Embracing Composite Decking: A Comprehensive Guide to Install and Reimagine Your Garden Space

The Era of Composite Decking

As we all look to create spaces that are functional and appealing, decking has become a vital part of Australian homes, particularly in the vibrant city of Perth. Today, the decking revolution has found a new hero – composite decking. Known for its excellent durability, a wide range of products, and easy maintenance, composite decking provides an eco-friendly alternative to traditional timber decks.

 Understanding the Material: Composite Decking

Composite decking boards are a blend of recycled wood and plastic. This combination offers the natural aesthetics of wood with the added benefits of plastic, such as resistance to rot, splintering, and weathering. They are designed to mimic different varieties of wood, giving you various colour and design options. Unlike timber, composite decking doesn’t require frequent staining or sealing, making it an easy and cost-effective choice for homeowners.

Installing Composite Decking: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Composite deck installation might seem daunting, but proper planning and preparation can be an enjoyable and rewarding DIY project. Follow these steps to transform your backyard into a stunning outdoor living space.

Planning and Designing Your Deck

The first step to installing composite decking is to plan your deck. Determine the size and shape, considering how you’ll use the space. Designing your deck also involves deciding on the colour and finish of your composite decking boards and matching them with the overall aesthetic of your garden. As part of the planning stage, order all necessary materials, including joists, deck boards, clips for direct fixing, screws, and hidden starter clips.

Preparing the Site and Building the Frame

Clear the site and build a solid foundation for your deck. Your deck frame, constructed from sturdy timber joists, should be level and secure. It’s essential that the distance between each beam be no more than 400mm to provide a robust platform for your composite decking.

Installing Your Composite Decking Boards

Start with the first board at the most visible edge of the deck. Please attach it to the frame using unique or hidden starter clips, ensuring it is securely fixed. Repeat this process with the remaining boards, maintaining an even gap for expansion and contraction due to temperature changes. Cut boards to size as needed, and remember to seal the cut ends for enhanced protection.

Finishing Touches

Once all the boards are securely in place, finish off your deck with a clean and tidy perimeter. Cover the exposed ends of the panels and joists with matching composite trim. For safety and aesthetics, consider installing a composite rail around the edge of your deck.

Composite Decking in Garden Ideas: Creating Unique Spaces

From a tranquil retreat to a vibrant entertainment area, your composite deck can transform the ambience of your garden. Here are some decking-in-garden ideas to inspire you.

Sun Decking

Position your composite deck to make the most of Perth’s glorious sunshine. Complement your sun deck with comfortable lounge chairs, vibrant cushions, and a parasol for shade. The easy-to-clean nature of composite decking makes it ideal for this purpose.

Outdoor Dining Area

Bring the indoors out by transforming your composite deck into an alfresco dining area. With the right furniture and a bit of creative flair, you can enjoy meals under the stars in your very own backyard.

Garden Viewing Deck

Create a secluded spot to appreciate your garden’s natural beauty. An elevated composite deck provides a perfect viewing platform and adds an element of design interest.

The Benefits of Choosing Composite Decking

There’s a reason composite decking is becoming the material of choice for many Australian homeowners.

Low Maintenance

One of the great benefits of composite decking is its low maintenance. Unlike wood, it does not require annual painting or staining. Clean it periodically with a mild soapy solution to keep it looking fresh.

Durability

Composite decking is designed to resist fading, staining, scratching, and mould. This makes it a perfect option for high-traffic areas and families with children and pets.

Sustainability

Composite decking boards are made from recycled materials, making them a green alternative to timber. This adds to their appeal, especially for environmentally-conscious homeowners.

Value for Money

Although the upfront cost of composite decking can be higher than timber, it’s a long-term investment. The lack of ongoing maintenance costs and its long lifespan makes composite decking a cost-effective choice in the long run.

The Last Plank

Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or embarking on your first home improvement project, installing composite decking is a manageable task that can significantly enhance your outdoor living space. So, grab your tools, enlist a team if needed, and embark on your composite decking journey. Remember, a well-installed and beautifully designed deck isn’t just about adding value to your home; it’s about creating a space where memories are made. Your garden is waiting for its transformation. It’s time to deck it out!

