Archive for the ‘Timber Decking / Cladding / Fencing’ Category

How to build a wooden fence

Posted: September 22, 2010 by DIY Big Boss in Timber Decking / Cladding / Fencing

Horizontal wooden fence (from HGTV)

Previously we have explored what you might need to do if you find your fence to be falling over, but if that old fence really just won’t cut it any longer, no matter what you do to it, then what you might need is a new fence.  There are several different ideas for doing fences and screens, so today we have sourced the best ‘How To Build a Wooden Fence’ options from around the internet.

1. Building a Wood Fence by Do it Yourself

This is probably one of the best fence instruction posts I have ever come across, it shows each step clearly including diagrams, goes through a lot of different options including the different types of fence design and concludes with a full list of tools and materials required.  I would recommend this as the first place to start your new fence construction research.

2. Fence designs by Backyard Gardener

In addition to the above site I would also look at this one, this page shows a range of different fence design options, by clicking on each it will provide you with a picture of the fence and also measurements making your post selection easy.  There are a good twenty options to choose from including seven different picket fence designs.

3. Horizontal plank wooden fence by HGTV

Perhaps you are after the look of a horizontal wooden plank fence instead?  If so this one might be perfect for you, in addition it is built on a slope so you can see how effective it can look if you too have to cater for an incline or decline.  See the photo above.  The instructions for this fence are not as extensive as the first fence but should be adequate to do the job.

4. Fences, gates and posts from Build Eazy

Two wooden fence designs, plus a wire one are provided on this site, however it is the options and instructions for adding gates and other features into your fences that makes this website stand out.  From a single person gate to double driveway gates, this site has heaps of useful information for you.

Home Depot example of fence from their fencing gallery

5. HomeDepot’s How to Build a Fence

If you would prefer a video instruction process on how to build your fence then these two videos from Home Depot are going to be perfect for you.  There are a number of videos, they are:

  1. Introduction and information video
  2. Building a wood fence using components
  3. Building wood and vinyl panel fences

These five sites should provide you with all the information you need to start building your new fence.  For all your timber fencing needs, check out the DIY Bargain Bin Fencing section.

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Photo from timber for bush fire prone areas report (click on image for link). Photo by Paul Harr (architect) extracted from report

If you live in a part of Australia that is subject to the threat of bush fires, then using timber that resists fire is of extreme importance.  So today we thought we would explore which timbers are best for this purpose.

Basically all houses that are built in bushfire areas (as determined by the applicable State Government) are subject to Australian Standard AS3959 and covers “the most effective means for addressing the threat to houses” as a result of fire and related heat, sparks etc.  Houses are then categorised as to their level of risk.  If you live in such an area it is wise to pick up a copy.

Now it is necessary to silence the rumblings which suggest that having a deck in a bush fire prone is the most likely thing to cause the property to be vulnerable to a bushfire.  It is not true, the single biggest danger actually comes from a failure to adequately clear vegetation from around the home.  All homes in such areas should have a moat of non vegetated land.  If you have a deck then your land moat should extend around it.

This information is backed up by a report by Warrington Fire Research Australia, which confirms the CSIRO’s earlier findings that even where houses are made of wood or have external wooden features like a deck, that the destruction was not caused by the timber igniting, but rather from ember entry into the house.  The summary is that houses tend to burn from the inside to the out, using household furnishings as their main fuel.

All that said, there are still ways to ensure that the timbers you use are the best for your area.  There are seven high-density native hardwood timbers which have significant natural fire resistance.  These timbers are classified as fire retarding by the AS3959 so can be used without treatment in bush fire areas:

  • Blackbutt
  • Kwila (Merbau)
  • Red Iron Bark
  • Red River Gum
  • Sivertop Ash
  • Spotted Gum
  • Turpentine

These timbers are fairly readily available and you can find them also in the DIY Bargain Bin Timber Decking, Cladding and Fencing Section along with in the DIY Bargain Bin Timber Structural, Construction and Other section.

