Learning how to install composite decking is very important if you want to have a great relaxing area for your property. Thankfully, with the right ideas and guidelines, you will have no problem getting the results you expect. There are always challenges that can arise as you install composite decking, which is why we created a set of guidelines to make the process as simple and as convenient as possible. You can follow the list below to obtain a comprehensive guideline with everything you must do and how you can complete the entire process.
Things to consider before you install composite decking
After your composite decking arrives, you want to leave it in the elements for at least 24 hours. You want to do that in order to have it acclimatised to the conditions. You don’t want to install composite decking if the temperatures are very low outside. Your materials need to be easy to work with if you have woodworking machinery and the proper tools. Normally, if you use a saw that’s designed for wood and which comes with a fine-tooth blade, you will be fine most of the time.
When you are cutting the boards, you want to make sure that you support those boards below. Of course, you also need to prepare yourself with the right equipment. That means buying gloves, dust masks, safety eyewear and any other tools that will keep you safe. The last thing you want is to encounter any type of problems, so try to keep that in mind.
Start with building a supporting structure
Before you learn how to install your composite decking, it’s important to build a supporting structure. In case you have a concrete sub-base, you need to make sure that the concrete is at least 10 cm thick and it comes with a minor slope. The idea here is that you want the water to run away from the building/property and also make sure that it doesn’t gather under the deck to form a pool.
You also want to fasten the WPC joists to the concrete base. You can do that using screws via the joints, although you can also add some plastic raw plugs. Add these to the base and ensure that you create spaced rows in parallel that help you think about the run-off water.
We recommend that the maximum space you are leaving between the joist rows to be up to 40 cm. It will vary mostly based on the angle that you use in order to lay the boards on the joists. If you make it more than 40 cm, there can be issues and that’s the thing you want to keep in mind as much as possible.
Try to make sure that you have a gap of at least 15 mm between a fixed structure and the joist ends. This gap will help offer the drainage that you need, while also making sure that you have the right temperature expansion already good to go. You also need to consider the fact that all supporting substructures will make a difference.
Adding the composite decking boards onto the joists
Now that the supporting structure is handled accordingly, what you want to do is to start fixing the composite decking to joists. This is a very important aspect to keep in mind when you learn how to install composite decking. Depending on the composite decking you choose, you can have clips with stainless steel screws. The clips system is great because it helps bring in enough contraction and expansion for the boards.
Ideally, you want to study how to install composite decking from the outside area. You must place the first board and then use a starter clip and its dedicated screw system. What you do here is to screw the composite decking into the joist. The upcoming edge will sit alongside other decking board, you want to add a set of composite T clips and then you screw it in the joist. You can use a single T clip for each one of the joists.
After that, you will need to slide the board into the T clip row, you install another T Clip row to the edge and screw it into the joists. Then you just have to continue with this process more and more. It will help you fit all the composite decking boards in place, making it easy to attach the last board in the end and complete the system properly and with great results. Remember, the composite decking needs proper support, so you always need to be certain that they are screwed in properly.
What are the minimum spacing requirements?
When you identify how to install composite decking, the main focus is to leave proper spacing if possible. Ideally, you want to have a gap of at least 7 mm between the board sides. You want to have that because it delivers better drainage. Plus, temperature changes can lead to the composite decking expanding a little bit. You want to account for these things before they happen, so leaving a bit of room between the boards will help you a lot.
That’s why we recommend you to use the T clips when you install composite decking because it helps maintain these gaps. It’s also a good idea to have 8 mm gaps right at the butt joints. And around 15 mm between the board edges and the wall or other similar objects. As we mentioned earlier, this helps a lot with things like drainage, and it will offer the results and value that you may need. The best part is that you can do these things without a problem. Plus, they can make a huge difference and the results will be second to none if everything is managed in an appropriate manner.
Finalising your deck
Once you know how to install composite decking and you add all the boards, then you will need to finalise everything. What you want to do is to glue the composite skirting trims to the joist edge. It’s also ok to screw them into place onto the joist. Again, you want to leave that 8 mm gap between the skirting trim and the composite decking board ends. It will help you in case the boards are expanding due to the overall temperature variations found outside.
You can also apply corner trims as a final touch, just screw those onto the decking joist. It’s important to always think about air circulation. It may sound like a great idea to seal the decking area, but it’s not. What you want to do is to have proper ventilation and drainage. In case anything happens, you will be protected and you will have some very impressive results. It’s a great idea to consider, and you will appreciate the way it all adds together here.
Tips to consider when you install composite decking
- You should always make sure that you clean the composite decking debris. You can do that before you start the composite decking installation process. Some of the boards can be dirty, they can have dust, dirt or grime. It’s a lot harder to clean them once you start the installation process, so try to do that beforehand.
- Remember that not all your composite decking boards will fit perfectly. You can use the electric saw in order to cut everything in the shape you want. That means you need to measure everything perfectly and ensure that it delivers the right amount of value and quality. It will take a bit of a trial and error, but it will make things work a lot better in the end.
- Think about picking the right colour. Remember that you can have a variety of composite decking colours if you want to match your home or the environment. This can be a very important factor to consider from a design standpoint. Yes, it’s easily overlooked, but you want to take it into consideration as much as possible for the best results.
- It’s possible to buy colour-matching end caps, L corner trims or fascia. This is actually a very good thing if you want to have everything look the way you want. Having the same colour everywhere helps a lot, and you really have to adapt and implement everything accordingly for the best experience. It’s definitely a great opportunity, and you can adjust based on your requirements.
Learning how to install composite decking is not as difficult as you might imagine. It will take a little bit of time to do it properly, but it’s definitely worth the effort. The best part about installing composite decking is that it’s not that difficult once you nail the starting point and move onward. Yes, it requires some trial and error, but in the end, it offers an incredible value and experience, and that’s the thing you want to go for. Use these tips and guidelines on how to install composite decking, and you will have no problem getting the best results!