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YOUR DECK

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If you don’t find the answer to your question here, please take a moment to e-mail us  

with your enquiry.  We will do our best to respond within 48 hours.

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TIMBER

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COST , PAYMENT & GUARANTEE

YOUR DECK

 

Q :    Do you offer commercial installations?

A :    Yes - as well as decks for private homes and families, we also offer our services designing and installing decked areas for businesses like restaurants, cafés, crèches, schools, offices, pubs and retail outlets.

 

Q :    Do I need planning permission?

A :    With the exception of ground level decks, you should always check that planning regulations do not apply to your proposed structure.  In addition to contacting your Local Authority, we strongly recommend that you talk to your neighbours about your plans. Neighbour objections are the most usual reason for planning refusal or enforcement notices after completion. Local Authorities can insist that structures are dismantled and removed where consent should have been obtained, but was not.

Situations where planning approval is required :

  • where the deck is situated within 20 metres of a highway
  • where the deck is at 1st floor level or above
  • if any part of the deck construction exceeds 3m in height
  • if the structure would affect the amenity value or privacy of neighbouring properties
  • if the deck is attached to a listed building or situated in a conservation area or National Park

 In addition to these situations, other restrictions have also been known to apply.

 

Q :    How long will my deck last?

A :    Your deck should provide you with years and years of pleasure. That's because naturally durable timber species or rot proof pressure-preserved wood are used in its construction, and therefore it should last almost indefinitely if properly looked after.

 

Q :    How do I keep my deck looking good?

A :    Your deck will benefit from regular brushing with a good stiff broom throughout the year.  Once a year, in Spring or Autumn, we recommend giving your deck a more thorough cleaning using a pressure spray, or a purpose made product formulated to remove grease and discolouration, and restore the look of the wood.  Never use detergents.  Keeping the deck surface clean in this way not only keeps it looking like new, it also reduces the conditions that cause any surface to be slippery when wet.

Unless a deck is painted with a stain, the original colour of the timber used will fade gradually when exposed to the elements.  Whether your deck is made from a deeply coloured hardwood or the more mellow hues of a softwood species, it will fade over time to a pleasant silvery-grey.  However, using a clear water repellent coating can help to prevent fading.

Timber is a natural product and as your deck timbers weather, it is not uncommon for small cracks or splits to appear on the surface of the boards. These are caused by the intermittent wetting and drying of the deck and are part of the character of wood.  These splits have no structural effect whatsoever - this is nature at work, and should not be considered a fault.  This natural ageing process can be slowed by the annual use of a clear water repellent coating, such as decking oil – easily sourced from your local DIY centre.

        We can advise you on the care of your new deck, and we also offer annual maintenance contracts on both new and existing decks – please ask us for a quote.  

 

Q :    Will my deck be slippery in wet weather?

A :    The key factor in preventing slipperiness is to ensure that the deck surface is kept clean, and surface deposits such as mildew, algae and fine mosses are kept at bay – these are what cause slipperiness on any surface (even stone flags) in wet weather.  Our recommendation is to give decked surfaces a frequent brush with a stiff broom, and to give them a thorough clean once a year in spring or autumn using either a power spray washer or a proprietary deck cleaning product.

 

Q :    Will my deck attract rats?

A :    No!  Underneath a properly installed deck is one of the most inhospitable of places for a rat to set up home.  This is because a sterile area is created before construction, laying a weed-suppressing sheet.  Because a gap is left between deckboards to help drain the surface, dripping rainwater does not make for a dry, secure home.  A small pea, let alone sufficient food to feed a single rat, could not find its way through this gap.  As with the underside of garden sheds, precautions should always be taken to prevent leaves and other windblown litter accumulating by using boards or close-mesh wire netting.

 

Q :    Should my deck have a balustrade?

A :    Balustrades (or parapets) on decks can serve several functions, ranging from simple decorative boundaries to full safety barriers.  Even a small change of level can be hazardous - particularly for elderly or infirm users.

Unless the deck surface is flush with the surrounding ground level, a parapet or edge protection detail should be incorporated.  For very low-level structures, this may take the form of a simple decorative rail, a trellis panel, a raised planter box, a bench or seat etc.

The height of the parapet depends on how far the deck surface is off the ground:

 

  • For 'low-level' decks up to 600mm from ground level, the parapet height should be 900mm
  • For 'high-level' decks over 600mm high, the parapet height must be 1100mm, due to building regulations

 

Q :    Can I personalise my deck?

