Tag Archives: construction

Finished Deck

Finished Deck

Remember that time I built a massive deck in the back yard?

Well, I just realised that even though I had the pictures, I didn’t actually upload the final photos!

So here they are….








I think it turned out alright. 🙂

It’s been a few years since we sold the place with this deck and we still kind of miss it. I wonder what the current owners have done with the back yard? Hopefully it still looks the same.

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Posted by on October 15, 2015 in Decking [COMPLETE], Home Renovations


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Balcony Boards

Balcony Boards

Now that the side boards are done near the steps and the capping and frame are in place for the boards under the balcony, the only thing left to do is to put the boards up.

I had a big advantage with most of the deck in that my brother-in-law, Jake, gave me quite a lot of help. Two sets of hands are so much better than one and I do suggest if you’re doing any sort of decking that you get an extra pair.

To compensate for being able to get someone to hold the other end, I had to use clamps to hold the board instead. I found the easiest way to do this was to clamp things under the board on the frame holding them up, but not necessarily in place. This way I could put one screw in and then do the rest fairly easily. Here’s a picture of how I set up the clamps.

As you can see from the next picture, I also made sure the boards butted up against the side part to hold that whole frame in. Once in place, it is impossible for the side frame to move and everything fits together nicely. The lines of the boards don’t match up perfectly, but I found that to be more of a feature than a problem.

I just kept adding boards in exactly the same way each time until I reached the ground. The last board, in fact resting on the ground in a few places. I wasn’t too concerned about being exactly on the ground the whole way because I wanted to make sure that if some small creature got in, it could also get out.

This left a large gap in one area, but the gap was covered near the fence. This meant that I needed to do a shorter board to finish it off. Here’s the gap.

Once I put the last board on, all that is left is to put some extra dirt in the ground and plant some cliveas in front of the boards to make it look nice. Below is the finished pic before I started on the garden bit.

And with that, I packed up. Next post, the garden!

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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Decking [COMPLETE]


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Further progress on the back deck

Further progress on the back deck

Now that the frame is set up to attach the boards to, the next step is to complete the side part on the stairs. This is difficult because I need to essentially build a triangle. But it needs to be done before the boards as the boards will hold the whole stair side framework in place.

The first step is to measure how long the next board needs to be. The bottom part of the end needs to be the right length so that when it’s cut, it reaches the right point. It’s important to ensure that the gap between each board is the same and that the board you’re measuring is the right spacing. As you can see in the photo below, I have used a couple of off cuts to enforce the gap – the width of a board.


The board then needs to be cut to the correct length (it can go over a little at the back) and then cut to have the right angle on the end. You can see in the above photo that I have laid a capping board on top of the frame and I got behind this and sketched a line for the cut under the capping board, directly onto the board about to be cut. This gives me the correct angle.

The next part should come with a disclaimer. I will be using the drop saw in a way that it wasn’t supposed to be used. It can be dangerous so you probably shouldn’t try this at home.


Because of the steepness of the angle, it’s impossible to cut it as normal. Therefore I have put the board in at right angles to the drop saw and lined up the blade with the pencil line.


This cut doesn’t have to be perfect, but as close as you can get it. The capping board in the end will cover any sins, but the closer the better. Each board should be cut in this fashion and then attached to the frame. The boards are attached to the frame with two screws the same as everywhere else on the deck. Once all the boards are completed, it should look like this.


Once all the boards are on, the capping board then needs to go on to top. I clamped it in place and then went through and drilled and counter sunk each of the holes. It is EXTREMELY important to note that I had to drill all the way through the other boards or the board will crack when the screw goes in.


Once the capping board is on top, the whole frame then needs to be moved into place. This mostly takes patience and effort. Once in, it’s not a bad idea to wedge something in between the frame and the wood of the support to ensure it’s in the right position before starting the boards.


Now that the side is done, the next step is to do the boards under the balcony.

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Posted by on July 21, 2012 in Decking [COMPLETE]


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Under the balcony frame

Under the balcony frame

So the next step to finishing off the deck is to offset the wall by boarding up the section under the back balcony. I have already started doing this as you can see in my previous post on the deck.

To be able to put the boards up, I need something to attach them to, so I have put a length of timber on either side of the metal supports for the awning. I put one on either side of the middle support and then one in the inside of each of the two other supports. I measured them to be exactly from the ground to the width of one decking board below the level of the balcony floor. This meant I could cap the whole thing with a decking board.

To attach the timber to the metal supports, I decided the best way was to use ‘tech screws’ which are specifically for metal. The ones I had left over from the roof of the awning were perfect, but a little short. Therefore I drilled the hole and then drilled a much larger hole (the size of the head of the screw) about halfway into the timber. This meant it would happily go into the metal, but would still hold the timber.

