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How to lay and care for a flat deck

by Michael Boyle on June 12, 2019

A well-designed and properly-laid flat deck area adds beauty and value to any home and garden. Not only can it provide valuable extra living space and a safe play area – it can also be used as an attractive feature around a planting area or even as a walkway through any lawn or garden.

At Donegal Town Hardware, we are proud partners of Glendeck – the expert decking wing of Glennon Brothers Timber, based in Longford. Glendeck create all their decking products specifically for the Irish environment and use special treatments to protect them from what can be harsh weather conditions at any time of year. It means that when the sun does come out, and the great outdoors beckons, your flat deck will be in tip-top shape to welcome you there!

Decks come in many forms and designs, and for many people, it may be best to employ a suitable tradesman to do the installation work, particularly if it is to be a relatively complex design. If you’re laying a relatively straightforward flat deck and are confident of your DIY skills though, then there’s great satisfaction to be had in knowing you were the one responsible for a job well done.

Just follow this handy ‘How To’ lay and care for a flat deck guide that we’ve put together with the help of Glendeck, the decking experts!

  • First make sure to completely clear off the working area, and make sure there’s a gentle slope in the appropriate direction. A slope of about 10mm per meter will be enough to prevent standing water from building up on the deck when the rain inevitably comes.
  • Cover the working area with black polythene or a similar material, and weigh it down by spreading bark or gravel over the sheet.
  • Place lengths of treated timber, e.g. 4×2 or 4×3, on the ground. The number of pieces required will vary according to the width of the flat deck. Make sure the slope is even and correct!
  • Leave a space of 4mm between each board to allow moisture to pass through and to speed up the rate at which the surface will dry after rainfall.
  • Use specially coated decking screws or galvanised ringshank nails to attach the decking to the supports. If using nails, remember that pre-drilling the holes will greatly reduce the chances of splitting the timber.
  • Immediately treat any new end cuts in the timber with an appropriate preservative, such as Everbuild Lumber Jack Wood Preserver.

And now that you have your flat deck, you’ll want to know how to maintain it and care for it going forward. Again, we’ve teamed up with Glendeck to offer the following advice:

  • Sweep the deck frequently, and hose it down thoroughly when more dirt accumulates.
  • Clean the space between the deck boards every Autumn after the leaves have fallen, and every Spring before the busy season too. You can use a stiff wire brush or a putty knife to do this.
  • Remove any mildew as soon as you see it! This is probably the most important piece of advice you can get for looking after your flat deck! Mildew can appear at first as just a small dirt-like spot, but will quickly grow into larger black or brown stains. Get rid of it straight away, and give your entire deck a treatment of mildewicide once a year, and more frequently in shaded areas.
  • If your deck becomes damaged and you need to replace some elements, or if you want to extend it, make sure you come back to us for further Glendeck products to ensure complete harmonisation overall.