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Your Local North Shore Deck Builder

Why Build a Deck?

A Deck has many benefits over other patio surfaces:

For one it is easy to manipulate the heights of decks as they can be ground level up to many metres above the ground. Be aware any deck over 1.5m on height will require a building consent and any drop of more than a metre below the deck or adjoining stairs will require a compliant balustrade.
Decks are great for hiding difficult areas where there may be unsightly structures and ground levels against the house. This is particularly beneficial for example when there are old stairs or patios which can be costly to remove otherwise as, within reason, a deck can be built over the top of these.
Decks can reduce the need for steps out from the house. Decks can be bought up to sill height where concrete and paved patios need to be a minimum below floor height of 150mm or 225 if unpaved, meaning level changes can be minimised.
Decks can bring the look of inside flooring outside helping further create good indoor-outdoor flow. This is especially the case when they are fixed underneath so nail/screw lines can’t be seen.
Decks are great for installing services such as lighting as cables can be easily run retrospectively where boards can be easily unscrewed and hole-sawed to install rebated lighting

Planning a Deck – What to think about

Firstly, you need to think about the functionality of your deck. In other words, spatial design. Is it simply to get from A to B.? Or is it space that needs to accommodate seating and a BBQ for entertaining your family and friends. If this is the case, careful planning is important.
Any Deck under two metres wide out from a house will become too tight to accommodate a table with chairs and room to remove around. I recommend, if possible, to make a deck at least three metres deep and 4 metres wide and it should be positioned to catch at least the afternoon sun
Secondly, how will the deck connect to the house and the garden. Any step down or up over 200mm can a potential ankle breaker and impede natural flow. Keep level changes to around 150mm which is a more comfortable step. Think about the width of the decking you are using here. Most wide board decking is around 140mm and if you float step fascia by 10mm you can get lights underneath and create a cool effect
You might like to build several decking platforms to break up the space at different levels. Again, think about spatial design (movement within the space). Decking at different levels can create more interesting spaces and can be used to take advantage of onsite level changes.
Remember though, low-lying decks should still have an air gap under the frame which is imperative to allow joists and bearers to breathe and not remain unnecessary wet. A minimum of 100mm is recommended, Where the deck is ramset to concrete or paving put 6mm plastic packers underneath to prevent water sitting between the frame and the concrete.
Also think about permanent seating as opposed to moveable patio chairs and loungers. There are pros and cons of both
Garden planters can also be incorporated into decks to break up spaces, add a green element and privacy to your deck area. I often use the same decking material to clad these to create continuity of materials and keep a modern look.

How long do you want your deck to last? This may depend on how long you envisage staying there. Is it an investment property or a long term hold for the family? This may have a bearing on your budget and therefore, what decking material you will select

Types of decking

Kwila Deck Auckland(resize)

At the cheapest end 90 x 19mm pine merch or premium (clears) decking is available. This can be screwed and nailed.
Be aware this has a very limited lifespan and knots can blow out over time.
Slightly better pine products are 90 x 32mm and 140 x 32mm wide-board pine which can last over 10 years.
I often use wide-board pine for people who don’t want to pay for expense of installing hardwood but want a nice modern look and this product can be stained to look like a hardwood if the right high-quality stain such as CD50 is used. This product can also be gun-nailed which saves on labour costs of drilling and screwing.
At the more expensive end you have Vitex or Kwila, Hardwoods imported from the pacific. These must be predrilled before fixing down and are best screw fixed as deck nails can pop-up over time.

My personal Favourite is wide-board kwila which has beautiful grains and colour. The downside of this material is its propensity to bleed heavily for a few months after installation which can create staining issues with concrete and paved surfaces nearby. However, this can be carefully manged and removed with the right chemicals

wide board pine(resize)
bamboo decking(resize)

Sustainable Bamboo decking is an alternative to this which gives a hardwood finish and is fixed underneath so it appears as a hardwood floor. This product has a 25- year warranty and is flawless.

One down side of this product is that it comes is set lengths so joins can’t be staggered like other Hardwood or Pine decking. And because it has a rebated groove must be ripped or covered to finish exposed edges on facias and mitres

hardwood decking(resize)

Looking after your Deck

It is important to maintain your deck if you want to improve its longevity and appearance.
I recommend letting your new laid deck weather for 6 weeks. Then apply a cleaning/stripping chemical. Most of these contain a percentage of Oxalic acid which removes the grey/silvered surface from your decking boards.
Then apply two coat of a penetrating stain such as CD50 or Sikkens using a deck mop- it’s pretty easy to do. This process should then be every two years minimum.

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