are placed too far apart, it will cause the composite decking to spring and sag. In addition, if the joist height is not equal to each other, it can also cause an uneven decking surface. To keep that from happening, appropriate spacing of the joists is important as they serve as the foundation for the deck. If the foundation is not installed properly, it will surely affect the decking. The decking space should not be too far apart, nor should it be too close. So, how far apart should you install your decking joist?

How Far Apart Should You Place Your Joists?

Most composite decking manufacturers have guidelines on the length of joist spacing for their decking. When you purchase a decking, you should ask your supplier or manufacturer what are the decking joists guidelines during installation. So, how far apart should you place the joists? Subject to the brand of composite decking you choose, some manufacturers recommend maximum joist spacing of 30cm (300mm) on centres, 35cm (350mm) on centre and 40cm (400cm) on centre. When installing the joists, you must follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. There are various guidelines for placing joists for different decking sizes and brands.

Additionally, joist spacing also depends on the angle and length of your decking. Some brands recommend 40cm (400mm) at the centre for 90 degree angles. And also, 35cm (350mm) on the centre for 30-degree angles and 30cm (300mm) for 45-degree angles.

For residential decking, the joist space should not exceed 30cm (300mm), as measured in the centre. But if you want a more rigid feel for your decking, you can space the joists 20cm (200cm) in the centre. Please note: Lower joists centres will require additional accessories. Additionally, for commercial decking, the standard joist spacing is 20cm (200mm) in the centre using either a circular hollow or solid core composite decking board to compensate for the additional footfall and weight. Some areas in the UK have building regulations for deck joist spacing. You should always check for the recommended joist building regulations if required with your local authority to know exactly the appropriate joist spacing for composite decking and how the joists should be correctly installed?

Tips For Properly Installing Composite Decking Joist

First, when placing a joist for composite decking, you should ensure that the joist is level. You can do that by running a string line across the top of the joists. If any of the joists are too high these should be cut to the same level as the others. For any joists that are lower add shims to make them level.

Secondly, you should ensure that the joist is structurally sound. You can do this by using blocking to support the joist. Blocking involves installing small pieces of wood between the joists. It increases rigidity, and it also prevents sagging or twisting of the joist.

Lastly, you should cross-check your work. Check for protruding nails and screws. Take your time to inspect the joist can add to the lifespan of your decking. Always check your work to ensure the joists are properly placed.

Conclusion

Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Depending on the brand and type of composite decking purchased the manufacturers guidelines for joist spacing can vary from product to product.

How Do You Hide the Ends of Composite Decking

Henry A

Exposed ends of ultra decking can be unsightly. Furthermore, exposing them can cause several problems to your deckings, such as warping and weathering. For this reason, hiding them is almost always necessary and recommended. The question is, how do you hide the ends of composite decking? There are several ways to go about it. Some options include picture framing, installing fascia boards, coating the ends with paint, using end caps and plugs, or edging your ground-level deck with stone. Read on to learn more about each option to find out which is best for you.

Composite decking

Use Picture Framing

Picture framing is one of the most popular ways of hiding the ends of composite decking. It is similar to how a picture frame looks. You will outline the decking with a trim board installed in the same manner as the decking boards. For the deck side with exposed decking board ends, you will need to install blocking to support the trim boards. Besides the corners, you can also use picture framing to frame or section areas within your decking.

Install Fascia Boards

Installing fascia boards is a common practice to hide the ends of composite decking boards. Like picture framing, it gives the decking a stylish and sleek look while hiding the exposed ends. The difference is that you will install it on the sides, directly over the edges and the rim joists. However, for ground-level decking, you will need to prevent poor ventilation. For better aesthetic results, you can also use a differently-coloured fascia board to create contrast for your decking.

hide the ends of decking.

Apply Paint

Another easy and quick way to conceal the discoloured ends of your decking boards is by using paint. All you need is a paintbrush or a roller, and you’re all set. You don’t need more preparation and planning. You can find several paint varieties that protect the board’s ends and effectively hide them. Some composite decking brands even sell compatible paint to match the colour of their decking boards. The downside is that you may be unable to find an exact matching colour. While effortless and fast, it’s also not as aesthetically pleasing as the other options.

Use Specially Designed Caps

There is an option to hide the ends specially designed for hollowed decking boards. Many manufacturers design a cap that fits perfectly and is snug on the boards’ ends. You only need to plug it in and secure it with a mallet. The downside is finding an end cap that will fit any brand of decking boards is hard. In most cases, if the decking board brand you are using doesn’t produce them, you’ll be better off choosing between the other options.