Blackbutt wood from Timeless WA Hardwoods

If you have already built your deck and are in a bush fire prone area to a category 3 level you can use a product called Firetard120, which is a fire retardant for timber.  It has been tested by the CSIRO and approved up to this level.  Using an alternative treatment like this can be a less expensive option for some, and also allows a wider range of timbers to be used.  For example if you have your heart set on a particular type of timber, treating it with this product, which dries clear, will assist in making your timber fire resistant.

Of course you do not have to be in a fire prone area to want to treat your external timber decks and other structure.  That is why such products are great.

For more information, about Building with timber in fire prone areas and use of Fire Resistant Technology, click on these two links.

Deck fastened with Tiger Claws from Deck Fastener

There are numerous different ways to attach your deck to the supports that you have created.  Today we want to explore some of the different ways that you may do this.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each, so it is best to fully consider how you want to look after your deck ongoing as to which option you choose.

Before we get into the different types of ways to fix your deck, there are a few important things to remember.  The first is to ensure that you leave space between each piece of decking timber.  This will ensure any rain water can drain and will not sit in puddles.  You can do this by using a nail between each plank or alternatively a small piece of wood, your ruler, anything that you can use consistently throughout the project and is approximately 5mm in thickness.  The second is to ensure that when starting or finishing a beam it must finish over a joint.  If it doesn’t trim it to the correct size.

Nail

The most common way to fix decking boards to the deck is by using nails.  Ensure that your nails are galvanised and that you use two for each joint. If you are nailing the end of a piece, you will need two nails for the end of the beam and two for the start of the next beam.  Make sure you use a nail punch to ensure that the heads of the nails go below the surface of the timber.

Nailing your deck is quite quick, but you will need to check your deck from time to time to ensure that they haven’t worked themselves free and are now protruding from the surface.  These can cause nasty cuts and punctures to small children, so you will need to ensure they are quickly nailed back into place.  This said they have better sheer strength to the screw.

Screws

While nails may be stronger, it is the screw that will hold tighter, which means you are much less likely to have the screw protrude above the deck surface, however, it is not a full good news story and many builders continue to use nails because of their strength.  Using screws will also mean you are more likely to find and have to replace broken ones.  In addition it is said that the swelling of the timber when it is wet can cause the screws to break, which then leaves a gap where moisture can gather.

More information can be gathered from this blog article.  It is set in Australia and while we are unlikely to have earthquakes it still makes interesting reading.

Clips

Overseas there are a number of different deck clips that can be used to seal your deck in place.  In Australia the range is starting to grow so it is worth checking out the alternatives before you commit to any one option.  Each of these items are very different in the way that they work, so it is best to talk to the manufacturer or hardware store to see if they are suitable for your needs and environment.  The advantage of these clips which include plastic items that attach to your joists, right through to Tiger Claws is that they give you an end result which is much cleaner with no nails or screws.

Clips have their own downfalls depending on which one you choose, but you will not have to worry about nails in feet!

Whatever you choose to make your deck, check out DIY Bargain Bin’s Hardware, Nails, Screws, Bolts and Nuts section for everything that you need.

Does your deck look like this? If so do not despair, follow our steps here. Image supplied by Cutek.

With the footy prelim finals only a few days away we can start to turn our attention to the summer days and barbeques that will fill those non footy hours until next year.  It is therefore timely to start thinking about those summer preparation tasks that will help make them all the more enjoyable.  Previously we have featured articles on maintaining your pool and your barbeque, so today we are going to turn our attention to the deck.  In fact we are going to run a 10 day feature on everything you need to know about your deck!

So if you already have a deck, it is important to ensure that it is maintained.  What your deck is made of will influence how much maintenance it needs, however all decks even new ones will need to be sealed and given a little TLC to keep them looking their best. Here is our step by step for maintaining your deck:

1. Clear and sweep your deck before you start.

The difference is almost impossible to believe. This bench has just had the end of three boards sealed. Image from Cutek

2. Look over your deck first to identify any broken, loose or badly damaged boards.  If you have any of these you will need to replace them.

