The sun is out, the weather is warming up and it is officially deck building season!
Thor’s Hammer has been supplying decking timber for over 20 years, here are some of our top tips to installing a deck that will last:
1. Use an experienced deck builder who has a proven track record and a reputation to uphold. There are plenty of dodgy deck builders out there.
Or, do the research to make sure you get the design and choice of materials right.
If you go with a cheap option or get the design wrong, the result could easily be that your deck will look fantastic when it is installed, but within a few years it will look like the deck in the photos. There has been no mechanical damage in these photos just wrong design, bad construction methods and a lack of maintenance!
2. Think about building a covered deck. Canberra has very high UV and hot, dry summers and wet cold winters. This is hard on exposed timbers. Covering your deck could save a lot of maintenance and create an outdoor area that is usable for more of the year.
There are some pretty good options for covering a deck. We like good old gal corrugated iron for a verandah style design, and for a translucent option Makrolon Multi UV is a flat polycarbonate sheet that looks awesome.
3. Use ethically sourced timber. Watch out for rainforest timbers like Merbau and Kwila because a lot of that timber has been illegally logged out of a rainforest somewhere in Java. Rainforest logging in South-East Asia is a massive environmental issue both for deforestation and for habitat destruction of rainforest animals. Go for recycled timbers, or keep an eye out for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification.
If these illegally logged rainforest timbers are not used, there will be no demand. If there is no demand, there is no supply and the rainforests will not be destroyed, simple!
4. Space the timbers correctly. New timbers are sometimes laid close together in the expectation they will shrink. Recycled timbers need to be laid at a wider spacing as it is more likely they will expand. We recommend a minimum of a 4mm spacing. This will need to be increased if the deck is close to the ground, or boards wider than 85mm are used. Wider spacing gives more ventilation around the boards and less chance of decay.
5. If you are installing yourself, galvanized screws can be a better option than stainless. We have seen a lot of decks screwed down with stainless where the heads of the screws start to come off after a year or two. Although it doesn’t rust, stainless just doesn’t have the same strength as normal steel. If you do want to use stainless screws, then go for a heavy guage, especially if installing hardwood decking boards.
If nailing, don’t punch the heads. They should be just flush with the surface of the timber. Same goes for countersinking screws. Going deeper just creates a spot for moisture to sit.
6. Stay away from water based finishes. We have seen them trap moisture in the decking boards and cause accelerated decay and a loss of structural strength in the timber. An oil based finish will help the timber repel moisture but still allow the timber to breathe.
7. Check the forums on line to get an idea of other people’s experiences. If you can sift through the bs there is good info on forums like whirpool.net.au, forum.homeone.com.au or renovateforum.com
The Wood Solutions site has good info, if a bit dry and technical. They have a Domestic Timber Deck Design guide at https://www.woodsolutions.com.au/Applications-Products/Decking
There is no better way to enjoy your outdoor space than on a recycled timber deck.
A deck is an investment into the value of your property and your lifestyle and you want it to be looking great in 15 years. It’s worth spending a little extra now to do it properly the first time, if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing right!
Thor’s Hammer salvage timber from old houses, bridges, wharfs, warehouses and telegraph poles to make hard wearing, long lasting decking boards with awesome character.
We make three main kinds of decking boards with different appearances.
We start by sawing old salvaged hardwood roof timbers in half to make 100x22mm boards and then we wire brush the old rough sawn face. This makes a dark, old looking board with heaps of character. (see photos)
Then we can lightly dress the face and dress the edges to make an 85x20mm board. The lightly dressed face means you can see some of the grain and colour of the timber but it still has that more industrial look. (see photos)
Or we can dress the timber clean and pencil round the edges to make an 85x18mm board. (see photos)