A :    Of course!  Your deck can be customised to incorporate your own style and decorative taste.  The choice of additional design features - balustrades, pergolas, trellises, steps, seating, planters - is almost infinite.  One of the great things about timber decking is that it can be extended, or another level or a feature can be added in the future to enhance your enjoyment.

 

Q :    Will my deck support a hot tub or a summerhouse?

A :    Yes - your deck can be designed to support almost anything you want to put on it.  Hot tubs are very popular but when full, can weigh several tonnes.  We will purpose-build your deck, using appropriate stress-graded timber, to bear this weight.

 

Q :    How long will it take to complete my deck?

A :    We will always ensure the decks we install are of the highest standard.  Some basic deck designs can be installed in a couple of days but more elaborate designs will take longer.  We should be able to give you an idea of timescale when we quote you for your deck.

 

THE TIMBER

 

Q :   Why does treated timber vary in colour from one board to another?

A :    Freshly treated timber will always have variations in colour between one piece and another.  This is due to the relative proportions of heartwood and sapwood in each piece.  Sapwood is more permeable than heartwood and so takes up more preservative which results in an initial variation of colour from green (sapwood) to beige (heartwood).  Once installed and exposed to the elements, the initial strength of colour fades to a warm, honey brown and in the long term will become a natural silver grey all over.

You need to remember that timber is a natural product, and variations in character are to be expected.  Occasionally timber containing high resin levels can have a blue colouration at the time of treatment.  However this fades rapidly into the overall natural green/beige colour.

 

Q:    What's the difference between hardwood and softwood?

A:    Hardwood and softwood are broad terms used to describe species of wood.  The terms have nothing to do with the actual hardness of the wood.  Hardwoods come from broadleaved trees and softwoods from coniferous, evergreen trees.

There is a wide range of species within both categories that are highly suitable for decking.  The important factor for wood used outdoors, is that it is durable enough to resist fungal decay.  This means using a hardwood classified as naturally durable (some are not) or a softwood given extended durability through pressure treatment.

Over 90% of all decks are made from suitable pressure treated softwoods because of their availability, ease of working and cost effectiveness.  Hardwoods come in a range of attractive colours, but they tend to be quite a lot more expensive and require more care to work with than softwoods.

 

Q :   Are grooved deckboards better than plain ones at preventing slipperiness?

A :   The choice of deck board style is purely a matter of personal preference.  Although grooved deck boards are often marketed as "anti-slip" there is no evidence to suggest that they perform any better than plain decking.  Plain deck boards also have the advantage of being easier to keep clean, and they are kinder on bare feet!
 

Q :   Why is resin coming out of the timber?

A :   Some types of timber contain a resin that may exude from the surface in hot weather and create rings of crusty white powder around knots in the timber.  This resin is not at all harmful and can be removed from the surface of the timber with a stiff brush.  It is unlikely that resin will continue to exude after the deck has been through its first summer.

 

Q :    Are the treatments used in protecting softwood decking timber in any way harmful?

A :    No.  Timber decking is entirely safe - even for pets and plants.  The strictly controlled process of impregnating the timber means that the preservative substances found in decking are 'locked' into the wood - even when in contact with water.

 

Q :    Will I be hurting the environment if I use timber?

A :    Not at all!  We only use wood from responsible producers who insist on proper management of their resources.  This involves the conservation of forests through the use of sustainable forest management techniques and renewal through

       re-planting schemes.

 

COST, PAYMENT & GUARANTEE

 

Q :   How much should I expect to pay for my deck?

A :   The price of a timber deck will obviously vary enormously depending on design, size and added features.  Compared to other major home improvements, such as a new kitchen or conservatory, decks are great value.  We have the knowledge and experience to ensure that you end up with a quality product that will bring you years of pleasure.

 

As an estimate, a fully fitted pine garden deck (including steps, handrails etc.) will cost around £85 per square metre.  A hardwood deck would be roughly £130 per square metre, all inclusive.

 

Q :   Do you offer a guarantee?

A :   All of the timber we use is FSC pressure-treated and tanalised, and is guaranteed for 15 years by the manufacturer.  Our workmanship is fully guaranteed for 12 months from the date of completion.

 

Q :   How do I pay for my deck?

A :   We don’t take a deposit. When we have your order we will advise you of your installation date.  The timber will normally be delivered the day prior to installation, and we ask that you pay for this upon delivery.  The remaining balance will then be due for payment on the day of completion.

 

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