3. Now investigate for nails that are protruding from the timber.  These can do so much damage to bare feet, and given it is summer, who really wants to wear shoes.  If you find any give them a good hammer to ensure that the surface of your deck is flat.

4. Choose your timber sealant.  Some products require that the old paint or stain be removed prior to sealing so it is a good time to do your shopping.  Select both a sealant and if you have kids, animals or plants, a non-toxic cleaning solution.  In Australia a popular choice for sealing timber decks is by using Cutek.  Cutek works by penetrating deeply into the timber, others just coat the top, which when scratched or damaged will cease to protect that exposed surface.  In addition it doesn’t breakdown in sunlight and is designed to protect against Australian pests like termites!  Finally Cutek is also safe for humans, animals and the environment.  More information can be found at Timber Coatings Australia.

5. Depending on the instructions on your sealant (you may need to strip back paint or old coats of stain first) then you will be ready to clean your deck.  There are a number of substances like dirt and grime that over time will build up on the surface of the deck, even if it is predominantly under cover.  Think about your deck usage, barbeque grease and fat that has splattered from the grill, that dropped sausage or spilled drink, how many pairs of shoes have walked across it, do you have pets etc?.  The build up of this grime can lead to the deck being rough, or alternatively slimy if it starts to grow a mossy film. Yuck, so lets remove it.

6. Follow the instructions of your cleaning solvent and using a brush with bristles scrub at the deck.  Some solutions will require you spray the deck first, so do this if required.  Basically you just need to ensure that you complete the steps as indicated by your particular cleaning product.

6. Rinse the deck by hosing it down, then allow it to fully dry.

This is the same deck as shown in the first image. The transformation is great. Image from Cutek.

7. You are now ready to seal your deck.  You can do this by painting it (roller or brush) or spraying it.  Again if you have plants and other things you want to protect, we recommend taking the time to use a brush or roller.  Whatever you choose ensure that you have carefully read, understand and follow the instructions on your chosen sealant.  If you have chosen a Cutek sealant there are additional instructions here.

8. With your deck now sealed, you are ready to replace your chairs and barbeque.  String up the fairy lights and wait for the summer weather to roll around.

Before you go visiting the hardware stores, check out the DIY Bargain Bin Paints, Oils, Stains, Varnishes and Painting Supplies first.

Is your fence about to fall over?

Posted: September 1, 2010 by DIY Big Boss in Timber Decking / Cladding / Fencing

Falling fence. Image courtesy of Gwen

There are many reasons why a fence may slowly fall from its upright position to take on more of a drunken lean, but it is nothing that cannot be fixed with a little bit of work.  Sometimes the cause is obvious such as it has fallen victim to a falling branch, the kid next door has been practicing charging it as he prepares for a career in rugby or your neighbours son in an effort to learn to drive reversed his car into it.

However if it is not one of these, then it could be something a little more sinister, such as:

  • excavation of dirt on one side of the fence, resulting in the posts not having enough dirt around them to support their weight.
  • posts rotting / being eaten (for example termites) at the bottom which means the fence is not getting the stability from the depth of the post.
  • the fence is too heavy for the posts, this could be because of the fence itself or from trees or other plants putting too much pressure on the fence.

We will now look at each of these three problems and how you would go about solving them at home:

1. Excavation – The issue here is simple, without the dirt around the base of the post, the fence isn’t getting the support that it requires.  You will need to replace the dirt and ensure that it is tightly compacted around the fence post, however it is best to add concrete in with the soil to make a more solid base.

2. Rotten or eaten posts – You will need to replace the posts in question, however if the issue is termites then you will first need to address the termite issue by employing professional pest control to eradicate them.  Then replace the post using a H4-treated timber, which will ensure that the post will not rot.

