If you’re looking to install a deck in your garden or will be replacing old decking, make sure to read our handy how-to guide on how to build a decking frame. We’ll take you through the process, one step a time, and will touch upon some things to look out for. Let’s get started.


Decide where your decking will be built

Before you can start on your decking frame, you will need to decide where the decking will be built and, also, how big your decking area is going to be. The precise size and location of your decking frame and subsequent deck are going to be dependent on its functionality: are you looking to establish a nice area for entertaining and enjoying the sunshine, or is it going to be a children’s play area, for example?

Do you want something you can step out onto from your back door, or will the structure exist away from the house? These are questions you will need to answer first.


Map out your area

Once you’ve decided on location and size, you will need to map out your area. If building on an existing concrete base, you can map out directly onto this surface. Otherwise, we’d recommend using pegs and builder’s line. You can use this guidance to cut and remove any existing turf and soil to prepare the ground.

Make sure the surface is level if it’s not already.


Design your frame

When calculating your materials and designing your frame, remember that the joists and frame will run the opposite direction to the decking boards for optimum strength. The overall strength and durability of your decking starts at the frame, do not skimp on your materials. You’re better off adding extra joists for sturdiness and strength than making a frame that’s too weak to support anything. When selecting your decking joists from Harlow Bros, err on the side of caution and select a thicker joist. Make sure to add a few spares to allow for any mistakes along the way.


Consider a dry run

Before you make any permanent cuts, you could consider doing a dry run, by laying out and mapping out your envisioned frame and deck, then rerun your calculations where needed to ensure you have enough materials. You don’t want to start cutting and realise you’ve made a mistake somewhere along the way and come up short.

Lay out the joist frame and decking on top, with the appropriate expansion gaps for your materials. This will allow you to either shorten or increase the frame where needed to ensure your final decking row will lay flush with the edge of the frame for a cleaner finish.


Cutting & Assembly

Once happy, it is time to cut and subsequently assemble. It is recommended to mark your deck frame to ensure your fixings align with the centre of the adjoining outer joists – this eliminates potential mistakes. Make sure to make pilot holes to ensure the wood doesn’t accidentally split. Start with the outer frame first, then secure inner joists to complete your frame.

After your frame has been completed and adequately secured, you can now lay your decking on top.

Our timber experts at Harlow Bros are here to help. We can help with all your timber questions, including material sourcing and advice. Get in touch today.