Corner Trims

Corner trims are L-shaped pieces of material that sit on top and the side edges of your composite decking. Not only does it cover the ends well, but it also hides the grooved sides of your decking boards. You can find several varieties of corner trims. To create contrast, you can select a darker or lighter shade than your composite decking boards.

Edge Your Decking

For ground-level decking where fascia, trim boards or other methods won’t work, you can try edging your decking with various materials. For instance, you can surround the edges of your decking with stone bricks or gravel. Not only will it create a backdrop and frame your deck, but it also improves water drainage and prevents ground contact.

Screw end strips to the edges are similar to the picture framing method but without the extra joist and block framing. It is more durable than a veneer and does not require extra framing to support the WPC ends, unlike the picture framing technique. You can do this by attaching a layer of a composite board and screwing it to the ends of the decking to create a finished look.

Vinyl stair nosing is another way to finish composite deck ends. Composite decking owners can install vinyl stair nosing on their decking easily. A person can do this easily by rolling out the vinyl stair nosing and trimming it to the required size. Then, fasten it to the composite decking with a screw or glue after trimming it. The vinyl stair nosing creates a border around the decking as the colour of the vinyl nosing is different to the decking. The colour contrast created by the nosing also reduces accidental steps off the decking.

All of the options described are great deck finishes. If you are in the process of planning your new composite decking, it is the best time to add picture framing to the layout. Picture framing is optional if your deck only needs finishing touches. Another reason you may want to finish the edges of your composite decking is for safety. The border can be a visual cue for people stepping on and off the decking area, especially when placed on the stairs or the edge of the deck.

Can Composite Decking Overhang?

Henry A

Leaving a slight overhang is a common practice in deck building. Overhanging is letting the boards extend past the decking frame. Letting your deck overhang has both advantages and disadvantages. Many builders design wood decking to overhang, but can you do it on ultradecking composite as well? On this page we will answer this question and others like, what are the benefits and drawbacks of overhanging? How much overhang should your decking have?

overhanging composite deckboard

Can Composite Decking Overhang?

Like any other decking, you can design composite decking to have an overhang. However, it should be part of your deck planning and layout design. You can create an overhang using several methods. For instance, after installing the decking boards, you may opt to leave a few inches off the boards. Another alternative is to set up picture framing, leaving a slight extension. In any case, you will need to include it in your decking plan design.

How Much Can a Composite Decking Overhang

While it is a common practice in construction, many still wonder how much decking can extend over the edge. The answer, however, is far from simple. Several factors determine how much you can overhang a composite decking.

First of all, you will need to consult your local building regulations when it comes to overhangs. There may be a specific instruction or requirement depending on the area where you live. However, in some cases, there is no such specific regulation. What then? The rest is up to the manufacturers instructions and guidelines. Manufacturers may also test their products to see how much their boards can overhang. Some brands may use third-party inspectors for testing. Once testing is done, they can release information regarding their decking products. For instance, Trex recommends a 102mm maximum allowable overhang for their decking boards.

If there are no clear instructions from the local building regulations or the board’s manufacturers, there are other ways to determine maximum overhang. As a general rule of thumb, an overhang should not exceed 25mm. For wood decking boards, it ranges from 1/4″ to 1 3/4″ inches. If you plan to picture frame your decking, many recommend an inch of overhang.

For composites, many consider 1 inch as the ideal measurement. However, hollow composites don’t have as much tensile strength as lumber. For this reason, many leave only 1 inch or below of overhang or flush the decking boards entirely. If you plan to install fascia boards, you can overhang the composite decking boards by 1 inch before attaching the fascia boards.

Benefits of Overhang

As mentioned, there are several benefits of overhanging your decking boards as opposed to flushing them. One of the main reasons why many extend their decking over the subframe is due to aesthetics. It drastically improves the appearance of your composite decking. It also slightly hides the outer joist of the decking. For elevated decks with stairs, overhangs also create a flawless transition between the stair nosing and the decking boards.

Another crucial reason to overhang is to protect your substructure from moisture. If you have a wooden frame, water damage is one of the biggest concerns. Extending the decking boards past the edges help redirect water from rain, snow, or spillage away from your decking frame. In doing so, you can maintain your deck’s structural integrity, making it last longer.

Disadvantages of Overhang

While there are several advantages of overhanging your composite decking boards, there are also a few disadvantages that you may need to consider. For instance, composite decking boards may leave unsightly and unappealing end cuts. Producing cleaner and smoother cuts to composites may prove difficult without the right tools.

