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The most important aspect of your decking project is the planning process. Planning your decking prior to investing and installation is imperative to ensure you are prepared and have the correct materials and equipment to successfully and accurately complete your project. An accurately fitted decking is essential to make sure your decking will achieve its extensive lifespan without experiencing damage or issues down the line. Additionally, planning your decking to best suit your priorities and needs as a homeowner will prevent you from needing to or wanting to change your decking in years to come. There are multiple ways you can plan your decking project; we have carefully chosen and listed our top tips to ensure a properly planned project below. 

Calculating the accurate amount of materials

To ensure an accurately fitted decking in your exterior space, you must make sure you have the correct number of boards and accessories to complete the project. It is always recommended to order 5-10% more boards than estimated to allow for any miscalculation or wastage. For more complex decking designs 15% extra is recommended. This avoids any issues occurring when it comes to the installation process of your project and ensures that you won’t run into problems such as trying to reorder extra boards that aren’t in stock anymore etc.

If you are unsure about any calculations when it comes to your project, contact your supplier and they will aid you with this estimation process. Additionally, you must ensure you have ordered all the necessary accessories to complete your project such as clips or trims. When enquiring for estimates or calculations with your supplier, have your square metreage and any dimensions of your project on hand to help make the calculation process as quick and convenient as possible.

Plan a colour scheme to complement your landscape 

It is a good idea to plan your decking project around your existing landscape, so you can be sure that your decking will complement the environment you are installing it in. Creating a cohesive scheme through your interior and exterior will ensure a timeless aesthetic, that prevents you from wanting to change and replace your decking before the end of its lifespan. It can be difficult to match colours online, therefore the best solution is to order samples to see the colours in person. Ordering samples is a great way to see the colours for yourself in person to match to any outdoor furniture or designs and also check the quality of the boards you are investing in.

Make sure you are choosing colours and styles that isn’t just following a current trend that you will want to change in a couple years’ time. As composite is so durable and resilient, it has an extensive lifespan and will last for decades with the correct maintenance. Although this is a huge benefit, it can also be a burden if you have chosen a colour scheme or style that you will want to change before its lifespan is up, wasting your time and money. It is best to choose a colour and style that is timeless and that you know you will still want years and years down the line.

Plan the location – in relation to trees can affect maintenance etc

Another aspect that is important to note when in the planning part of your project is the location of your decking within your exterior space. The location you choose to install your decking is detrimental to the amount you will utilise your decking and can even affect the amount of maintenance necessary. For example, choosing to place your decking under trees and foliage will cause a build up of debris on your decking surface which will need more maintenance to avoid the accumulation of mould or mildew. You will have to brush and clean the boards more often in order to retain the appearance and structural integrity of your decking. When debris such as leaves are left on decking boards, it becomes a breeding ground for mould which not only distorts the appearance of your boards but can weaken the structure of the composite leading to failure and damage which can be a costly and time consuming fix.

If you place your decking in an area that receives direct sunlight, it is more likely to experience fading from the suns UV rays. If you are concerned about fading, especially when installing first generation composite boards, it is best to put your decking in a shaded area or place it under a pergola that will hide the decking from the suns UV rays. This is a simple solution particularly if you have a north facing garden or live in a location with a warmer climate that experiences lots of sunlight. It is also important to note that first generation composite will experience fading up to 40% in the first 6 months of installation and should stabilise over time. In comparison, second generation is much more resistant to fading and, in most cases, will only fade to an amount that is unnoticeable to the human eye.

Planning for installation

If you are hiring a professional fitter to complete your project for you, it is imperative to ensure you have ordered all your materials and accessories in enough time so that the fitter can start the job immediately without waiting for any additional materials needed to complete the job. It is also important to ensure that if you are storing your boards prior to installation that you have an area available that is dry and will keep the boards off the floor to avoid damage from moisture and debris.

Alternatively, if you are a DIYer and are completing your project yourself, you will need to ensure that you have all the correct materials, equipment and tools to safely and accurately complete your project. This includes the preparation of your existing surface landscape which will change the specific installation process needed for your individual project. Additionally, if you are constructing a raised decking or a decking that will exceed 50% of your exterior landscape, you will need to check with your local planning authority if you require planning permission for your project. Failure to adhere to planning regulations can result in fines and even removal of your project, so double check and speak with your neighbours.

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