Gather your supplies
For each 1116mm² deck:
- 1 base frame kit (we used the 140mm-high frame)
- 1113 x 555mm ready-made decking panels (2) or decking timber (see notes below)
- 75mm galvanised batten screws
- Cold galvanising primer
- 65mm treated pine screws
- 40mm-thick concrete pavers
- To create a larger connected deck, you may also need: 75mm Type 17 hex head screws; decking for side cladding.
- For higher decks, you may also need: timber for droppers; leg support heads; legs.
- Instead of ready-made decking panels, you can cut your own to suit and use it as long lengths, as long as you lay it across base frame joists.
- Feet must be supported on concrete surface or use 40mm-thick pavers as pads to spread the load if installing over grass or earth.
Measure size and height of desired deck, then buy or order required number of module kits, decking, legs, leg supports and hardware. Working upside down, make first base frame by screwing long joists with predrilled holes to shorter joists. You will need sixteen 75mm batten screws to join and to predrill into end grain of short joists first.
The use of legs depends on height of deck. For lowest level, use threaded support feet with knock-in tubes that fit in predrilled holes in long joists. As threads are steel, pre-treat them against corrosion using cold galvanising primer. Knock in tubes and screw feet in place. The spare nut is used to lock feet at a certain height.
Make up all other base frames as needed. For decks 170-300mm from the ground, you only need support feet, but for decks up to 820mm you will need a combination of legs (available in various lengths up to 460mm) and leg support heads. Put a frame on its side and attach a leg support head to corners of frame and add legs to get height you need. Whatever your design, make sure step height between various levels is always the same as it has to be safe. Where you will be joining frames together, only use 1 leg to support all frames meeting at that corner.
Using a spirit level and threaded support feet, adjust height at each corner so deck will be level. When correct, tighten nut to lock foot in place. For lowest position, remove locking nut before screwing thread into tube.
Attach ready-made decking panels to frame, using eight 65mm treated pine screws for each panel.
Keep adding decking panels and joining frames, gradually adding to deck as you go. Join frames by screwing joists together using six 75mm Type 17 hex screws. Where you step up to a higher level, rest new level on lower level and join with a pair of 90 x 45 x 270mm timber step connectors screwed to inside of frame so they will be 30mm below decking level.
Finish with vertical face cladding fixed to droppers (see pics on page 84). The droppers are made of 2 pieces, one 90mm by thickness of joists (here, 35mm) plus 90 x 45mm. Screw together to form a 140 x 35mm housing at top and screw to inside of frames. Screw cladding to droppers.
Click here for vertical screen instructions.
Project 2: Compact courtyard deck
Gather your supplies
- Posts 90 x 90mm
- H4 treated pine
- Wall plate, bearers, joists and step frames 90 x 45mm
- H3 treated pine
- Decking 130 x 19mm blackbutt decking
You’ll also need
Hired demolition hammer and saw; stringlines; spirit level; post hole digger; quick-set concrete; bolt down post stirrups; drill; 10mm masonry drill bit; 50 and 100mm galvanised masonry anchors; hammer; socket and ratchet; 50 and 85mm galvanised batten screws; circular saw; combination square; framing nail gun and nails; 90 x 45mm joist hangers; timber connector nails; countersinking drill bit; 50mm stainless steel decking screws; chalkline; 4mm plastic spacer; track saw; natural decking oil; lambswool applicator.
If it’s required, demolish any concrete steps or remove concrete from planned garden beds using a hired demolition hammer. Cut concrete using a hired demolition saw.
Set out the deck using stringlines. Make sure ends of the deck are square, and sides parallel to the house. Use the 3-4-5 rule to check for square.
Determine level of deck frame, working from existing back step (about 150-180mm is a comfortable step height). Once you work out the height of your finished deck, deduct thickness of decking board to find top of joist. Draw level line along wall at this point.
Mark post positions for bearers along sides of deck and for intermediate bearers between these. For 90 x 45mm bearers, space posts no more than 1m apart. Bearers should be spaced no more than 1.8m apart for 90 x 45mm joists.
Where posts will sit in natural ground, use post hole digger to dig 500mm deep holes for each post. Sit over-length posts in holes so they meet the stringline and make plumb. Set posts in position using quick-set concrete.
Where posts will sit on concrete, put stirrups on concrete and mark position of fixings through holes in stirrups. Remove stirrups and drill 70mm deep holes at each point with 10mm masonry drill bit. Remove dust from holes.
Reposition stirrups, thread 50mm masonry anchors through washers and tap into drilled holes. Tighten using a socket and ratchet.
Sit overheight posts in stirrups and make plumb. Predrill and screw through stirrups into post using 50mm batten screws.
Attach wall plate to house at joist level drawn on wall in Step 3. Use 100mm masonry anchors.
Transfer level from underside of wall plate on wall to top of posts. Cut off posts at this level using a circular saw. Also cut a 90mm deep and 45mm wide notch in the posts to accept the bearer.
Cut and fit bearers into notch on posts. Predrill and screw together with 85mm batten screws using 2 screws per post.
Mark out top of bearers for joists using a combination square. Make the gap between the joists no greater than 400mm. Sit joists on bearers and nail together. Where deck extends to the house, make joists butt into the wall plate, nail to hold, then support using joist hangers. Attach joist hangers using timber connector nails.
Cut and fit blocking between the joists where they sit on the bearer. Stagger the blocks to make nailing through joists into blocks easier.
Construct frames for steps. Make depth of steps to suit a full number of boards plus a 3mm gap between them and the width about 1100mm. Install step frames so height of the steps is even between the deck and surface level at the bottom. Temporarily prop step frames, then support using posts as you did for the deck.
Screw first board to the deck flush with the end. Predrill using a countersinking drill bit, then screw board to deck using decking screws. Use 2 screws per joist. Join boards over a joist.
Along the end joists, measure and mark points 535mm from the board already fixed. Stretch a chalkline between these points and flick to mark top of all joists. Fix a board to the joists so the edge meets this line and the board is sitting between this line and the board already fixed.
Cut boards and fit them between those already laid, overhanging them off ends of the deck. To make sure screws are straight, stretch a chalkline between the screws on the boards fixed and flick to mark the line. Use 4mm plastic spacer between boards to make gaps between them even then predrill and screw boards to joists along drawn line.
Repeat Steps 16 and 17 to continue fixing boards all the way across deck. If required, cut the board adjacent to the house wall along its length with a circular saw to fit.
Use a track saw to cut off boards overhanging the ends flush with ends of the joists. If you don’t have a track saw, use a circular saw and a straightedge to act as a guide for it.
Attach boards vertically along the sides of the deck to hide the framing.
Lay decking and face boards on the steps. Start with the top step so you can notch the boards on the bottom step to run around the top.
Sweep deck to remove dirt and marks from chalkline. Coat the deck with 2 coats of decking stain with a lambswool applicator. Allow to dry after each coat.