Surrey Carpentry

Professional Carpentry & Joinery Service

Multi-level decking
Multi-level decking

Multi-level decking – Pirbright, Surrey

This job was quite satisfying.

Decking is a fantastic solution to making a pleasant space out of a part of your garden that is lumpy and uneven, and that was exactly the case here.

It was built from right outside the back door of this house in Pirbright all the way to the shed, angled at 45° to the house onto the grass, and stepped up around the corner of the house.

In this case, plywood with a softwood grain was used for the finished surface rather than the normal decking timber, and in doing this, we saved about three quarters of the price!

This will look just fine when it has been stained and preserved, and besides, it would be very easy to take the ply up and lay decking timber, should it be required sometime in the future, perhaps when the economy picks up!

Initial stages of the framework

Initial stages of the framework

Initial stages of the framework

Initial stages of the framework

Initial stages of the framework

Initial stages of the framework

Above are some shots of the initial stages of the decking, which is to fix the outer joists of the frame to whatever you have available that is secure, ensuring that they are level as you fix them.

Once they are fixed, the common joists can then be fixed between them, and in theory, should be level providing you were accurate in fitting your initial joists.

Common joists fitted in first section

Common joists fitted in first section

Common joists fitted in first section

Common joists fitted in first section

First section now supported on bricks and noggins fitted

First section now supported on bricks and noggins fitted

Sometimes though, the timber can be a little bent which can lead to the decking being out of level. To counter this, i fitted the joists with the bend hanging down, then later they could be wedged into level from the ground when the framework is supported on bricks. The noggins also add strength and rigidity.

Beginning the framework for the lower section

Beginning the framework for the lower section

Building the second section around a tree stump

Building the second section around a tree stump

Second section completed, leveled, supported and noggined

Second section completed, leveled, supported and noggined

Quite a bit of digging was involved before i could begin the second section, which was a triangle and around 150mm lower than the first. This was to ensure that the framework, once level, wasn’t touching the ground and rot would be prevented.

Luckily for me (not!), the 8 or 9 wheelbarrows of earth which had to be removed was around an old tree stump, and I lost count of the amount of roots I came across that need to be sawn off! There were a few swear-words, but i think all the neighbours were out. If they weren’t, their windows were closed!

The framework had to be built around the tree stump, which was cut off at the same level as the top of the framework, so that the ply could be kept level.

The third section went more smoothly

The third section went more smoothly

All sections completed, level and secure

All sections completed, level and secure

The next step is laying the plywood boards

The next step is laying the plywood boards

Thankfully the third section, which was the same level and adjacent to the second section was a lot more simple to do because it was basically another square. There was a bit of trimming around the drain to do near the back door but other than that, it was quite straight-forward. Once it was all leveled and supported, it was time to start laying the boards.

The tree stump was ground down

The tree stump was ground down

A plastic membrane covers the stump

A plastic membrane covers the stump

The boarding continues with the stump leveled off and fixed to

The boarding continues with the stump leveled off and fixed to

That tree stump hadn’t finished with me yet.

It was poking up higher than top of the framework, so it would’ve interfered with the ply boarding. I took an angle-grinder to it and ground it down to the same level as the framework. It seemed like quite a good idea to use something that hindered my structure as part of my structure! Before I layed any ply on it, I covered the stump with a piece of plastic membrane to prevent the stump from drawing moisture from the ground and depositing it on the underneath of the ply, possibly causing it to rot.

I then carried on laying the boards, using the stump to fix to.

Decking complete!

Decking complete!

Decking complete, a great improvement!

Decking complete, a great improvement!

The good thing about a job like this is that the easy bit laying the boards, was the last bit!

Tree stump aside, this job went really well, and will look really great when stained up.

All we need to do now is wait for summer, and then its time for barbecues! :)

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