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 Post subject: Lower Decking Advice
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:47 pm 
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Hi guys i'm looking to put a ground level decking in the back garden and need advice on the base.
Can I just put the base joists straight onto pea shingle or should I build concrete pads for the base to rest on? As i get some people saying that straight onto pea shingle would be enough but then others who say that it should be on concrete pads. But then when it rains wouldn't the water collect on the concrete pads and then the base joists are then sitting in water and then might possibly rot?? :help: :dunno:
I know to put a slight slope on the actual base of say 1:100 so that water runs off the boards but i'm confused on the base please guys any tips etc would be greatly appreciated. :help: :salute:


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 Post subject: Re: Lower Decking Advice
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:41 am 
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putting it on padstones (or even bits of paving slabs) will allow better airflow to the joists. Better airflow = less rot.

you can lap damp proof material over the pads.

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 Post subject: Re: Lower Decking Advice
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:49 am 
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I dig out two and a half feet holes using a post digger. Then I fill six inches of the hole with gravel. Pound in the gravel tightly and then set my posts in with postcrete. The gravel helps with drainage. Maybe overkill but it's what I was shown years ago.



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 Post subject: Re: Lower Decking Advice
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:29 am 
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I prefer support pads or posts too, assuming that you have a suitably strong deck frame to bridge them. Mostly for reasons of air and moisture already mentioned, plus I like to tie the thing down where it is wanted. If it were a long term investment or in a boggy area, I would even consider using concrete posts or masonry piles/pillars.

Unless you are laying gravel anyway (say for weed control) then for me, digging out, levelling and compacting the whole area in gravel is not necessarily easier; certainly not lighter work.

Though that said, for structures that don't have the strength to span support points (maybe for cheapness, or a very low profile), laying on an even gravel surface may be needed. I would prefer something much more angular than pea shingle though; the rounded pebbles don't interlock well and are hard to compact down into a stable base.

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 Post subject: Re: Lower Decking Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:52 am 
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thanks for the reply guys, so are you saying that laying directly onto gravel/pea shingle will not be good enough for drainage but onto pads and allow air flow? is this correct? :thumbright:


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 Post subject: Re: Lower Decking Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:09 pm 
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bgatty68 wrote:
thanks for the reply guys, so are you saying that laying directly onto gravel/pea shingle will not be good enough for drainage but onto pads and allow air flow? is this correct? :thumbright:


Yes. Distance between the padstones will be dependent on the joist sizes.

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 Post subject: Re: Lower Decking Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:05 pm 
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Another quick question regarding the gap between the boards. Should it be 3mm or 5mm as I have read that due to expansion in summer and moisture retention in the winter the gap needs to be right of can cause issues later on? What do you guys set as your gap?


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 Post subject: Re: Lower Decking Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:36 pm 
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It depends what condition the boards are in (and how wide they are etc). If they're sopping wet and new then they're only likely to shrink, and potentially quite a lot. So there I would install them very close together in the hope that the gap won't be excessive later on. If they're bone dry and well seasoned then I'll separate by say 5mm in the hope that there'll be room to expand in wet seasons. If they're in between, you have to guestimate what is appropriate.

Which is hard if you don't know how they've been seasoned and stored, or if they're of dubious or variable quality which many are these days. But IMO it doesn't matter if the gap is a bit bigger, whilst it certainly does matter if the deck bows up when it expands. So if in doubt be a little generous.

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 Post subject: Re: Lower Decking Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:52 pm 
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Nice one Kev888.
So when the boards arrive would be best to leave them outside exposed to the elements to dry out for a week or so or wouldn't that matter?


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 Post subject: Re: Lower Decking Advice
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:46 am 
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If they've got a high (or this time of year possibly low) moisture content then yes allowing the boards to acclimatise before use could be helpful - if you have the time and somewhere covered to do this. Though depending on how wet they are it might take a couple of months to do well.

TBH I rarely have that luxury, and so try to buy decent boards from places that store them fairly well to begin with. For exterior timber, stored outside but protected from rain is generally a good start, especially at this time of year.

In my area, the local timber specialists tend to do a better job than the big general sheds. One of the latter seems to store theirs in a lake somewhere, whilst another hardly sells any and so keeps them for months in their hot dry tin shed.

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 Post subject: Re: Lower Decking Advice
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:41 pm 
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Oh that's interesting as i was looking to purchase mine from Travisty Perkin?


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