Another issue is that the cut ends of composites may be susceptible to several problems. While composites are water-resistant, these cut ends are more exposed to the elements than normal.  The exposed ends could absorb moisture, causing the decking boards to warp or increase mould growth. Not only are the decking boards affected, but the frame as well.

Whilst overhanging of composite decking boards is a popular choice, you run the risk, especially with hollow composite decking boards of reducing the boards structural integrity possibly leading to snapping, breakage and potential accidents.

If you intend to overhang your composite decking boards, there are some ways you can bypass these disadvantages. For instance, you can use sealants and end caps to protect the cut ends. Not only will this hide the unsightly or rough edges, but it will also shield the boards from moisture.

Should You Overhang Your Composite Decking?

You can overhang composite decking, which improves the deck’s appearance. Besides aesthetics, it can also help prevent moisture damage and protect the decking boards and the subframe. However, you may want to check in with your local building regulations and manufacturer’s manual for instructions regarding overhangs. In general, it should not exceed 25mm to ensure safety.

What Kind of Screws Should I Use for Composite Decking

Henry A

What kind of screw should I use for composite decking? Screws vary in style and size. Choosing the right one for your ultra decking may be one of the most important decisions you will need to make. It can contribute to a safer, more durable, and more structurally stable composite decking. If you have wondered which kind of screws and fasteners to use, here are some of your options.

Composite deck screw

Type of Screw for Composite Deckings

Traditional Wood Decking Screws

In most cases, you can use traditional wood screws for deckings. When it comes to installation, most composite decking boards are similar to wood boards. However, you will want to make sure you are using decking screws. Deck screws are more weather-resistant and corrosion-resistant than ordinary screws.

Screws vary in length. As a general rule of thumb, the screw should penetrate 2/3 to 3/4 deep into the base or bottom material. For composite decking, you will need at least 2 1/2-inch screws. Screws also have different diameters, from 1/16 inch (#0) to 5/16 inch (#20). For general decking purposes, you can use a 5/32-inch-wide screw (#10).

Composite Decking Screws

screws for decking

While you can use traditional wood decking screws, there are better options that you can pick from. Instead of using wood screws made for wood, consider using decking screws made for composites.

One of the issues with using wood decking screws is their larger heads. Wood decking tends to warp, bend, or cup. Larger-headed screws can cover more surfaces and better hold the boards in place. On the other hand, composites don’t expand as much, but they also shrink. Shrinking and expanding the decking boards can pop out the screw heads. Not only are they unattractive, but they can cause accidents as well.

Composite decking screws are easier to drill into composites. They have smaller heads and better threads for easier drilling. They countersink deep into the wood for a cleaner and smoother finish. Composite decking screws are often high-quality as well. They have the same superior weather and water resistance as the composite boards themselves.

Special Fastener Systems

Composite decking boards come in different varieties. In some cases, you will need to use screws and fasteners, depending on the types of composite decking boards you will be using. Composites can either be hollow or solid. Hollowed-out composite decking boards are lighter and cheaper than solid ones. However, you can’t use traditional methods of screwing them into the frame.

Hollow boards have grooves on either side. To install them, you will need to use hidden fasteners. Hidden fasteners systems use clips inserted into the side grooves and drilled into the deck frame. There are several varieties of fastener systems that you can pick. In some instances, some fastener systems are specially designed for a particular brand of composite decking boards.

Always Ask the Manufacturers

If you are building a composite deck, it’s best to read through all the instructions and guidelines supplied with the boards. You may find crucial information regarding what screws to use. Following detailed instructions from your suppliers and manufacturers will ensure the best results. Some companies also have warranty policies regarding screws. If you use the wrong screws, you may end up voiding the warranty.

In conclusion, you can use traditional wood decking screws. But to get the best results, you’ll want to use composite decking screws or fastener systems specially designed for the boards you are using. If you are still unsure, never hesitate to contact your supplier or manufacturer.

What is the Best Way to Cut Composite Decking?

Henry A

Many homeowners are looking into different ways to save money while doing construction projects. This includes installing Ultradecking. With so many guides on the internet on how to do it, one can accomplish it without any professional help. But one of the many concerns when building decking is the preparation of the materials, especially the decking boards. So, what is the best way to cut composite decking boards?

What Type of Saw Do You Need?

When cutting composite decking boards, you will need some tools to do it. What type of saws can you use? Similar to cutting wood, you can use different types of saws depending on the cut you want to achieve.

