Lay Easy Maintenance Decking
Transform a sandy no-go zone into a maintenance-free outdoor living space using manufactured boards.
When the owners of this beachside home extended up and back, they needed to cut into the sloping block, resulting in a change of level between the house and backyard.
A timber retaining wall was installed, but a solution needed to be found for the 1500mm wide strip of rubble that remained between the back of the house and the retaining wall.
The owners decided to cover the gap by building a timber deck matching the floor level of the home, extending from the back of the house to the retaining wall.
A low 15.6 x 1.5m deck was designed to be built DIY using H3 treated pine for the ledgers and joists, and H4 treated pine for the in-ground stump posts.
Choosing the type of decking to lay was an important decision. The deck had to be tough enough to withstand year-round exposure to the elements and the rigours of three young children playing on it, while being low maintenance.
The deck plan
The treated pine framing was clad with Ekodeck, an engineered composite decking material from Ekologix (ekologix.com.au).
Ekodeck boards come in 5.4m lengths, which worked well with the almost 16m long deck area.
Composite boards are extremely durable and easy-care, requiring neither oiling nor painting.
Made of natural fibres, including bamboo with reclaimed timber and recycled plastic, this product range is available in four colours with boards either 137mm or 88mm wide.
When planning a deck, ensure the timber sizes, spans and spacings meet Australian standards and check with council whether approvals are needed.
If using manufactured boards like Ekodeck, carefully read the manufacturer’s installation guide before commencing any work.
A 6mm gap is needed between Ekodeck boards. Cut 20 spacers from 70 x 35mm scrap timber with a circular saw. Use 4mm spacers for the butt-joined ends. To prevent the boards from mushrooming, countersink all pilot holes.
In warm climates, predrill holes slightly larger than the screw diameter, minimising joist penetration.
This will allow for any increased movement caused by expansion and contraction.
TIP Nailing is not recommended for composite boards.