How to Build a Deck - Bamboo Deck Installation
How to build a deck with bamboo decking boards? In this manual we show how you can build a professional deck in 6 steps. With our automated decking calculator you can easily calculate the required deck building materials to make an accurate estimate of the total cost.
Good preparation is half the job. Think carefully about your deck design and make a sketch in order to calculate the needed materials. Include deck pattern, type of foundation and joists in the sketch.
- How large do you want to make the deck? Firstly determine the size of the deck. For a simple terrace with a dining table, 4 chairs and a sun lounger you can assume a 4 x 5 m deck (20 m²). Also indicate in which direction you will mount the decking boards (lengthwise or widthwise). For aesthetic reasons, decking boards are often installed parallel to the house, this often means that no slope is taken into account. For an optimal lifespan of your decking boards, however, we recommend to always provide a 1-2% slope (1 cm decline per meter).
- Where will you install the deck? If you want to install the decking on a flat surface such as that of a roof terrace or balcony, you can use rubber tiles as a basis (make whether your roof or balcony is suitable for supporting the weight of the deck!). If you want to make a deck in the garden or on the water, it is important that you make a stable substructure / foundation to which the deck boards can be secured. Consider, for example, hardwood foundation posts or adjustable joists supports.
- Which tools and materials will you need? The tools and materials needed to build a deck largely depend on the type of surface you will build the deck upon. What you certainly need are: builders line, tape measure, pencil, long spirit level, cutting saw, cordless drill, decking boards, joists and decking clips. Depending on which surface you are going to build, you will also need the following tools and material: shovel, rake, drill, earth drill, post hammer, knife, ratchet, weed barrier fabric, concrete tiles, adjustable joist supports, picket posts and bolts.
Bamboo Import decking boards have a standard size of 137 x 1850 mm. That means that you need 4 board per m². Also take into account the space between the decking boards (6 mm) when calculating the needed boards.
The distance between the joists must be 462.5 mm (center to center). 1 decking board is therefore supported by 5 supporting joists. To calculate the exact number of joists and picket posts, we provide an example below:
- Suppose you want to build a terrace with a length of 500 cm and a width of 400 cm. To calculate the number of joists, divide the length of the terrace by the joist distance. In this example, that makes 500 cm / 46 cm = 11 + 1 end joist is 12. Then multiply this 12 by the width of your terrace in meters, 12 x 4 = 48 meters. You therefore need 48 linear meters of joists for the total terrace.
- If you are going to use picket posts as a foundation, you can calculate the required number in the following way: Divide the length of the terrace in cm by 46 cm, and the width by 60 cm. With a terrace of 500 by 400 cm you therefore need 500/46 = 11 picket posts for the length, and 400/60 = 7 picket posts for the width. In this case you need 11 x 7 = 77 picket posts for the entire terrace.
Attention! The foundation is the basis of your terrace, do not try to cut costs here and always keep the recommended span distance.
Bamboo Deck Installation in 6 Steps
Step 1: Aligning and Subsurface
- Decide where you want to make the deck and stretch the rope so that you know where the joists should go. It can be easy to plot the contours of the deck with small picket posts. Bear in mind that the joists will be perpendicular to the decking boards.
- Level the surface with a shovel and a rake and ensure a good water permeable soil structure under the decking. For example, you can make a substrate with layers of sand and gravel of approximately 10 cm thick.
- We recommend clearing the deck at least 10 cm from the ground, this ensures a good ventilation space under the terrace so that it dries quickly after a rain shower. If the deck reaches a height of more than 50 cm, then it is not necessary to level the soil.
- When the subsurface for your bamboo deck is ready, you can continue to plot the lines. Indicate where the picket posts, joist supports or tiles should be placed by making a mark on the substrate. Keep in mind that the picket posts in the width may not be more than 60 cm apart and 46.25 cm in the longitudinal direction of the decking boards. Dimensions are always center to center.
Step 2: Picket post installation
* You can skip this step if you use tiles or adjustable joist supports.
- After aligning and marking the deck, it is time to install the picket posts. Make holes for the hardwood 6 x 6 picket posts with a 7 cm auger and secure the posts in the ground.
- Place the picket posts about 80 centimeters deep in the ground, this prevents the posts from rising in the event of a severe frost.
- When positioning the picket posts, bear in mind that the support joists are mounted with M8 lock bolts ALONG the post rows and not ON the post heads.
