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A Guide to Outdoor Decking

Outdoor decking can be a transformative, naturally beautiful addition to any home, blending utility with aesthetic appeal to create a versatile outdoor space. Perfect for dining, entertaining, or simply a spot on which to unwind and enjoy the view; a well-constructed deck can both enhance the enjoyment of your outdoor space and add significant value to your property. 

Here at Fountain Timber, we supply a wide range of high-quality Scandinavian timber decking boards, Millboard composite decking and natural bamboo decking, alongside a comprehensive selection of decking accessories. From posts and joists to balustrading rails and spindles, we have everything you need to bring your decking project to life. To help assist you on your journey to creating the perfect outdoor decking space for your garden, we’ve put together a handy guide:

Choosing the right materials for your decking

Functionality and aesthetic appeal

brushwood decking

Selecting the right materials is the first step in creating your ideal outdoor decking. Fountain Timber offers an extensive collection of both traditional timber and Millboard wood-free composite decking. Our Scandinavian timber decking boards and anti-slip decking boards are known for their durability and aesthetic appeal, making them a popular choice for those looking to add a natural touch to their outdoor space. For those seeking a low-maintenance alternative, our composite decking provides the look and feel of wood without the upkeep. Whatever your style or budget, we have the decking solution to suit your needs.

Millboard decking installation guide

gripsure decking
brushwood decking

Planning your deck

Things to consider

Embarking on a decking project requires careful planning and consideration. A clear plan ensures a smooth construction process and helps you better achieve the desired outcome. Start by assessing your available space and determining the size and shape of your deck. Consider how you intend to use the area, whether for dining, relaxing, or entertaining, and plan accordingly. Paying attention to details such as sunlight exposure and privacy at this stage can greatly enhance the functionality and enjoyment of your finished deck.

millwood driftwood decking
fencing project

Preparing the ground for your decking

Airflow and drainage issues

The success of any decking project lies in the preparation of the ground. Address any drainage issues in the area to prevent water accumulation under your deck. Proper airflow around the construction is crucial to avoid dampness and prolong the life of your deck. Mark out your deck area accurately using builder's lines and ensure it is perfectly square for a professional finish. A simple technique to achieve a right angle is the 3'-4'-5' triangle method, ensuring your deck's corners are precisely 90 degrees.

decking with wooden bench
decking with water feature

Raised deck or ground-level deck?

Choosing the right deck

  Building a ground-level deck

A ground-level deck serves as a seamless extension of your living space, offering a flat and stable area for outdoor activities. When installing a deck on a non-concrete surface, it's vital to lay a sturdy frame on patio slabs to ensure stability and prevent sinking. Using 150 x 47mm joist timbers, construct a robust frame and secure it with galvanised nails, maintaining a 400mm centre for optimal support.

  Building a raised deck

Raised or elevated decks add dimension to your garden, providing a raised platform to enjoy views and a sense of openness. Such projects, especially those exceeding 600mm in height, may require professional assistance to ensure safety and compliance with building regulations. The foundation of a raised deck relies on securely anchored posts, which should be buried to at least half their length and set in concrete for stability.

raised decking
contemporary decking

Safety and structural support

Joists, balustrading and posts

Joist and deck board installation 

The spacing and installation of joists and deck boards are critical for the deck's longevity and appearance. Space joists at 400mm centres for a strong support structure. Deck boards should be pre-drilled and fixed at right angles to the joists, allowing slight spacing between each board for drainage and ventilation.

Adding balustrading to your decking

Balustrading is a vital component for enhancing the safety of your deck, especially for elevated structures, while also adding an element of design and character. Adhere to building regulations by ensuring balustrades are at least 1.1 metres high on elevated decks, and consider the style of spindles and rails to complement your overall decking design.

Installing newel posts for your decking

Newel posts form the cornerstone of your balustrading system, providing structural support and stability. Secure these posts firmly to the joists, ensuring they are positioned to allow fastening on two sides for added strength.

decking joists
balustrade for decking

Creating steps for your decking

Improve accessibility and aesthetics

Incorporating steps into your decking design improves accessibility and connects the deck seamlessly with the rest of your garden or outdoor space. Ensure the steps are evenly spaced and securely fixed, with treads overhanging each side for a polished look.

For stair construction, place the stair strings at right angles to the deck, cutting the base as needed for a stable foundation. The strings should be fixed with galvanised brackets or joist hangers within 400mm centres. When installing treads, use 63mm screws to attach them through the top of the deck board, ensuring a 30mm overhang on each side and treating all cut ends with a preservative for durability.

steps for decking
steps for raised decking

How can we help?

Fountain Timber is committed to supporting your decking project every step of the way. Our team of experienced professionals is on hand to provide advice and assistance, ensuring your decking project runs smoothly. With the right planning, materials, and care, your outdoor decking will become a beautiful extension of your home, providing years of enjoyment and added value.

As ever, this article shares insights and general advice with good intentions. Following this information is entirely at your discretion, and it's wise to consult a professional if uncertain. Should you need more help with your purchase, our team is here to assist you.

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