I also made sure the timber was a little bit wider than the metal to make sure that there was some air around it to breathe a bit. I also used timber the same width as the decking boards, this way it would nicely even up.

The next step was to cut a decking board the exact length to fit between the supports. This would be the capping to make the whole thing look neat and to avoid anything falling down behind the boards. I sat them in place to ensure they fit properly and then screwed them down once they were in place.

So, as you can see in the above picture, the part under the stairs needed to have a gap there to hold it in place. I figured that once the cross boards were there they would hold the side part in place so no further attaching would be required.

With the rest of that part set up, it’s time to finish off the side part under the stairs…

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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Decking [COMPLETE]


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Deck update

Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve posted about the deck – you thought it was finished didn’t you? Well it almost is. But, you know, the deck finished without the back yard done is like an exceptional meal without a garnish.

So, I’ve started boxing in the area under the balcony/verandah and thought I’d show the progress. Once this section is done, the plants will be put in the ground and the whole back yard cleaned up. THEN it will be finished.

The area in the photo above is where there were a bunch of plants that I have removed (and potted). My plan is to enclose this area by putting up boards that are arranged the same way as the back wall of the deck.

When I removed all the plants from the garden I kept ALL of them. The mondo grass I took out went into styrofoam boxes, but not all survived. I have had to empty the boxes, throw the dead stuff in the green waste bin, the foam into the bin and the excess dirt to back fill the areas in front of where the boards will go. Not a HARD job, but a bit time consuming.

I also arranged the left over wood behind where the boards will go so they look a bit tidier if you happen to look in there. I also left a coil of agflow pipe there as well. Now, it might sound like I’m just boarding up rubbish, but in fact it’s home to Elizabeth. Elizabeth and her husband Phillip are our resident blue tongue lizards. Elizabeth may have laid her eggs in the agflow pipe, so I’ve decided it wouldn’t be fair to displace her and risk hurting the kids. So I decided just to leave the pipe where it was and leave the boards in there for a playground. Besides, it’s their home too, right?

In this photo (above) you can see the area that I’m building up, which is under the sole remaining mondo grass box. This area is the end of the deck – and I will cut off the extra bits soon, don’t worry. The area under the trees and to the right of this photo will be where I’m planting the clivias to create a nice ground cover and a splash of green. You can also see in the background the agflow pipe, aka Elizabeth’s home.

This shot gives you a better idea of the area I’ll be covering with the boards. The part under the stairs will be a challenge, but the other parts should be as easy as just building a frame to attach the boards to. Then once complete the clivias will occupy that dirt space in front between the boards and the paving.

This is the area that I’m focusing on first – the stairs. This will be the trickiest since it’s a triangle shape. Therefore, I thought the best way to go about it was to draw up some plans….

From the above plans (if you can work them out) I have taken all the measurements and worked out roughly (diagram not to scale) where all the boards will go and how the frame will work.

Since this part of the “wall” will be mostly held up by the ends of the other frames, I’m not to concerned about how solid the frame is. It just needs to be enough to be able to support the weight of the boards. I’ve cut a few corners here, but I think it will be fine. Bascially I have put an upright on the left, one on the right and one in the middle. The uprights are bolted to a ground horizontal beam and the boards attached to the uprights. It all seems good in theory. Once the boards are in place, I’ll cut a board in half length ways and it will be the cap running down the “hypotenuse” of the wall.

Once I put the frame together, I got a little gung ho, so didn’t take pics, but when I had finished I put the birds nest plants near the wall to hold it if there’s a problem. Here are the pics of where I’m up to right now. I still have a few more boards to go on and the hypotenuse to affix as well.

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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Decking [COMPLETE]


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Finished Deck

The deck is finished (pretty much) with just a couple of little cosmetic things that need to be done. However, the bulk of it is done and apart from those small things, I only have the backyard landscaping to do. I hope to get a good start on it this weekend.

Anyway, thought I’d post up the final pics before I show the whole back yard.

So that’s the bulk of the work done. More pics when I finish the back yard!

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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Decking [COMPLETE]


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Finishing the deck!

Finishing the deck!

Okay, last we saw the deck was shaping up nicely with most of the top boards on and a couple of boards down for the facia side of the deck. The final part was to take the boards all the way to the ground and to finish the wall behind the deck to frame up the backyard.

Firstly, we had to put on the boards beneath the lights and that was pretty straight forward. We did that on both front facings. Then the real problem came with going to the ground.

I wanted to have a pretty solid looking front face, but also wanted to keep a small gap between the bottom of the board and the ground so that a) air is let in for ventilation and b) if there is an water run off, it flows into the drain. However, the ground isn’t even and the top of the deck is level, so this means cutting a board length ways that will fit.

The funny this was trying to work out how to cut it. As you’ll see a bit further down, it’s fairly easy in that you measure the gap and then mark it on the board. The problem was the tool to cut it with.