Deck Joist Spacing: The Key to a Solid Foundation

Deck joist spacing is an integral part of the deck-building process. It directly impacts the deck’s structural integrity and determines how well your composite deck boards will perform over time. Joist spacing for composite decking usually requires shorter intervals than timber decking. As mentioned earlier, the distance between each joist should be at most 400mm to ensure the stability of your composite deck. Using appropriate joist spacing will help avoid any unnecessary flex or bounce in the deck surface, ensuring your deck remains solid, safe, and functional for years.

Direct Fixing or Hidden Fastening System: Making the Right Choice

When installing composite decking, you will decide how to secure your boards: via direct fixing or a hidden fastening system.

Direct Fixing

Direct fixing involves screwing directly through the deck boards into the joists. This approach is relatively straightforward and provides a strong bond between the board and the frame. However, it leaves visible screws on your deck’s surface. While some homeowners are okay with this appearance, others prefer a cleaner finish.

Hidden Fastening System

A hidden fastening system uses special clips placed at each joist that secure the boards without leaving any visible screw heads. While this method may require more work, it provides a smooth, clean surface that many homeowners find visually appealing. Your decision will ultimately depend on your desired appearance and the time you’re willing to spend on installation.

Expansion and Contraction: Planning for Weather Changes

Like other outdoor building materials, composite decking experiences expansion and contraction due to temperature changes. This characteristic must be considered during installation to prevent buckling or gaps. Leave appropriate space at each end and between the deck boards to accommodate this natural movement. Using expansion gaps will ensure that your composite deck maintains its appearance and structural integrity regardless of the weather conditions.

From Start to Finish: Tips for a Successful Composite Decking Installation

While we have discussed the main steps in the installation process, here are a few additional tips to help ensure a successful composite deck install.

Use the Right Tools

Having the right tools can make your job much easier. Composite decking can be cut and shaped using standard woodworking tools. A saw with a fine-tooth blade is ideal for cutting your composite decking boards, ensuring a clean, sharp finish.

 Check Your Deck Board Orientation

Check the orientation of your boards before installation. The side with the groove should face the frame when using hidden clips for a cleaner finish.

Seal Cut Ends

A durable outer layer protects composite decking boards. However, when you cut the panels, the inner material becomes exposed. Always seal cut ends with a suitable end sealer to maintain the board’s resistance to moisture.

Composite Decking: Elevating Outdoor Living

Composite decking is more than just a practical outdoor flooring option. It’s a means of expressing your unique style and enhancing your lifestyle. Installing composite decking in your garden provides a platform for fun family BBQs, peaceful morning coffees, or late-night star gazing. It’s about transforming an ordinary backyard into a unique outdoor living space. Make the most out of the great Australian outdoors with composite decking. Your dream deck awaits!

 Wrapping it Up: The Future is Composite

Composite decking is undeniably a game-changer in the decking industry. With its remarkable blend of durability, aesthetic appeal, and environmental friendliness, it’s no surprise that homeowners are increasingly choosing composite decking over traditional timber.

While installing composite decking may initially seem complex, breaking it down into manageable steps makes the process approachable for anyone willing to invest the time. From planning and designing your deck to choosing your fastening system and leaving appropriate space for expansion and contraction, every stage of the installation process is essential to create a robust, visually pleasing outdoor living space.

The impact of a well-installed composite deck extends beyond the physical structure. Whether it’s the sun-drenched decks of Perth or a cosy corner in your backyard, composite decking opens up a world of possibilities for outdoor entertainment, relaxation, and enjoyment. It brings the indoors out and encourages us to embrace the Australian outdoor lifestyle.

Composite decking doesn’t just change gardens; it changes lives. It provides a platform for children’s play, family gatherings, serene solitude, and priceless memories.

So, are you ready to install composite decking in your garden? Equip yourself with the right tools, gather your materials, and let your creativity flow. Remember, the process is just as rewarding as the final product.