Many homeowners are considering outdoor decking to make their homes spacious and give a luxurious look. On the other end, hdb flats are taking up balcony spaces to create an excellent space to relax away from the confinement of the interior space of the house. These spaces are perfect points to pass the sunny afternoons reading your favorite magazine, or watching the birds.
In Singapore, people use different decking options outdoors and their classification is based on the material used to make the decks. There are natural wood decks, eco wood decks, and composite wood decks. Installing these outdoor decks can be a DIY process if you love doing such projects. However, you can seek services from firms that specialize in decks for a quote, plan, and layout. All in all, here are the dos and don’ts when installing outdoor decking:
•Before installing your outdoor deck, ensure you have a building permit from the relevant local authority to ensure that all the safety standards are adhered to and maintained to ensure the home or flat occupants are safe, the environment surrounding it and the general public.
•All the materials you intend to use for installation must also be approved to ensure they are of good quality and meet the construction standards. Decks are good for aesthetics and adding more space to your premise but can be dangerous if recklessly installed especially using substandard material.
•The deck area should be laid out with durable strings and stakes and plastic sheets should be laid down to prevent the growth of unwanted vegetation and weeds that will make the space beneath the deck look unsightly, dark and be a breeding place for pests and dangerous animals like snakes.
•Bolt the deck directly to the house using waterproof connections and airspaces for drainage using washers in between the house and the ledgers that will prevent moisture buildup that may lead to the growth of mold, mildew, and rotting of the decks especially if they are made of wood. This will make the deck unsafe for use because frequent damage by water makes the deck weak and can easily break causing serious injuries to people around or damage property.
•Pressure treat all the lumbers of the ledger and all the framing members every time you are installing outdoor decks.
•All the fasteners and hardware that you need to use should be stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized to prevent any chances of rusting that can pose a high risk of safety issues to persons and property around.
•A one-inch spade bit should be used to countersink screws to provide a flush surface on which you can use to connect the joists of the deck.
•The heads of the ledger screws should be sealed with silicone caulk.
•Use flashing for protection on the ledger connection to bar water intrusion that in turn prevents accumulation of water behind the ledger that causes rotting and makes the deck collapse after the screws pull away from the rotten wood.
•Use beams made from two large pieces of lumber to support the deck joists and use metal hurricane brackets to connect the deck joists to the beam.
•The deck boards should be notched so that they fit around rail posts. Run them wild right over the deck frame edge. Trim them all later after completing the installation.
•When installing pressure treated decks, using a ring shank nails and a pneumatic framing nailer for an easy task.
•To prevent the wood grain from splitting, predrill the ends of deck boards before going ahead to fast
•This adds to neatness and helps you save the cost, time and mess of using filers and sealers that may end up leaving unsightly marks on your deck.
•Don’t get into outdoor decking installation without planning to avoid financial surprises, poor construction or legal action if you decide to do this on your own without getting permits from the local authority’s construction department.
•Do not install decks on footers that aren’t dug deep enough or on the wrong footers. This compromises on the safety of the house occupants, the surrounding environment, and the general public.
•Don’t go for cheap material with the intentions of saving. There are many different materials from wood to composite and other materials accepted in Singapore. Do a comparison of all the choices available for your location and get the high-grade ones to allow for safety and approval of quality before a go-ahead on installation.
•Do not install the ledger board with iron screws. This applies to all hardware and screws you are using for installing the entire deck. Iron rusts very fast and this poses a risk of the deck collapsing in case water frequently gets to your deck and the wooden material begins to rot.
•Do not skimp on flashing and using bolts on the ledgers to ensure stability and durability of the deck.
•Do not assume the manufacturer’s instructions on any hardware or material you buy for outdoor decking. There is a reason the instructions are indicated which most of the time are for safety measures and precautions.
•Don’t miss including a spacing unit when installing the deck to prevent damage by water and debris.
•Do not use a different material of hardware when using metal on your decks. When using metals in your decks, use hardware of the same material and fasteners too. If you are using stainless steel as hardware, use nails made of stainless steel.
•Do not make attachments to the cantilever. Ledgers that are attached to the band joist of the cantilevered floor often collapse. No matter how you flash or bolt, this will not help. For cantilevers, it is advisable to build freestanding decks or the deck joists can be run through your cantilever so that they can bear on the foundation or the wall of the house.
•Don’t add loads on decks that are not designed for loads such as hot bathtubs that may weigh down the deck. This is a way of maintaining safety.