Decking

How to Lay Decking

how to lay decking

The key to achieving a well-built deck is to learn how to lay decking in a professional and evenly spaced manner. Paying attention to the right measuring tools and high-quality wood boards is also necessary to help you with the overall procedures. Having a good hand-eye coordination for the job can go a long way too.

How to Lay Decking

The first step is to ensure that a sturdy, decking frame is built. Only then can you start laying the decking boards in place. Doing the job alone can be hard especially if you lack the experience to carry the wood planks, use the needed tools and get accurate measurements. It’s important to ask a house member or a handy neighbour to assist you since it involves heavy lifting, drilling and sawing.

Here are the basic steps how to lay decking safely and professionally:

  • Prepare the decking planks and other tools such as the screws, nails and drill
  • Place each board carefully, making sure that each is positioned to the final end of the frame (rim joist) near the property structure (if attached to the building) and seated under the joists
  • Use spacers in between the boards (from the first wood plank up to the last) to make the spaces or gaps consistent (a 7-10mm gap is enough to give room for wood expansion during wet conditions)
  • Drill decking screws to attach the joists that support the deck to the edge of each board (drill in a diagonal manner)
  • Repeat the process until you finish laying the rest of the decking planks
  • Use a string line, a spirit level and a pencil to mark the boards then cut the excess portion to achieve the intended shape

Additional Tips

  • Choose the perfect decking boards (treated, hardwood, composite and PVC plastic boards) that suit your property needs and preference
  • Place the boards before affixing them to the joist to see if adjustments are needed
  • Use whole decking boards so as not to stress yourself in cutting pieces of wood planks just to fill the gap.
  • Screw down the boards before cutting the excess boards (this keeps the boards firmly laid out)
  • Sand the boards to smooth out the edges and cut surfaces of the timber boards to remove splinters
  • Apply a water-repellent sealer or a staining finish to all sides of the boards to preserve the wood

Safety tip: Always wear safety glasses when using a jigsaw or circular saw to cover your eyes from dust and debris exposure. Wearing a face mask will also keep you from inhaling dust particles. Whether you’re working alone or with a friend, make sure to place the tools (nails, screws, spacer/fastener, drill) in a secured area for your safety and convenience.

Important: Disposing of excess boards should be strictly done after laying out the wood planks and staining the whole deck. Taking or leaving them to a local recycling facility can help regain their purpose if need be.

Applying the essential procedures on how to lay decking has advantages in terms of productivity and finances. You get to save more time and money without having to pay extra costs for professional assistance to conduct the entire process. You also have the freedom to position the decking planks based on your preferred schedule.

But if you want a more guaranteed placement without the need to remove and reposition the boards, getting someone to help you lay and attach the deck is a big relief.


HIREtrades is a one-stop online marketplace for connecting consumers and businesses, covering 200+ trades and serving all states across Australia. Visit our dedicated Decking page or Get A Quote by filling out our quick and easy form.