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How to Lay Decking

If you want to know how to lay decking, you have come to the right place. Laying decking can be done quickly and efficiently when you follow certain guidelines.

It is important to remember that each deck will be different in its structure as it is dependent on the amount of space underneath the deck. There are three types of decking, including a Ground Level Deck, Multi-Level Deck, and a Raised Deck. Decks for sloping ground can incorporate features of both the raised deck and ground level deck.

So what exactly sets these decking structures apart?

A Ground Level Deck is built close to ground level with the timber bearers which support the deck boards being laid directly onto paving slabs.

When installing supports for a Ground Deck, the joists need to be rested directly onto a suitable foundation pad. This could be a building block or a 50mm thick paving slab.

Place the slab onto a bed of sand, sand/cement mix or lean mix concrete. Then fix timbers of the same size between the joists, to prevent them from twisting. These ‘noggins’ as they are known are staggered to enable them to be nailed into position through the joist and into the end of the noggin.

A Multi-Level Deck however, is laid out to give several levels. This is sometimes done to suit the conditions of the site or simply just to add interest to a garden.

A Raised Deck is supported above ground level by being attached to timber legs. You can usually access the decking area by steps, stairs or a ramp. To install supports for a raised deck, dig a hole in the preferred place and put an uncut end of a post in the hole.

Then concrete around the post, considering the height of the depth required. This will depend on the height out of the ground but remember not to place concrete under the post as this creates a pocket for the water to collect. The depth required usually ranges between 300mm and 750mm.

Laying Deck Boards – Top Tips

  • Each board requires two fixing screws where is crosses each joist. Just make sure that you use deck fixing screws which are galvanised and will not rust. You will not need to pre-drill deck boards when using proprietary deck screws, apart from those fixings adjacent to board ends.
  • Leave a 5 or 6mm gap between each board as this allows for drainage, and seasonal swelling and shrinkage. When fitting around newel posts, keep this gap for a neat finish.

  • We recommend using geotextile membrane to be laid under decking if weed growth is likely to be an issue. Before laying geotextile membrane, remember to scrape back the majority of the grass. Peg down the landscaping fabric or cover it with sand or shingle to keep it still.

    Find out more about installing geotextile membrane by visiting our helpful guide.

  • If you are planning on fitting balustrade, install your newel posts before laying decking. Ideally fix your newel posts in at least two or three directions.

  • The height of the handrail and spindles will depend on how far the deck surface is off the ground. According to building regulations, ‘low-level’ decks up to 600mm from ground level should have a handrail and spindles at a height of 900mm.

    The height should be 1100mm for ‘high-level’ decks over 600mm high.


  • If you found this guide helpful, don't forget to also take a look at our colour stain ideas for a little inspiration. You will have the perfect garden decking in no time!

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