As with wood, you can use a conventional hand saw to cut composites. But it’s not efficient and will take up a lot of time. You also need to make sure that it’s sharp. So if you are a beginner when it comes to building, now may be the best time to start investing in better tools.

A better option for cutting composites is by using a circular saw. It’s a handheld saw capable of cutting wood, plastics, and composites smoothly. However, it does take a certain amount of skill and experience to handle it by itself. The material you’ll be cutting should be held down by clamps to avoid any accidents. As far as cutting goes, it’s usable but not the best, especially for more precise cuts.

Aside from handheld circular saws, you can also use table saws. Table saws consist of a circular blade fitted under a workbench. Wood, plastic, and composite decking boards are then pushed towards the protruding saw blade, making clean and controlled cuts. It’s the most versatile among all types of saws that you can use for cutting composite decking.

Lastly, there’s the mitre saw. It consists of an adjustable saw blade that can cut precise angle cuts. It’s the best type of saw to make cross-cuts. Furthermore, it also has the most cutting accuracy among all the mentioned saw types. However, you won’t be able to use this type of saw if you plan on ripping wood or composites.

Do You Need a Special Blade to Cut Composite Decking?

There are a few different types of saw blades you can use. For composite decking, you may need to use a specific type of saw blade, depending on the results you are after. For this reason, you may want to get your hands on special blades before you even start your decking project. What are some of the different types of saw blades? Which one should you use?

One way to classify saw blades is their tooth count. Depending on how many teeth a saw blade has, it will produce various cuts and be used for different materials. In general, the more teeth a saw blade has, the smoother the cuts are. What does this mean? Will it cut slower? On the other hand, the fewer the number of teeth, the more material it removes and can cut faster.

Another important factor in choosing a saw blade is its tooth angle, also known as the hook. It refers to the angle of the teeth in regard to the saw blade’s centre line. There are two types of angles, positive and negative. Positive-angled saw blades have teeth leaning forward towards the rotation of the blade, whereas negative-angled saw blades have teeth angled, leaning opposite to the direction of the rotation.

Lastly, there are different saw blade tooth styles. Some types include square type, alternate top-level, and triple chip. Each has its different purposes, namely ripping, cross-cutting, and precision cutting, respectively.

What Type of Saw Blade to Use

When starting a composite decking project, you may need to cut multiple decking boards at a faster rate without compromising accuracy. For this purpose, you may need to use mitre saws, mitre blades, and circular saws. But what type of saw blade should you use? For fast and efficient cutting, you’ll want to get a medium-duty blade. A saw with a medium tooth count will work well for this purpose; however, if you are using the second-generation capped composite decking boards, you will need more teeth to ensure a clean, smooth cut with no hairs or plastics fibres coming off them, how do we know this, as we cut our samples and the more teeth you use when cutting capped composite decking, the better and smoother the cut and look of the sample. You can use a medium tooth count for first-generation boards with no capping. This is our view leaves a good finish but for the perfectionist, use a saw blade with more teeth to get the best cut and finish.

For the later steps of installing composite decking, you may need to make more precise cuts. More so if you are working to create unique decking layouts. You will also need more detailed cuts for stairs and other accessories for the decking. In this case, you will need a saw blade with more teeth.

Another thing that you might need to do is to do cross-cuts on your decking boards. Cross-cutting is the process of sawing the boards along the grains. By using crosscut saw blades, you can produce smooth cuts without splintering or tearing the boards. It’s especially useful if you plan on using grain textured composite decking boards.

Best Way to Cut Composite Decking

how to cut composite decking

So, the question is, what is the best way to cut composite decking? It depends on what type of cut you are aiming for with your decking. For instance, a table saw would be perfect for the job if you want fast and efficient cuts for multiple boards. Many also use this tool to cut decking boards, both wood and composites, along the grains.

Of course, when installing decking, you may also have to make more precise and angled cuts. For this purpose, you can use a table saw or a circular saw to an extent. However, if you want the best way to cut the boards, you’ll want to use a mitre saw.

Another concern is what type of blade to use; as above, we have discussed all the options; however, for this, you may want to look into the board’s manufacturer. They can give you specific instructions regarding what type of saw blades to use. But in general, blades with high tooth count produce smoother cuts, while fewer teeth mean faster sawing. Generally, a medium-duty blade with medium to high tooth count works well.

In general, similar to wood, you can cut composite decking pretty much how you want. As long as you have the proper tools and know what you’re doing, you can create excellent decking board cuts.