We decided on the jig saw since it was the easiest to control, but after snapping the blade we decided to just go with the circular saw. It made a nice long clean cut, and it turned out that any imperfections were hidden since it was so close to the ground.

Here’s the first board we did with the 20mm gap the whole way along.

Because the ground dropped off significantly, we had to use two boards to slope it, so the second one needed to also be measured and cut. We measured it at the support beams since that would be where we would attach them. Then we marked out the points on the board and basically joined the dots.

In this photo below you can see how we used the circular saw to cut along the board. The pencil mark was the guide and it turned out surprisingly well. My brother in-law is pretty handy with the saw, though. Also notice that he’s wearing safety goggles… that’s even more important in home DIY because you aren’t a builder working for some big company with lots of insurance. If you take an eye out, you’re paying for it! Besides, hard to finish the deck with one eye….

Once it was cut, we then chocked it into place and attached it to the bottom of the deck. It ended up looking great. You can also see at the top of the picture that the boards running along from the left hand side of the photo don’t have anything to attach to. You can also see my brother in-law wasn’t that excited about having his photo taken.

To make sure the boards joined in the corner, we ran the boards for the right side first and then attached an off cut of timber over the boards, up under the deck vertically. We then ran the other boards from the left and attached them to the off cut. This creates a seamless join that is out of the way, tidy and still very strong.

Once the boards underneath had been finished, we decided to start on the back wall. This wasn’t too difficult as the uprights have been there from the start. The first thing I did, though was to trim back the ficus trees to make it a little easier to get around.

We continued to use the three drill style – one for drilling, one for countersinking and one for screwing. We also used the two man approach – one holding the board and passing the drills, the other using the drills. We tangled the cords a lot and swore heaps, but it got done. You can see here, the photo is taken about half way up. Also, it’s worthwhile noting the three off cuts of board that we used to space the boards we were putting up.

I wanted to have a larger gap between the boards on the wall than on the deck. This gives an impression that the wall is different to the deck and stops the whole back yard looking boxed in. I was very happy with the spacing and how it turned out.

At about this point we realised that we didn’t have enough boards and that getting new ones would be a major issue. Each board is 5.4m long and you need a special vehicle to carry them. We decided to cross that bridge when we could and just use up what we had.

It’s also important to know that the four main parts of the wall – far left, corner left, corner right and far right – happened to fit together nicely if each board was cut in half. This meant that the far right and corner left could be cut out of one board, the far left and corner right out of another.

The only problem with this logic was that the boards needed to be put in with a specific order. That order was Far right, far left, corner right, corner left. This is because the boards need to overlap to be able to put in the hidden support beam for the other boards to rest on (in the same way we did the front boards in the corner.

However, this also meant that we needed to have cut the correct boards in the first place to be able to do that and with the lack of boards, we realised we didn’t have enough. So we did what we could and then found other things to do…

The first other thing was putting the bottom board on the left hand side. It was a little easier, because the final full board was the right height at one end and that meant we only need to cut one board. We did this and it also fit in really well.

Another other thing that needed to be done concerned the massive tree on the left hand side of the deck. I wanted to keep it there as a feature and shade provider, but it also meant having to build the deck around it. The floor of the deck was fine, I just needed a bigger hole, but the wall presented some challenges.

We decided – after much deliberation of my brother in-law and I both arguing how the best way to do it was, and realising that the meant the same thing, but communicated it differently – that we would need to build a frame that would support the boards that would have to fit around the tree. The frame itself is made from the same size timbers as the rest of the deck frame and are bolted in place the same way.

I wanted to have a “window” of sorts around the tree branches to allow for branch growth and to look nice, but the trunk of the tree to look like it was almost behind the boards. I still needed to leave room for the growth of the tree as well. We built this frame to have the height that the tree would allow, but to a point where the board would cover the top support when it was up. The other thing we did there was to put upright supports so that the boards had somewhere to be attached to.

We had worked out that we had enough of the boards to put up 3 boards in place to ensure that everything fit together okay size wise, so we put those in place first. We were happy with how the frame seemed to support the back wall a lot more than without the frame.

We also put up the first 3 boards on the corner right side to ensure that we had the right lengths there as well.

Below you can see where the boards go behind. From here, once those boards are all done, we’ll put a off cut over the top of them and then attach the corner left boards to the off cut. All going well it should also have a seamless join, but there is a little less pressure since the tree in the corner hides any problems.

With all of the boards used up, we had to them call it a day and work out how to get the rest of the boards to finish off the project.

The only thing left to do, was to give the deck a safety test to see how much weight it could take and for that we enlisted the help of my niece, Scarlett, Jake’s daughter. She seemed happy with the deck, but a little dubious of having her photo taken.

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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Decking [COMPLETE]


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