Building a deck in New Zealand
Decks are very popular 4 New Zealand households, as they provide additional dry and Safe Living Space plus they can also cover up unsightly and otherwise useless ground. A council permit is generally needed if any part of the deck is over 1 metre off the ground, but for every other deck the homeowner can basically build whatever they like.
There is obviously good practice, and the large building hardware have good information on this. The most common deck by an order of magnitude is the standard wooden deck, using posts, bearers, joists and decking. Wooden decks are not cheap, but they are also not nearly as expensive as the other alternatives, and timber is also much easier to deal with for the average handyman home owner.
The location and layout of the deck will initially be dictated by need, but most probably will finally be determined by cost or practicality. There is no point in building a deck or a part of the deck in a location that is difficult to work in or creates engineering or cost problems.
What’s the location and design of the deck has been finalised, then the location of the posts and bearers needs to be marked out. The choice of timber and the spacings are all clearly spelled out in the guidelines available at any major hardware store.
The next step is to establish a string line that accurately sets out the location and height on the posts. The post holes need to be dug to the correct width and depth and at this point the easiest and quickest approach for the posts is to cut the posts at a length that will leave them 100 mm or so above the foot of the hole. The posts can even be temporarily attached to the underside of a dead straight 4 by 2 rail, and then all set in their various holes at the correct height before the concrete is poured.
Once the concrete is set and the temporary rail has been removed then the 50 x 150mm bearers can be firmly attached to the posts. Screwed galvanised nails or even galvanized bolts are the most common attachment method. Once the builders have been installed window 50 x 150 mm joists can also be installed on the bearers incorrect spacings. Once all the joists have been firmly attached to the bearers then the decking can be installed. The choice of decking dictates the final appearance of the deck, but it is not necessary to spend a lot of money one expensive overseas timber, is pine decking that has been properly selected can have a very attractive appearance and long-term finish. The best long-term attachment method who’s to drill the deck and use stainless steel screws, as these can easily be removed and the decking lifted if there is any need to do so in the future.