What is best? DIY or a professional decking install?

Who you choose to install your timber decking, is usually determined by the size and complexity of the project, especially if there’s groundwork involved

Here at Ecochoice, we would suggest that a simple ground-level deck build is suitable as an enjoyable DIY project. 

However, if it is a timber deck build which is raised and involves structural engineering skills – call in the experts.

DIY enthusiasts, as well as most practical handy-types will be capable of building a low-level timber deck. However, when building the deck, it is important to follow the recommendations of your material supplier as well as good practice guidance. After all, you want to ensure your decking will with-stand the winter months and remain fit for purpose for years to come.

For your DIY deck build project:

  • Make sure you plan your deck before making a start. This will limit cutting and wastage and will help you to be accurate when ordering the materials.

  • Will you be laying the deck frame on the ground, on concrete slabs or are you planning footings or pedestals?

  • What materials are you using? Hardwoods perhaps? Or softwoods? Pine and spruce will be the cheaper option but must be properly treated with a wood preservative — as should any cuts in the wood. 

  • When measuring the deck area, remember to factor in gaps of 5-8mm between deck boards into your plans.

  • For decking next to a house, make sure it is 150mm below the damp proof course and do not cover any air bricks.

  • The fall of the frame needs to be 1:100 and running away from the house. This will ensure water run-off and will help to stop the deck from becoming slippery. 

  • Top tip: plan your deck to fit whole deck boards. It is best to avoid having to cut a deck board lengthways to fill a gap.

  • Read more about what to consider when laying a deck.

If, however, you need to enlist the experts, still do your due-diligence. 

When plans include a raised deck or a change in levels, specialist expertise is required to ensure the deck is structurally safe. 

You’ll need a deck installer and engineering expert – or a landscaping company. We would highly recommend that you opt for a specialist professional before a handyman. 

As with anything nowadays there are plenty of ways to check the expertise of a professional. Ask for recommendations from friends or relatives. Spend time doing online research and checking out online reviews. 

When you have found installers to contact, make sure you get several quotes. Then sit back and assess which is the best. It is important not to just focus on price. Instead, focus on their abilities, professionalism, and what others have to say about their skill set. But also make sure that you are comparing quotations on a like for like basis, based on the same specification. 

Good luck with the search.

If you would like to find out more about timber decking, please get in touch. Call us on 0345 638 1340 – or drop us an email at sales@ecochoice.co.uk.

Image: JuneJ / Shutterstock.com




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