How to Cut Decking Boards?

Cutting composites is similar to cutting wood. First, you will need to mark the composites where you like to cut them. Next, depending on the type of cut you want, use the appropriate saw. Make sure to observe safety at all times. For the decking edge, you may want to leave a few inches of allowance. If you do this, you can mark and cut the edge of the entire decking for a smoother and more precise cut.

Chalk

You will also need chalk to mark your decking board before cutting it. The mark will serve as a guide to make you cut your decking perfectly. You can use white chalk to make your decking. They are easier to clean off than coloured ones.

Tape Measure

Another important tool you will need to cut your decking is a tape measure. You will use the tape to measure and mark the wood or composite boards before cutting them. Ensure you mark and measure the decking correctly before you start cutting it. A good rule of thumb is to measure twice and cut once.

In addition, you will also need a clamp to hold the decking board while cutting and a square edge to create a straight mark on your decking.

Steps on How to Cut Decking Boards

Before you start cutting your decking boards, ensure that your tools are at hand.

The steps below will guide you on how to cut your composite or wood decking during installation.

how to cut composite decking

Step 1: Measure and Mark Your Decking Board

The first step to take if you want to cut your decking to size is to measure the decking. Measure the board length and mark it. Mark the decking board with chalk or pencil. You must mark your wood decking straight to create a straight edge. Get a straight edge and use it to draw a straight line on the decking board. After marking your decking, proceed to cut it.

Step 2: Cut Your Decking Board

You can start cutting your wood decking with a circular saw. If you don’t have a circular saw, you can also use a table saw, mitre saw, or hand saw. Please bare in mind the above information on the overall cut and look depending on the tool and amount of teeth. Start cutting the boards by following the chalk mark you make on your decking.

When cutting your decking board, always leave extra length on the decking. If you cut the decking an inch longer than the exact size, you can later use a saw to cut the ends. It is better to add an inch to your decking length than to undercut your decking. When you have finished cutting the decking, start laying them.

Step 3: Install Your Decking

Now that you have finished cutting your decking boards, you can start installing them. Make use of screws or clips to fasten your decking board. Lay the decking boards side by side till you have finished laying the decking board. Then cover the board edge to make it blend well with the board. For more information upon installation, please visit our installation page.

Conclusion

You can cut your decking board to size by making use of a circular saw or hand saw. First, measure the board, then mark it before using a saw to cut it.

What is the Best Timber for Decking Frame?

Henry A

Building and designing a suitable frame is crucial for Ultradecking. Without it, a deck may structurally fail and can lead to many accidents. So, a durable, long-lasting, and stable decking frame is a must for any homeowner or builder. The first thing you will have to decide when building a frame is selecting the appropriate materials. For many years, many preferred using wood over other materials. But with many varieties available, what is the best timber to use for decking frames? 

Best Deck Frame Timbers

Because of how crucial decking frames are, there are only a few suitable timbers for framing. In many places, including the UK, there are various building codes that you have to follow when dealing with this regard. If you wish to build decking, it’s best to check your local building code to ensure safety.

With that said, you have a choice for timber frames. But the question is, which is the best option for you? To determine the best frame timber, you will have to examine all of your options. Here are a few of them.

Softwood Timbers

Many prefer to use softwood timber for decking due to its low cost and availability. However, not all softwood timber varieties are suitable for decking frames. While there are some exceptions, softwoods tend to be less dense and more susceptible to many issues such as moisture and rotting.

A few examples of softwood that you can use for decking framing are cedar and redwood. Cedar and redwood possess a natural resistance to moisture, rotting, and insects despite being a softwood. They are also denser than many other softwood varieties. Within the softwood division, these two are among the most popular. They are even almost comparable to that of average hardwood. Several others are suitable for decking.

Overall, softwood timbers such as cedar and redwood are excellent choices for decking frames. With their resistance to outdoor conditions, you can ensure that they can last for years.

Pressure-Treated Wood

As previously mentioned, not all softwoods are suitable for decking frames. Most tend to be on the less dense side and are more susceptible to issues such as moisture absorption, insect damage, and warping. With that said, they are not entirely unusable. However, before using them, they will need to undergo chemical treatment.

best timber for decking frame

Softwood timbers, often cheaper and lower-quality, must undergo chemical treatment to protect themselves from weather damage and other outdoor conditions. Treated Fir and Pine are some of the most common varieties of pressure-treated wood. The treatment process involves removing all air in the timber and replacing it with chemical preservatives by injecting holes throughout the boards.