Step 3: Weed barrier installation
- To prevent weeds from growing between the decking boards, weed barrier fabric is practically indispensable. If you do not use picket posts you can place the weed barrier directly on the levelled soil.
- If you did made a foundation with picket posts, place the weed barrier cloth over the posts and cut a cross on each post with a knife. You can then easily slide the weed barrier cloth over the picket posts.
- Ensure that there is always an overlap of approximately 20 cm when applying the weed barrier fabric. Optionally you can staple them with a tacker.
Step 4: Joist Installation
- Now that the weed barrier has been placed you can start installing the joists. Use joists with a minimum size of 40 x 60 mm. We recommend Azobe hardwood of 45 x 70 mm and preferably in the upright position, so with the 70 mm side up. This gives less deflection than when they are mounted horizontally.
- The joists can be installed in various ways, but always avoid direct contact with the ground. For example, use concrete / rubber tiles of approximately 40-50 mm thick, hardwood picket posts or height-adjustable joist supports. If you are going to attach the beams to concrete tiles, it is best to use corner brackets or impact bolts to secure them.
- When using picket posts, the joists must be secured to the side of the picket post and not on top of the posts. By securing the joists to the sides, they offer more strength. Use M8 x 120 mm lock bolts preferably. The ends of the hardwood joists must not lie directly against each other, keep approx. 5-8 mm space between them so that they have room to can expand.
Important! Provide approximately 1 cm slope per linear meter in the longitudinal direction of the decking boards to ensure proper drainage.
Step 5: Decking board installation
Installing our bamboo decking boards is very easy. Instead of having to screw through the boards, our bamboo decking boards are equipped with a groove so that our special decking clips locks into the boards. This way you can blindly fix the decking boards (clips and screws are out of sight) which is of course much more beautiful. Moreover, when using the decking clips you immediately create the right distance between the decking boards and the material can "work" in case of weather changes.
Due to the superior stability of Bamboo Import decking boards and the tongue and groove on the ends, there is no need to leave any space between the end of the board. The end match system however must be impregnated with oil or wax to prevent water penetration.
When using multiple decking boards, it is advisable to have the seams staggered. You can, for example, lay the decking in a stretcher bond pattern or random pattern. This gives a very nice look and also provides extra stability. Sawed-off boards must always be placed on at least 3 supporting joists. Secure the ends match of the decking board as much as possible on the joists. If a random pattern is desired, the distance between the joists must be 300 mm maximum (center to center).
Installing bamboo decking boards with decking clips:
- Determine which side of the board will be used as the top (ribbed or smooth side).
- Start by laying the first decking board in the corner of the terrace. Leave a minimum of 2 cm between the deck and any walls or obstacles. This way you ensure good ventilation.
- Place the decking clip in the groove of the decking board.
- Drill the hole for the screw. Hardwood joists must always be predrilled with a drill bit diameter 3.2 or 3.5 mm and a length of 8-11 cm.
- Mount the screw in the clip and support joist without fully tightening.
- Now place the next decking board.
- Tighten the screw into the clip and support joist. Always screw perpendicular to the joist. Use a cordless drill with a low speed and low torque. First do a few tests to tune the torque before starting the full installation. If necessary, use green soap on the screws for smoother tightening.
- If the tongue and groove rests on the joist, use 1 or 2 mounting clips as indicated in the drawings.
Installing bamboo decking boards with screws:
- Drill the hole for the left and right screw at 20 mm from the sides.
- Use stainless steel screws of approx. 5.5 x 50 mm.
Step 6: Finishing the deck
- You can safely cut off the deck boards that protrude. Depending on the length and design of your deck, you can use this sawn-off pieces for laying the next track. Any joists that are too long can be cut off as the very last step, the sides can be finished with a standing or side board.
- The sawn-off ends must be impregnated with oil or wax to prevent water penetration.
- Now that the entire deck has been installed and has been neatly finished, it is advisable to wipe the deck to remove dust or sawing residues.
- To prevent discolouration of the deck, it is advisable to apply oil twice a year. The best time to perform the first maintenance is 3-4 months after installation. With Bamboo Shield Oil you ensure that bamboo decking retains its beautiful color. You can also prevent color differences by regularly moving your outdoor furniture and / or storing it in the winter.
Your bamboo deck is now ready for use. If you still have questions about our products, its installation or maintenance, do not hesitate to contact us.