Everything You Need To Know To Build A Deck
Are you looking for how to build a Deck in Brisbane, Melbourne or Perth? The most difficult part of building a standard or custom designed deck in Australia is knowing where to begin, the entire process from design to completed construction and making sure you are getting the best structure constructed for your money.
uDrew is here to help save you both Time and Money when it comes to building a deck. Here we will inform you of everything you need to know to build a deck in Australia. This includes; design, site inspection, local council approval, engineering, materials and how to build the structure. The uDrew system allows customers in certain areas plan, design, engineer and get ready to build a deck within minutes, not months.
Take control of your project with the uDrew system. It turns the stress of your deck project into an easy process that covers painful government approval, structure design, engineering and more!
Quick Decking Summary
Like most small-structure projects, building a deck in Australia requires:
- Land Surveying Report
- Structure Draft Design Plans
- Plans that adhere to council regulations
- Engineering that adheres to Building Codes
- Material estimation
- And more!
Without the uDrew system, you will have to work with builders, surveyors, draftsmen, engineers and the council planning department over weeks or months. Between the red-tape, government forms, and multiple third-party interactions, this becomes a long and expensive process.
Here we are going to breakdown a bit more information on each component for building deck projects.
The surveying of you land for most small-structures, decks, carports, fences etc., is often required to understand the measurements and angles of the surface on your property. The difference between building a deck on a property with a sandy flat surface vs a property on a slope with a clay surface will define how the deck will be designed, drafted and engineered.
Designing your deck can be as simple as choosing the shape, placement, materials and so on. So custom design small structures can involve an architect, and simple straightforward designs usually involves a builder, draftsperson and an engineer. The majority of decking materials used is wood (timber, treated pine etc) with concrete used for the footings.
After understanding what type of decking you are looking to build, the drafting process will be to draw out the project on your property. Usually a site-plan of your property with the house on it will be used to draw the deck, the appropriate size and placement. This process is crucial for the council approval, the building and the engineering.
With the land survey report, the design and drafting, the engineer is then able to produce certified engineering plans that is tailored to your property and project. Ensuring that the deck is both structural safe and adheres to building codes. Councils will often refuse to approve small-structure projects without appropriate engineering.
Deck Council Approval
The council approval is a record tied to your property that details your decking structure and that it has been legally built. Without council approval, you are at risk of fines and council demolishing your structure. Councils often use satellite imagery to detect new decks being built and if there are no records of the structure tied to your property, then they will inform you of this. The council approval typical includes; forms, draft plans and certified engineering plans.
The New Solutions
uDrew uses technology to bring all of the above crucial steps into a single platform. Often referred to as the “Uber of Building”, uDrew allows you type in your address, choose a structure, design and customise while checking that it adheres to the council and building rules in real-time. The result is either instant approval, or all the plans and certified engineering put neatly together for a quick council approval, saving you both time and money.
Building The Deck
Building is the easy part. Designing, planning, certifying and approving your project is what takes up the majority time during deck projects.
The main process of building a decking project falls into these 5 parts:
Concrete the posts for solid support. You can also use stirrups that are bolted into the concrete. The builders will then seal the bases, add a layer of gravel then check the condition and stability of the posts.
Attaching onto the posts with framing anchors. Alternatively, builders may secure these in housings with bolts.
Positioning the joists to the bearers. This can be positioned perpendicular, in line with the bearers or on top. The builders will then secure the joists with framing anchors.
The decking boards are then secured to the joists. The builders carefully space the boards apart from each other and carefully position the boards so no two boards sit on top of the same joist.
Step By Step Building Process DIY
uDrew always recommends using an experienced professional when building small projects. This ensures that safety precautions are met and that your project is built correctly. In the long-run this is the best investment and first-time DIY builders often have professional come back to fix up the deck later.
- Site Excavation
Once you have all your building plans, you can get the measurements of the deck and start putting pegs into the ground. Each peg sits on the corner of where the structure is to be built. Removing top-soil give-or-take 100mm deep.
- Decking Frame
You should now have a clean surface and the materials for the frames. Position the end joists between the bearers and joists at an appropriate distance (check building plans). Secure them temporarily with ails as per the building plans.
- Positioning Frame
Prepare your spirit level and safely position the built decking frame against any existing landscape features. Support the decking frame on packing blocks then check its level. Change accordingly until the frame is level. Keep the spirit level handy as you will be checking the decking frame level again after.
- Decking Posts
Following the measurements in the building plans, dig appropriately deep post holes and position the posts against each joist. Drill pilot holes and secure the joists with appropriate head screws and the bearers with appropriate bolts.
Following the material quantities, prepare the concrete and pour the appropriate amount in each post hole. Leaving to set until dry before continuing on to further level the frame.
- Decking Frame Level
Prepare the last joists and position them between the others. As per the building plans, secure these joists with framing anchors. Use a power planer to remove any high spots. The result should be a completely level surface.
- Decking Boards
It’s time to get the decking boards and secure them to the frame. Following the building plans, the boards should overlap the front and sides of the from, so you won’t see the frame when looking down on the deck. Typically you will find that there are 3mm gaps between each board. Appropriately align each board and secure each board to the frame with a nail and a screw as a spacer ensuring you retain the right gaps between each decking board.
- Final Touches
Finishing all the boards, the final touches depends on each deck. Following the building plans, you will further secure the joists and make any final touches to the boards to ensure they are resistant to the elements.
Decking Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here we are going to try and answer the most commonly asked questions when building a deck:
- What Materials are used to build decks?
Timber is the most common material used when building decks in Australia.
- What is the best timber available to build a deck with in Australia?
There is a very large range of timber material suppliers for decking projects. It also depends on the area of Australia, as you may need a more water resistant timber in Melbourne or a more sun resistance material in Perth. Most high quality timbers will do the job and then you will also need to maintain this a few times a year to get the longest life possible from your timber.
- How much does a deck cost in Australia?
It really depends on your design, location, builders and materials. Deckings typically cost anywhere between $250 to $1000 per square meter. This does not include traditional costs for surveying, drafting, engineering etc.
- What oil do I use to maintain my deck in Australia?
There are water and non-water based oils used for maintaining your decking. Water based oils usually don’t impact the natural colour of your wood. The non-water based oil gets into the wood fibre and protects the deck from water damage and other elements.
- How do I maintain my deck?
First you need to clean the deck of any dust and sand. Then you choose the water or non-water based timber decking oil and give it a single coat. You will need the decking oil, a brush, paint tray or bucket and a cleaning rag.
- What types of decks and designs can I build in Australia?
Freestanding deckings are decks that are not attached to your home. A freestanding deck or carport just means that it stands on its own without being connected to any previously existing structure.
Living Area Deckings are used to increase the space for outdoor rooms. These are often used as entertaining areas.
Multi-level Deckings are custom decks that separate areas for different purposes. One may be for bbqing and one for dining. These are often built in Australia to improve the look of your home and are tailored to particular structural features of your home.
Pool and Spa Deckings cover the surrounding area of your pool. Usually used to create a more comfortable area surrounding your pool or spa for leisure. It is also safer than tiles due to reducing the chance of slipping or falling when wet.