Avoid These DIY Mistakes When Installing Your Own Timber Decking

A timber deck is a great addition to any home, as it gives you a secure flooring on which you can keep patio furniture and outdoor cooking equipment. A deck can also serve as an anchor for a frame you might use for exterior curtains, privacy screens, and the like.

You can often install a timber decking on your own if you have the right tools and a bit of knowhow, but this job may be more complicated than you realize. With that in mind, note a few DIY mistakes to avoid if you do decide to install your own timber deck, so that deck looks its best and remains in good repair for decades to come.


Never "cheap out" on the bolts, screws, nails, and other connectors used for your timber decking, as poor-quality connectors can easily bend or come out of place under the weight of a fully occupied deck. The wrong connector materials can also rust and rot very quickly, as these connectors will be exposed to humidity, rain, snow, and the like.

Choose galvanized steel connectors, which is steel coated in a layer of zinc, for maximum strength and resistance to corrosion and other damage. Also, note the size of connectors needed for the size of timber slats you choose, and invest in high-quality brands of connectors that are known to be durable, so your deck stays secure over the years.

Uneven boards

One way to make your deck look very amateurish and unattractive is to install the boards unevenly, with some boards starting to "drift" in one direction. To avoid this, use chalk lines created with a level meant for outdoor construction, and use these lines as a guide for the installation of each board as you work.

Not enough clearance under the decking

You never want to install timber decking directly on the ground, unless the boards are made of a plastic material; otherwise, the timber will absorb moisture from the soil and quickly begin to rot. However, a simple inch or centimeter of clearance may not be enough room either, as wet grass might grow in that small gap and reach the decking's underside. This also doesn't allow for proper air circulation under the deck, which is needed to keep the boards dry. Note the recommended clearance for your wood species in particular, and also remember that you may need to access the decking's underside for repairs, lawn maintenance, and the like, so ensure you leave adequate clearance between the deck and the ground under it.