3. Not enough support – Inspect the timber fence for signs of what could be causing the fence to lean, remove any branches or heavy creepers.  You may also need to demolish part of the fence to reduce the weight on the posts and then rebuild that section of the fence with additional posts to support the weight.

For all your DIY Timber Fencing needs check out the DIY Bargain Bin Timber Decking, Cladding and Fencing section.

So you have decided to build yourself a new deck and quickly want to get up to speed on everything that you need to know in order to create something fantastic?  Doing your research is important, but you don’t want to spend all your spare time looking up facts and information that may or may not be useful.  So today we want to help you, here is 40 minutes of video from two providers, watch these and much of your research should be done.

1. The Home Hardware Australia How to Build a Deck video Part 1 and Part 2 at a little over 11 minutes is time well worth spending.  Start the Part 1 video at about the 1.30 minute mark to skip the ads and the self promotion.  The second video starts straight up where the first video stops with no extra ads.

2. Lowes have a fantastic six part series on Deck Building.  Each part is between 4-5.5 minutes long and is much more comprehensive than the Home Hardware video.  The full series will take just under half an hour to view and includes Part 1 Designing a Deck, Part 2 Deck Layouts and Plans , Part 3 Setting the Posts and Footings, Part 4 – Framing and Decking, Part 5 – Building Deck Stairs, Part 6 -Finishing the Deck.

From here you have a basic understanding of what is involved, it is now a matter of making your own plans and then working out what additional information you need and go find it.  Remember in Australia you may have to submit your plans to council for approval before you commence building.

Check out the DIY Bargain Bin first for all your decking needs, we have a great range of Timber Decking, Structural decking and every other bit of hardware that you need to make your timber deck a reality at a fraction of the price.

Image provided courtesy of WymanConstruction

The use of composite timber is becoming more popular in Australia, and although there are still more timber decks built, those choosing composite are increasing.

But what is composite timber?

Quite simply it is a product, commonly abbreviated as WPC (Wood-Plastic Composite)  which is made from timber waste and plastic.  WPC is a similar thickness as normal timber, but is printed on the surface with the wood grain.  You can tell that it is not wood by the uniform pattern of the woodgrain.

So why would you consider composite?

Composite timber, is very environmentally friendly given it is made out of recycled plastics and wood waste.  But the major advantage that sees this product getting so much attention is that it doesn’t need painting.  You simply choose the colour you want.  In addition composite timber is moisture and rot resistant which makes it perfect for a deck.  The other advantages include that it is easy to clean, just hose it down and that you can get a nice smooth finish, no nails and no splinters!

But are there downsides?

Of course there are, with all products there are good and bad.  There is quite a debate going on in the industry at the moment as to whether composite timbers are all they are cracked up to be!  Certainly it appears that there are some products which are better than others!

So the negatives of using composite timbers is that you cannot refinish a composite deck, so scratches and stains are there for its lifetime.  If you do want to fix it, you will need to replace it.  The timber is also not structural or load-bearing, so is limited in its use.  The timber can be in some cases soft, so wears easily and is reported to get very hot in direct sunlight. Another issue is that it can expand and contract with temperature variations, and when using it, you need to be careful how you attach it, because going at an angle can cause it to chip.

Summary

Composite timber might be right in some uses, it certainly looks good in the image supplied above where the TimberTech composite decking has been mixed with cedar accents.  But before you purchase any Timber Composite, understand what you are getting, look at the features, find out:

  • How fade resistant are they and how the products are likely to fare in Australian weather conditions?
  • How durable are they, will they wear down quickly and are they stain resistant?
  • What is the lifespan of the material and how long is the guarantee offered with it?
  • How do the materials work, what do you need to know in constructing your deck to ensure you get the best out of the material.

Whether you choose a composite timber or a hard timber product for your deck, check out the material available in the DIY Bargain Bin Timber Decking / Cladding / Fencing.