Top Tips for a DIY Deck

2020 saw many of us re-adjust our summer plans and settle back to enjoy a holiday from home, and with ongoing travel restrictions now is the perfect time to update your garden so it is summer ready. Since deck planning can be done from a laptop and most materials ordered online and delivered to your door, it has never been easier to replace an old wood deck with something fresh and worry-free.

According to a survey by composite decking brand Trex, nearly all survey respondents (97%) indicated that it’s important that their home has an attractive and inviting outdoor living area. Adding a deck to your garden is a simple way to add value to your home and choosing composite decking has a number of benefits including being eco-friendly, low-maintainance (just wash with soap and water every so often as needed) and lasting for 25+ years, so you can enjoy your deck for years to come.

The experts at Trex offer their top tips and guidance on re-surfacing a deck to make it a simple and easy weekend project.

The Plan

The decking colour is key to the overall look of your outdoor space. Magazines, manufacturers’ websites and Pinterest are great starting points to get an idea of what shades will work for your home. The right decking colour can enhance your scenery, complement your home or make your deck stand out. 

Beyond colour, there are a number of tools available to help guide you through the planning process, from home improvement blogs and deck planning checklists to how-to installation videos. When determining budget, for example, the Trex Cost Calculator  is an easy-to-use tool that estimates materials costs for a deck build or resurfacing project based on size, substructure and whether railing is being considered – helping you make informed decisions.

When building a deck, it’s important to choose quality materials that withstand wear and tear. High-performance, wood-alternative composite decking, such as Trex, is resistant to fading, staining, scratching and mold and requires very minimal maintenance. With a wood deck, the cost of regular sanding, staining and painting compound considerably over time. Over the life of a composite deck, the reduced maintenance costs of simple soap-and-water cleanings add up to a greater return on investment – not to mention the value of all the time spent enjoying the deck rather than maintaining it.

The Build

Once you have decided on your design and shade, use the Trex step-by-step video tutorial and these simple instructions, and in no time at all you will have a decking that you can be proud of and enjoy all summer long.

Step 1: Examine the substructure

Before removing any boards, check your deck’s foundation. Start from the ground up by examining the footings, posts and joists. Pay close attention to the condition of the wood. Soft wood indicates rot and should be replaced before proceeding. If the existing framing and substructure are sound, you’re good to go.

Tip: To help ensure your substructure lasts as long as your new composite deck boards, use a protective tape, such as Trex® Protect™ to shield wooden joists and beams from moisture that can lead to rot and the loosening of deck screws and fasteners.

Step 2: Remove old deck boards

Remove any existing railing and begin prying up the nailed decking boards leaving the substructure and framing in place. Start from the outside and move toward the house so you have a solid, safe platform from which to work.

Step 3: Level it out

To ensure a level surface for the new deck boards, make sure the joists are flat and even with one another. If any joists are bowed, you may need to plane or cut them.

Step 4: Install new deck boards

Begin laying out the new composite boards. Starting near the house, face screw the first board to the frame. Closely follow the instructions for spacing from the manufacturer’s installation guide. As you progress, check the spacing between the house and the deck boards to make sure they stay parallel with the house. Correct variations a little at a time over several rows to avoid large, tapered gaps.