Decking 101- All you need to know about decking installation

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Decking installation PI Gardening

With decking, you can make your garden more comfortable and functional. You can transform the appearance and add a lot of value to your outdoor spaces with garden decking.

It takes time and money to make it beautiful. We have broken down the process of how to build decking into easy and manageable steps.

This article provides all the information you need to start with your decking plans so that you can complete this garden project as soon as possible.

What is decking?

Before we get into how to build decking, let’s look at some etymology. The word “decking” comes from the world of ships and indicates a timber platform that is raised above the ground and adjacent to your house. But it is about a lot more than that.

Once you integrate it into your space, it becomes part of your home. It can determine how you spend your free time with some friends, provide an area for youngsters to play or hang out safely, or be a pleasant and relaxing spot overlooking your beautiful garden. This is why you must plan it carefully so you can enjoy the fruit of your labor for a long time.


Decide on the size

Before you think about how to build decking, decide on the size first. Ask yourself what your needs are. What vision do you have for your deck? Do you need a sweet spot for relaxation with your spouse? Or do you want to throw garden parties with a barbecue and so on? The use will determine the dimensions of the decking.

What wood is best for decking?

Wood is very cheap and easily available. That’s why it’s a popular option. One of the most popular options in the context of how to build decking is cedar because it is strong, but light. Cedar also has resins that prevent insects from getting into the wood and eating it.

If you want to add finesse but not give up the high performance, you can choose oak decking. It is pretty affordable and combines excellent durability and aesthetics.

Composite material is getting even more popular than wood and it’s also less slippery. It is a mixture of plastics and timber. This material is great if you would prevent rotting and insects from degrading the material. It is durable and maintains a good appearance. Another benefit of composite decking material is that it needs little to no maintenance.

How long does decking last?

Closely related to the choice of material is the durability of the decking. Wooden decking has the shortest durability as it is an organic material, and it is subject to moist damage, warping, moulding, and rotting. An average lifespan of a wooden deck is around 10 to 15 years.

It depends on the kind of wood and the rigorous schedule of maintenance – every six months. Composite decking lasts for about 25 to 30 years, while polymer decking lasts for 50 years and more. The colour of composite decking does not change much even under weathering conditions.

Where to buy decking?

Before you tackle how to build decking, let us introduce you to some physical and online retailers of quality decking materials. We at PI Gardening have a list of trusted shops in West and Southwest London that we work with and that offer great options for decking materials:

We have trade discounts for most of them. If you would like help in purchasing and assembling your decking materials, give us a call. PI Gardening will be happy to discuss your decking plans.

DIY or hire a professional?

If you aim to build simple and small decking, you can manage it independently. There are plenty of guides and tutorials that will guide you step by step. However, do this only if you have plenty of time on your hands and are passionate about extensive DIY projects. It will require some planning, calculations, and also energy, and effort. Some of the construction might even demand help from a friend.

It is good to hire an expert if you do not have the skills and willingness to do it as a DIY project or have a more complex task in mind. This way, you’ll learn the secrets of how to build decking. It will save you time. You can add all the features that you fancy, such as a hot tub, multiple layers and levels, and more.

PI Gardening is happy to offer services that allow customers to choose from various designs and materials and plan the best decking installation option for their garden.

Decking installation Kingston

Patio vs. deck?

If you are hesitant about what option to choose, consider the landscape of your backyard, your needs, and the use you will make of the space.

Decking is a structure supported by beams, concrete posts, or joists. It has a base that raises it above ground level. A patio is a ground-level paved area with no need for supporting structures. So if your backyard is relatively level, a patio would be good for you.

Also, this is an excellent option if you would like some privacy from your neighbors as it keeps them from seeing below a certain height. You do not need your yard to be flat for decking, as the supporting structures can regulate this. An advantage over a higher-level patio is that you get a nice view, especially if you have a surrounding natural area.

What to put under decking?

Usually, decking allows rainwater to drip into the space underneath. The direction of the decking boards placement is also a factor and has to be considered. When choosing the materials to use under the decking, you must consider the factor of moisture. If you can afford the cost, you can implement concrete pavement. However, there are less expensive options like a layer of crushed gravel.

If you want to keep weeds at bay, you can place a barrier cloth underneath. Gravel allows the ground to absorb the soil and is easy on the eyes. You can also use the space for plastic garden equipment or toys.

Do I need planning permission for decking?

According to the current regulations, there is no need for planning permission if the decking is not raised more than 30 cm above ground level and if, together with other outside facilities, it does not cover more than 50% of the whole garden area that belongs to the house.

However, most decking platforms are more than 30cm above the ground, which makes it necessary to apply for permission for the decking structure.
Decking installation PI Gardening

Maintaining your deck

You need to do some planned maintenance of your decking to sustain its nice appearance for a long time.

How to clean decking?

As an outdoor structure, it comes as no surprise that your deck will collect some dust, dirt, and debris over time and the issue of how to clean the decking will surface. It is enough to jet wash it or steam it from time to time. You can also hire a contractor to clean your decking using professional equipment. They can handle more resistant stains and lichens and do a deeper cleaning of the deck using pressure washing.

PI Gardening offers deck cleaning with professional pressure washing equipment. For more information about how to clean decking, click on the preceding link.

When to oil new decking?

Brand new decking or decking treated recently is good as is for about six months. In that time, all existing treatment will fade away and when you apply the new layer of oil, it can get deep into the wood. The best thing to do is wash your decking and leave it dry for a couple of days. The weather must be suitable too.

It should not be rainy, but it is not advisable to oil it in hot weather either as it can impact the oil and its penetration into the wood. Springtime can be a perfect season for oiling your decking. Oiling preserves the most natural look of the wooden decking while adding a subtle colour that beautifies it.

Unlike paint, oiling does not crack when the wooden deck contracts and expands due to temperature changes.

How to treat decking?

Oiling your decking is not the only option available. Depending on the look you would like to give your decking, there are several other options for protection and maintenance.


Paining your decking is one option. You can decide on the colour you would like – and some decking paints can fill in small holes and seal splinters. However, paint can be susceptible to cracking.


If you prefer to maintain a more natural-looking decking, you may use staining. It protects the decking from weathering while maintaining a shiny natural colour.

Why is my decking paint peeling off?

Several factors may lead to cracking and peeling paint. Sometimes, it depends on the paint’s quality. Low quality can cause problems. The method of application also matters. Painting over dirt, mould, or debris can result in cracking and peeling shortly thereafter.

However, the worst enemy of paint is humidity. If you paint your decking while not completely dry, water vapor will inevitably separate the paint and the decking wood very soon. Top-quality stains and paints, paired with the best tools and application techniques, guarantee several years of impeccable finish.

Building a decking and maintaining it to the best of your ability might seem like an overwhelming endeavour, but with proper planning and professional help, it can become an easy task. Decking is a good investment that will improve your quality of life. Your decks will provide you with relaxing moments of sunshine and leisure. All you need to do is get started – PI Gardening can help!

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