How to Lay Decking


When laying decking, it’s essential to take your time and ensure you get it right. This will make all the difference in how it looks and feels.

To start, measure and mark the decking area to allow for an overhang of 20mm on either side. Then snap a chalk line as a guide for the first row of boards.


Before you lay your new deck, it’s essential to prepare the area where you’re going to work. This will ensure a safe environment and help you avoid any major issues later on.

First, take the time to evaluate the terrain and the ventilation and drainage below your potential deck. If there are any slopes or caves in the soil below, they can pool water and create a wrong spot for your deck to sit.

Next, consider where the decking will be positioned and how it will be covered. This is important because you will need to have a level working space when you dig holes for concrete footings or piers.

For this reason, measure the area and mark it out using pegs and string. This will provide you with an accurate guide when you start digging.


To lay decking, you need to mark out the ground and determine the location of the footings. This is the most crucial step, as it will ensure that the deck is constructed correctly and won’t collapse under its weight later on.

In addition, you must mark out the exact dimensions of the boards you will use. This will allow you to cut the boards to fit perfectly and avoid damage to the frame.

You should also leave expansion gaps between the deck boards. These will help the board to flex and contract with climatic changes, as well as aid drainage.

The best way to do this is to use a straightedge and mark the board’s width at each end. Make sure to keep the line parallel to the house and at least six feet away from it.


You need a lot of lumber to build a deck, including 6 x 6 or 4 x 4 posts, 2 x 10 or 2 x 12 joists, beams, and other structural members. Your local residential building codes will dictate the dimensions of the various components.

The best way to decide how much lumber you need is to sketch your deck’s plan on real or digital graph paper. This will allow you to calculate the square feet of decking you’ll need.

After you’ve made a rough estimate, shop for lumber at your local lumber yard. You should buy pieces of lumber in lengths as close to the beam length as possible, rounded up.

You’ll also need various tools to cut the various structural members. A power saw with a chain or belt drive will work well, and you can even hire one to cut larger boards like joists, posts, or decking.


When installing a deck, follow the best practices recommended by the National Association of Home Builders. These include selecting materials that will hold up to weathering, installing a patio in compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions and DCA 6-15, and inspecting the deck regularly.

An excellent way to ensure your decking stays straight is to use spacers at each joist. These keep the gap between boards consistent and help prevent sagging.

Start with your first board and push it into the starter clips that will be on top of each joist at regular intervals (depending on the clip design). Screw the prongs into the side groove of the board through the center of the joists.

Using the same technique, attach your second board. Repeat these steps until you have only one board left.

Once the last board is attached, snap a chalk line across it in the same place as your first row. Apply a wood preservative to protect it from weathering and water damage.