Compared to untreated softwoods, pressure-treated are cheaper, as they use more common varieties of wood. They are also slightly better at resisting wood issues, such as moisture damage and insect infestation. Because of this, many have been using it for decking frames.

However, there are a few downsides to them as well. For instance, the chemicals used for treating them are highly toxic to humans and animals. They can’t be disposed of or recycled the same way as untreated wood. Burning them will release toxic fumes, and the chemicals may wear off and cause irritation and damage when coming into skin contact. While resistant to many issues, one of the biggest concerns of pressure-treated wood is cracking and splintering due to the treatment process.

Overall, pressure-treated timber is a cost-efficient choice for people who have some experience in building decking. But for people not used to handling them or prioritizing safety and sustainability.

Other Alternative Choices

Aside from softwood and pressure-treated timber, there are a few less common options that you can choose from. While not preferred as commonly used by others, these options are still suitable for decking framing.

One alternative option is to use hardwood. Hardwood is denser and more dimensionally stable than softwood or pressure-treated lumber. They are also more weather-proof. The downside is that they cost significantly more. With that said, decking frames made out of hardwood will last for a long time.

Another option is to use non-wood framing. Some of the most popular choices are vinyl and composites. Because they are plastic or part-plastic, they have better weather and moisture-proofing.

Follow Your Local Codes

When choosing your decking frame materials, the most crucial thing to do is to check your local building codes. You will find detailed instructions on what are the minimum requirements for the materials that you can use.

In general, pressure-treated timber is one of the best options for decking frames due to its cheap cost. Softwoods such as Cedar and Redwood are good choices for framing as well, especially if you want a more sustainable and safer option. Lastly, there are non-wood alternatives you can also consider, such as composites and vinyl.

Do You Leave Gaps Between Composite Decking Boards?

Henry A

Installing Ultradecking is possible without any professional help, especially if you have prior experience and knowledge in building. However, in the construction process, there are many small yet crucial details that you have to observe and follow. These aspects will affect your decking, especially its longevity and durability. One of the most important things that many forget or don’t realise is to leave gaps between composite decking boards. But the question is, do you need to do it? Why is it so important?

Decking Spacing and Why It’s Important

When you install composite decking, especially if you go the DIY route, you have to remember to leave a gap between composite decking boards. Many people who try to build decking for the first time often forget about this crucial detail. Why is it critical?

One of the main problems with decking is the expansion and shrinking of the decking boards. Composite expands in the heat and contracts in the cold, therefore when installing close attention must be paid to the weather conditions during the installation. All boards will expand when exposed to high temperatures, while others are prone to moisture. However, the former is more common for composite decking boards.

When your decking shrinks, it can cause some accidents in your home. The gaps may become too big that some people may trip when walking on the decking. With too much air, it can also decrease your decking’s resistance to fire.

On the other hand, if there’s not much room for decking boards to expand, which they will eventually do, they can create friction and damage each other. Worst case scenario, due to the pressure from the expansion, the decking boards can warp, twist or even rise away from the substructure and split and crack.

Water Drainage

Aside from that, decking boards that are too close to each other don’t drain water as fast as boards that have sufficient spacing. When cleaning the decking, dirt, pollen, and debris can also get stuck in between the tight spaces of your decking boards. Not only will it promote the growth of moulds and mildew, but it can also be a cause of decking boards warping.

For all the reasons mentioned above, leaving gaps in between your decking boards is critical. It can either damage your decking or preserve its life. To include the correct spaces or gaps between the boards, can improve your decking’s airflow, water drainage, durability, ease of maintenance, and safety. The question that follows is, how do you space your decking boards properly? How can you tell how much space you’ll need to put in between the decking boards?

leave gap between composite decking

How to Space Your Decking Boards Properly

Weather conditions can affect your decking board. In summer, during hot weather, composite decking boards will expand. If there are no spaces/gaps between the decking boards it can lead to warping, even in extreme cases shifting the decking area from its original position.
Therefore, leaving spaces between composite decking boards will allow for thermal expansion helping the boards to expand freely without touching each other and preventing damage.

The kind of fasteners you use for your decking can also affect the size gap between the decking boards. Composite decking uses a hidden fastener system with options of 3mm to 6mm spacing between the boards. These gaps take into consideration that the decking boards and substructure are correctly installed to the manufacturer’s specifications.
For wood decking, the recommendation is to use screws instead of nails to hold the wood decking boards in place. Screws will grip the decking stronger, thereby keeping the board in place when it expands and contracts.

