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Planning a Deck

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Thanks to Decking ideas Ltd. for providing photographs on this page of some of their constructions.

The real value of a deck is perhaps the versatility. Decks can go where no patio ever could!Decks are probably more suited to DIY than patios but your skills need to extend quite a bit further than putting up shelves. If any part of the deck is more than 60 cm above ground level, then you need to at least consult a builder if not call in the professionals to do it all.

A deck consists of a substantial sub-frame topped with hardwood or softwood decking boards. Unlike patios, even "ground-level" decks are raised at least 6 inches due to the sub-frame.

Decks can be relatively easy to construct on different levels as supporting posts are dug-in and cemented in place with the deck itself fastened to these above ground. There isn't too much digging to do and ground levelling is usually unnecessary. If you do this, make sure that each level of deck gives you a useful and useable area. 

    Softwood boards - These should be pressure treated with a preservative (tannalised)  and ought to come with a 10 - 15 year guarantee. Do not use untreated timber, even if a preservative is painted on, it won't get deep enough into the wood.

Once built the deck can be stained almost any colour. Don't go too mad though, bright colours, jaunty music and speeded up action may make good television, but living with bright pinks and yellows long term is a different prospect. Any stain you  paint on the deck is best regarded as cosmetic, it will certainly help preserve the wood, but it's no substitute for tannalised timber. You will also need to re-apply any cosmetic stains every so often as it will fade and wear off particularly in heavily trafficked areas.

Softwood will usually be cheaper than the hardwood alternative, though there is often surprisingly little difference in overall price due to the cost of the sub-frame and labour which are the same whatever boards are laid on top.

    Hardwood boards - These do not need preserving in the way that softwoods do, though open end-grain should be sealed where cut. They are frequently darker in colour than softwood. Anyone even considering applying a coloured stain to a hardwood deck should be forced to have their whole house "made over" by over-enthusiastic publicity seeking interior designers on acid. (In my humble opinion). The finish of hardwood boards is very clean and high quality, they are the equivalent of the highest quality patio slabs.

Relative costs - decks



More expensive

Ground level


Elevated / split levels

Simple shapes


Complex shapes

Open area


Trees / posts in deck



Fence edging

Basic softwood Quality softwood Basic hardwood

Oak, Teak etc.


Placing piles for a deck over water.Decks can go where no patio ever could, and this is possibly their greatest asset. Here a deck is being installed to connect a waterfront house to the river. Definitely a job for the professionals. Over the water, proper piles must be sunk to provide a solid foundation for the deck above. The last thing you want is for the platform to start sinking!
Deck framework, part over water part over land.Once the framework of the over-water part is complete, the frame of the shore portion can be constructed.  

Note the firmly planted metal brackets (in concrete) used to secure the hefty frame members. The sub-frame is built to similar standards as the floorboards in the upstairs part of a house.

Completed deck with balustrading and steps.The finished article, and very special it looks too! This shows the true versatility of decks. Here the deck had been constructed to act as a landing stage with good sized seating / entertaining areas. Decks can be used as in this case to make use of space where the ground is sloping and very uneven. As the deck is supported on above the ground rather than resting on it, then problems of levelling the ground and possibly building a retaining wall simply don't arise.

Photographs on this page courtesy of Decking ideas Ltd.

Find a contractor to supply and fit a deck   |   How to build a deck

Decking Supplies

Reversible Treated Deck Board Smooth/Grooved Pack Of 60 Green Treated (L)3600 x (W)144 x (T)28mm

Reversible Treated Deck Board Smooth/Grooved
2.4m Deck Board each £5.98
3.6m Deck Board each £8.58
4.8m Deck Board each £13.48
Pack Of 20 Deck Board 2.4m £107.60
Pack Of 20 Deck Board 3.6m £169.60
Pack Of 20 Deck Board 4.8m £206.60
Pack of 120 Deck Board 3.6m £895.38

144mm wide and 28 mm thick Deck Boards for you to cut to fit.
To build a deck from scratch you'll need a firm base.

Treated Decking Joists Green Treated (L)3600 x (W)144 x (T)44mm

Decking Joist Green Treated 2.4m each £3.48
Decking Joists Pack Of 20 3.6m - £365.88

Green treated decking joists 144mm wide and 44mm thick, use to build a firm base for your deck.

Softwood Treated Deck Pack Green Treated (L)3600 x (W)2400 x (T)17mmPre-treated Decking Kit Packs:
3.6m x 2.4m  £407.98
4.8m x 2.4m  £501.98
3.6m x 3.6m  £509.28
4.8m x 3.6m  £622.68

Treated Reversible Deck Boards: Thickness - 28mm, Treated Decking Joists: Thickness - 44mm, Width - 144mm, To build a deck from scratch you'll need a firm base. High quality Finnforest Deck Boards & joists will give you a quality deck that has been manufactured to last, 15 year manufacturer's guarantee against rot and insect attack

Easy Build Deck Kit Green Treated 2.05m x 2.1m - £270.98

If you're looking for a high quality deck but don't have the time or skills, then look no further than this ingenious interlocking deck kit, The timbers are machined so that they slot together and interlock.

Timbadeck Decking Screws 4.0 x 65mm Pack of 100  £3.65
Timbadeck Decking Screws 4.0 x 75mm Pack of 100  £3.95
Timbadeck Decking Screws 4.0 x 85mm Pack of 100  £4.25
Timbadeck Decking Screws Bucket 4.0 x 65mm Pack of 1300  £19.99

Coated high grade steel for extended life. Sharp point, sharp thread and reduced shank allow easy driving without splitting wood. For timber decking and other external timber applications. Prodrive recess. Bugle head. It is recommended to use stainless steel decking screws with pilot holes when installing hardwood decking.

Deck-Tite Screw Bucket 8ga x 2" (4.5 x 63mm) Pack of 1000  £29.60


Dewalt 18V Combi DrillCordless Drill / Drivers

Titan TTD272DDH 14.4V Ni-Cd Drill Driver  £44.99
Erbauer ERD182DDH 14V Drill Driver  £84.99
Makita 6281DWPE3 14.4V Cordless Drill Driver  £149.99

1500w Circular SawCircular Power Saws

Direct Power DPB212CSW 185mm Circular Saw 230V  £29.99
Erbauer PSC1585L 185mm Circular Saw 230V  £69.99
Sparky TK 65 185mm Circular Saw 240V  £99.99

Prices for guidance only, correct at time of writing, subject to change

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