Having moved house a few years back, there was a slabbed 'patio' at
the back of the house. Presumably due to the original levels of the
garden, this was laid over a total of 5 levels; with two of the levels
being only a single slab wide. (total area approx 5m x 4m).
The plan was always to deck it off, in order to
- provide a single level on which moving your chair a few inches
didn't result in one leg resting on thin air and topplind sideways.
- remove toddler trip hazards
- reduce injury when said toddlers 'just fall over' despite their
being nothing to trip on.
So; last week I ordered up some timber, a new circular saw, charged up
the batteries and set to it. Here are some (rather disjointed)
thoughts / queries.
Levelling the supporting beams: I found these:
http://www.easyfix.ie/index.php?page Ίtten-acoustic-systems , bought
a load of them, and would highly recommend them for anyone wanting a
fast way to lay a deck over a solid, but uneven base. (just a happy
Supporting beams are 2 layers of 2 x 4 over part; dropping to 2x4 over
2x2 (well supported) and 2x4 on their own where the original 'patio'
Drill driver v Impact Driver
I'm a bit of a tool buyer, and have a dewalt 18v Drill Driver / Impact
driver set. The impact was bought with the expectation of using it on
the deck but as the driver seemed to drive the 90mm TurboGolds without
issue and the Impact driver was so much louder (and seemed to suffer
from 'winding up' the screws rather than driving them) I now wonder
what use I will get from it. Drill driver with 2.6Ah batteries did 700-
odd screws on (I think) 6 charges. Very impressed. I tried driving one
screw the last few mm with a 'normal' hand screwdriver, and could
barely move it.
Edging the deck boards:
I left all the deck boards overhang the end, and cut them all in a
single pass at the end. Resulted in a very nice straight line that
really stands out, I think.
the deck boards shrank noticably over the first night. I laid them
with 3mm gaps as they were quite wet. Gap is now easily 5mm.
I bought a 10 pack of screwfix PZ3 bits, expecting them to be
consumables on a job like this. I finished with the same one I started
with. Is this normal? (I generally take good care of tools, and don't
willfully abuse them, but thought this was strange.)
To those thinking of undertaking building one;
- buy a good screwdriver
- have extra hands to assist with aligning boards.
- plan it well *before* starting
- it took me approx 30 man hours. (two of us; two good screwdrivers
with spare batteries)
(apologies for usign GGroups - I'm at work)
I've just sorted something similar. Concrete, not level, dropped away in
one corner by 6 inches or so.
Digging up the concrete wasn't going to be realistic - 6x3m, anything from 3
to oer 6 inches thick and nowhere to get a skip...
interesting. I built 6 small piers out of brick (well, at the front
it was a couple of paving slabs. Made sure this was level and also
built small piers for the pergola legs - seemed easier than cutting
through the concrete and although I considered using the bolt down
metpost things doing this meant that each upright could be exactly the
I used 2x6 for the frame. It wasn't much more expensive so I went with it.
Across a span of nearly 3m it hardly flexed at all which suprised me. I
added small posts standing on the concrete and then bolted to the deck
frame (8 - 12 inch long depending on the location. 4inch posts).
I've never had a decent leccy screwdriver and used this as a chance
to buy. Wow....
Ended up with
for 120 quid. Very pleased. Only downside is the small capacity batteries
but with three and the included 20 min charger is wasn't really a problem.
Impact driver was fantastic (cheers Dave :)). Driving in 90mm turbogold
bolts with no pilot hole to make the frame. Rather surprised at how many
many battery charges I got through - I'd guess probably 8-10 building the
frame, something similar screwing down the boards.
I was luck that the area was 3m wide and the local timber yard could supply
3m boards so very little cutting was required. The 3m boards they offered
were thicker than most I've seen but that seemed to be fine.
Are the ones I used. Got a better price go going to the yard and presenting
as a local as well ;-)
Can't say I've noticed anything that dramatic - a few of the boards that
weren't screwed down twisted a bit but nothing much.
Heh, exactly the same here. I bought a box of 25 dewalt bits in the screwfix
clearance sale. 24 left in the box, one in the impact driver still fine :-)
Definatly. I'd recommend the impact driver as well tbh. Well pleased with
mine although I guess with a bigger screwdriver it might not have been so
Yep. Essential for getting the pergola uprights straight as well :)
Yep. Google Sketchup was surprisingly easy to get the hang of for mocking
stuff up for SWMBO approval. Not used it in anger before - will certainly
use it again though.
Hmmm... Thinking about it it took me and my dad 5 days to get the bulk of
Just need it to stop raining so I can build a step and a planter at the front
bring it down to the lawn. Then think about some treament possibly. Deck
oil or something... Are you planning on doing anything with yours?
shows the Frame
with some of the boards on it.
Any photos of your handy work? :-)
Hope this helps someone!
To be honest, that frame is neater than most of the jobs I do :-)
Commercially, as long as its functional it doesn't matter too much how it
looks because the boards cover it up. We don't measure noggin spacing for
example, just 'we need 4 in there' & space them by eye.
Dave - The Medway Handyman
On Thu, 11 Jun 2009 07:39:45 +0000, The Medway Handyman wrote:
A common difference between DIY and professional, I think, which possibly
just comes down to time vs. money...
(I built some new shelving / workbenches the other day, and the framework
was a complete work of art - it was frustrating to cover it all up so
that nobody would ever see any of it! :-)
Interesting. Were they very expensive? How do they help level?
Sorry, just to be clear, by '2 layers of 2 x 4' do you mean effectively an
8 x 2 or a 4 x 4 ?
I've only got a 14.4v driver & a 12v impact driver. The 12v ID is much
faster than the 14.4v driver, especially on 6 x 90 Turbo Gold coach screws,
but also on the deck screws.
Never tried an 18v driver. Agreed about the noise with ID's, mind you if
you are doing decking commercially the extra noise impress's the client :-)
Deffo the way to go, thats how I do all of mine. Faster & neater.
Thats what winds me up with the Wickes & B&Q 'how to guides'. They always
mention a gap with no regard for the moisture content of the boards, the
weather or time of year.
Much the same experience, although I use an 8mm nut driver on the coach
screws and now have an autofeed screwdriver with a square drive bit.
'Desmond' & I would have done a 5 x 4m deck in around 2 x 8 hour days and we
build a lot of decks, so you did well.
Dave - The Medway Handyman
I bought them from decksupply.co.uk - a pack of 25 was £35+Vat. They
sell packs of 200 x 3mm shims. So you set up the height you want the
high end at, then simply shim as you go as the ground falls away. The
come in 10 and 30mm heights; packable to another 25mm or so. So they
really only help if your variance on an individial beam/joist is <
One layer of 2x4's running 'along' where the old steps ran; then a
further layer laid across these. The Rubber upstands were used over
every 'node' where the two layers crossed. The lower layer ran
parallel to the long edge (and the house, see pics), the upper layer
was at 500-600 centres (5@500 by the door, then 600's for the rest).
in progress: http://tinypic.com/r/nn14zk/5
Interesting consideration !
I have a kids party this weekend, so time was pretty pressing - there
wasn't much tea or coffee drunk during this one!
(aside: thanks esp to Dave, but also those who raise all the questions
he and others have asked, prompting all who answer on here. I was
wondering at the weekend - has anyone ever asked a question of uk.d-i-
y that no-one could answer?)
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