There are two types of spacing for your composite decking boards, namely side-to-side spacing and end-to-end spacing. For side-to-side, you will need to put anywhere from 3mm to 6mm. As for the end-to-end spacing of composite decking boards, you need to have 6mm to 8mm.

Installing Decking in Hot or Cold Weather Conditions.

As previously mentioned, weather conditions do matter when determining the installation and gaps between the decking boards. If your are installing in the summer, it is important to allow the boards to climatise to the weather conditions at your location by allowing up to 48 hours for this. This means in hot weather the decking boards will expand. During installation you can leave a 4-6mm gap end to end as the boards will have most likely expanded in warmer weather conditions.

In cold weather conditions the reverse happens. The decking boards will contract and shrink leaving a larger gap of 8mm plus end to end is a must. This will allow the boards to again freely expand during the summer months, hopefully this will arrive sooner here in the U.K.. If you decide to install below 0 degrees then a larger gap upwards of 10mm would need to be included. Please note many suppliers and manufactures will advise against installing composite decking in very cold conditions

Of course, not all composite decking boards are equal. Because of this, you will need to consider how you’ll space the decking boards. To include how large the gaps between the decking boards need to be. One of the things that you should also consider is how much the decking boards will expand and contract (shrink).

For instance, dark colours such as grey composite decking boards absorb more heat. When it comes to thermal expansion, they can increase in size faster than lighter-coloured boards.  Depending on the brand you’ll be using, some may be more susceptible to expansion than others.

Lastly, when you are installing composite decking, you may need to consult with the boards’ manufacturers. They can give you clear and concise instructions on the building process, including how much gap you will have to put in between the decking boards. Some installation guides may not even require you to put spaces, especially considering how excellent composite decking materials are.

In any case, placing gaps between composite decking boards can either make or break your decking. So you must remember to follow any instructions on how to do them properly.

Can You Use Magic Eraser on a Composite Decking?

Henry A

One of the best-selling points of composite decking is that it is low-maintenance. However, it doesn’t mean that composite deckings don’t need maintenance. Proper care for your decking will go a long way to keeping it at its best quality and extending its already long life span. But with many tools and supplies for cleaning, many homeowners are wondering what to use. For instance, can you use Magic Eraser on composite decking boards?

What is Magic Eraser?

Magic Eraser is one of the most recent innovations in home cleaning. It is a foam-like product of a well-known brand called Mr Clean, but other companies also produce and sell them. But how does it work? And is it an effective cleaner?

Magic Erase is a product made out of melamine foam. As composed of microscopic pores, melamine foam acts as an effective abrasive, trapping dirt and debris in it. Despite being soft, the actual material is hard. Experts compare it with extremely fine sandpaper when it comes to cleaning.

Melamine foam is effective in removing various markings that may be irremovable by other methods of cleaning. For instance, it can wipe off ink, wax, and grease on surfaces such as walls and floors. When using it, it may leave some residue similar to a pencil eraser.

But the question is, is it safe to use Magic Eraser on composite deckings? Will it ruin your decking or not?

cleaning composite decking with magic eraser

Is it Safe to Use on Composite Deckings?

There are many questions regarding the safety of using melamine foam sponges on composite deckings. Since it can remove any dirt, many wonders whether it’s a good idea to use it on deckings.

Since melamine foam works as abrasive cleaners, it can remove grain textures from both wood and composites when used excessively. However, high-quality boards may be tough enough to handle their abrasive nature. For instance, well-known companies, such as Trex and Timbertech, list melamine foam sponges as recommended cleaning tools. They advise the use of these sponges when dealing with deep-seated dirt.

If you are still unsure whether you could use it, you will want to contact your manufacturers. Whether it’s safe to use Magic Eraser or melamine foam sponges or not depends on the manufacturers of the boards you are using. Alternatively, you can test it by yourself. Try using it on a hidden part of your decking or some spare composite decking boards. You can immediately tell whether it’s rough enough to damage the decking or not.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Melamine Sponge

If you are a homeowner looking for ways to clean your decking, you may have considered Master Eraser or melamine foams. While it does have many advantages, it also has a few disadvantages. Before deciding to use it on your composite decking, here are a few things that you can consider.

