How To

  • It is easier than it looks to build a raised timber deck.  Timber decks can be designed to meet most design situations. According to the Timber Decking and Cladding Association Desired service life options of 15, 30 and 60 years are given in European/British standards. It should be noted that 15 years is considered to be the minimum standard.  For new the NHBC insists on a 60 year service life in accordance with TDCA Code of Practice TDA/RD 08/01. Building a simple timber deck is straightforward and is considered less expensive and more environmentally acceptable than bricks or flagstones. The following step-by-step guide covers and is consistent with most of the basic applications to install timber decking and while these instructions are for guidance only please always remember to check with supplier specifications. Step 1: Make sure you plan in advance to ensure that boards will be flush with your frame. Prepare a level area for the framework by cutting the timber to the required length, then join using exterior wood screws. Check the frame is square by measuring from corner to corner and adjust if necessary Step 2: If you need to raise the frame, cut four blocks of timber to the desired height. Screw these to the inside of the frame at each corner, ensuring they're flush with the top. As these legs will be taking all the weight ensure you use at least three screws per block, Step 3: Place blocks or slabs underneath edge leg to spread the load and provide a level, stable base if your deck is sitting on grass or soil. Position and adjust checking the frame is level using a spirit level Step 4: Three joists are sufficient (one in the middle and the others at the centre-point between the edge of the frame and the centre joist) if you are building a small deck. Mark across one side of the frame first, then repeat on the opposite side. On larger decks, set joists at 400mm centres Step 5: Ensure that you measure across the inside of the frame at the joist marks before cutting lengths of the timber to suit. Fix the joists by tapping them with a rubber based mallet until flush with the top, then screw them in place from the outside of the frame Step 6: Support the joists with additional legs, spaced at 1m intervals. Follow the same method as shown in steps 2 and 3 for these legs, ensuring each is supported by a suitable block or slab Step 7: For the facing, measure the length of the outer sides of your frame and cut the decking boards to suit. Mark the cutting lines with a square to ensure a straight edge. Countersink the facing and screw to the frame, ensuring the facing is flush with the top Step 8: Now you are ready to start laying the deck. Measure across the top of the frame and cut a board to length. Place the first board flush with the outside edge of the frame and facing, and perpendicular to the joists. Mark the location of each joist on the board Step 9: Mark and countersink screw holes over the centre of each joist. Be sure to use a sharp countersink that will leave a clean hole. If necessary, drill a pilot hole to prevent splitting. Use at least two screws per joist for each decking board Step 10: Ensure you have a 5mm expansion gap between each board (as timber expands and contracts according to outdoor temperatures). Use a spacer to do this. Step 11: Continue the process until you have completed the job.  
    1,079 views Sep 16, 2017
  • Horrible looking drains, manhole covers and inspection chambers appear in driveways and footpaths everywhere. You can even find them in the middle of your lawn or garden! How do you hide ugly manhole covers and drains?                     There are several ways to pretty up these ugly necessities but, however you choose to do it, remember that water utility companies require access at all times. If they cannot be accessed when required they will be dug up and not only will you receive a bill for doing so, you will also be left with the expense of repairing any damage. A much better idea is to (where possible) replace the existing industrial looking cover with a removable recessed (or inset) tray. Then you have the option to either blend them in with the surface or make a feature out of them. Recessed tray options A quick internet search will show you just how many different types of recessed trays are available – too many to mention here! You choose depending on where they are and what material you are going to fill them with. Basically they fall into two categories: Standard recessed tray Currently the most popular choice, made from polypropylene, aluminium or stainless steel and can be suitable for use by both pedestrians and vehicles. Permeable recessed tray This more recent option from EcoGrid provides a load bearing surface that features membranes and a perforated base which allows water to slowly filter through to the drain underneath. Infill options Another internet search will result in a lot of options for infilling a recessed tray. Your final choice will depend on where the drain, manhole cover or inspection chamber is and what the surface will be used for. Here are a few of the most popular infill options: Block paving or bricks These are common choices and can be cut to either blend in or contrast with the surrounding surface. Resin bound paving This is the most popular choice for the seamless finish - created by infilling the recessed tray with the same colour aggregate. You can also create contrast by using a different colour or produce a logo or design in the recessed tray. Using a permeable recessed tray with resin bound paving creates a fully permeable surface. Loose gravel Probably the quickest and easiest way to infill a recessed tray is with loose gravel, but it will inevitably scatter. The fleeing gravel will need regular sweeping and replacing and your lawn mower won’t like it much either... Grass Whilst sowing grass seeds into a recessed tray blends in with a lawn it can be awkward to mow and unless it’s sown in a permeable recessed tray, it will dry out very quickly. Of course you could opt for artificial grass… Plants and flowers Infilling with flowers and/or plants can help disguise unsightly drains, manhole covers or inspection chambers. You can also create a spectacular feature, but as with grass they will dry out very quickly unless a permeable recessed tray is used. Useful links: How to build a recessed manhole cover : An overview  from the Paving Expert. We strongly recommend clarifying ownership and responsibility before modifying or carrying out maintenance to drains, sewers and manholes. Author: Gail Gilkes, Head of Marketing, SureSet UK Ltd. Visit: Follow us:
    856 views Sep 14, 2017