Advantages 

  1. Melamine sponges are effective in removing deep-seated wood, more so than traditional brushes and scrubs. With its microscopic pores, it traps and wipes off debris and dirt from any surface. And since it’s flexible, it can reach even the deepest and hard-to-reach parts.
  2. Melamine foams are reusable. However, you will want to choose foams that are 100% melamine. Some products only have a thin layer of melamine, which are not as durable and reusable.
  3. They are 100% safe to use. Despite the myth surrounding it when it first came, many experts prove that it doesn’t contain any toxic or harmful materials.
  4. Aside from cleaning surfaces, you can also use Magic Erasers and melamine foams for various purposes. You can remove stains from clothes, polish and remove marks from leather, and wipe clean fibreglass, among other things.

Disadvantages

  1. Prolonged use of the melamine sponges can cause skin damage, especially in kids. If you want the kids to clean using it, ensure supervision, use protective gloves, and limit its use.
  2. Because of its abrasiveness, melamine sponges can damage delicate surfaces. It can cause permanent damage to wood by removing the finishings.
  3. Melamine foam is not biodegradable and does not come cheap. While melamine foams are not too expensive, the cost of buying them will pile up over time. Many recommend cutting it into pieces to conserve it.

Should You Use it on Your Composite Decking?

Magic Eraser or melamine foam can be a useful cleaning tool for your composite decking. With it, you can remove dirt, scuff marks, and other markings on your decking. But if you are unsure whether you should use it, you can contact your manufacturer for advice. You can also test it for yourself.

Can You Put Decking Over Paving Slabs?

Henry A

Ultradecking has become more popular than ever before. More people value having a space for relaxation and living space. You may even consider building one for your home. But what if you already have paving slabs in your backyard? Can you put decking over paving slabs?

Can You Build a Deck Over Paving Slabs?

Many homeowners already have paving slabs on their backyards. But the concern is whether you can install decking over them. Whether you can do it or not depends on many factors. In most cases, however, it’s completely okay to do so. More so if you’re using high-quality materials like composite decking.

However, as previously mentioned, there are things you should consider first before starting to install the deck. For concrete slabs, you have to make sure that it’s in excellent condition. For stone slabs, make sure that every piece is stable and attached to the ground.

Regardless of whether it’s concrete or stone slabs, you have to ensure that there are no problems regarding water pooling, which can be a problem from wooden decking. Another issue that you have to take note of is whether the slabs are level. Not only will it cause instability, but it can also damage the deck and shorten its lifespan.

Lastly, if your patio is in bad condition, it’s best to remove it and create a new foundation altogether. For this, you need to prepare the ground for decking. You can find a lot of guides on how to prepare your deck installation area, depending on what type of decking you are planning to build.

How To Build Decking Over Paving Slabs?

decking over paving slabs

Now with all out of the way, the question is, how can you build a deck over existing concrete or stone slabs? While the process depends on what type of deck you’re planning, you can use these steps as a general idea on how to do it.

Select The Best Material 

One of the most crucial steps in building a deck is selecting the best material, especially if you want to set it on top of paving. Because it’s more likely to be exposed to moisture, you will need to choose a durable, water-resistant, and long-lasting decking. For this purpose, composite decking is one, if not the, best option that you can pick. If you plan to choose other materials, you may need extra protection to assure long life and durability.

Prepare the Installation Area 

Next, you will need to prepare the paving slabs for deck installation. Whether you will set the decking on concrete or paving slabs, you will need to inspect for drainage problems. While it may not affect the deck, especially if you’re using composite decking, it will affect the frame of the deck. For concrete, you can apply a self-levelling compound. You can also plan your decks to be sloped towards one end, away from your home is recommended.

For stone paving slabs, you may need extra protection from weed growth, more so if you plan to build a ground-level deck. You can protect your decking frame by installing a weed barrier or covering the paving slabs and tiles with landscaping fabric. For best results, you may need to add edging to protect further from weed growth.

Build The Frame

The next step is to build an appropriate frame for the deck. You can follow many guides on how to do it. However, there are a few crucial details that you should remember, regardless of what type of decking you are planning to build. One of them is joist spacing. For decking, you want to have at least 16 inches on centre joist spacing. Any more than that can cause the decking boards to sag.

If you plan to build a ground-level deck, it’s also best to choose water-resistant materials for your frame. Most builders will recommend using at least pressure-treated wood. You can also use composite lumber for framing.

Install the Decking Boards

After installing the frame, the last step is to install the decking boards. You will need to follow any specific instructions from your decking board manufacturers. You can also check the internet for more detailed guides on how to do this step.

An easier way to install decks over patio slabs, whether stone or concrete, is by using composite decking tiles. For decking tiles, you won’t need to prepare the installation area. Most tiles will have interlocking clips. They are easy to install and maintain.