How to Build a Ground Level Deck

Creating a ground level deck is quite an easy project, making it ideal if you’ve never constructed anything before. If you’re still looking for decking, check out here:

Your Safety First

When undertaking a decking project please make sure you always have someone to help you.

  • Always wear protective safety gear
  • Make sure there are no pipes or cables underneath any decking that you secure with footings.

Prepping the Site

Step One: Measure out where you want you decking to be. Hammer a peg into all four corners so you know where your decking begins and ends. Run a piece of string or a builder’s line from each peg so you can see where the decking will be.
Step Two: Clear away any rocks, weeds or plants. Using an edger, make a straight cut into your lawn and remove the turf. Use a deck board with a spirit level on it to ensure the area is straight. Level out any unevenness.
Step Three: Decide what type of surface you’re going to lay the decking on. You can use concrete pads which give extra stability. You can also use the ground as it helps to keep this project relatively simple.

Step Four: Composite decking needs expansion gaps. The fastening system which is hidden creates a 6mm expansion gap. This gap appears between the boards when they are fitted width to width. When the boards are fitted end to end there is a 3mm gap.

If you’re attaching your decking right next to a wall you will need to leave a gap of at least 10mm. Start in one corner of the deck area and fit the start clips along just 1 edge of the outer joist. Please make sure that every start clip needs to be centred on each inner and outer joist.

Step Five: Now secure the clips with the screws that have been supplied. Now take a no.1 square drill bit and push the grooved edge of the board into a start clip. Please make sure that the board is straight and well-secured.

Step Six: Now the first board is in place, slide the fastener into the edge of the board. Line up the screw hole that’s in the fastener with the joist’s centre. Screw half way down using the drill bit, making sure you don’t tighten it fully. Continue with this along the length of your decking board, ensuring you don’t tighten fully at any stage.

Step Seven: Take the second board and make sure all of the fasteners fit right into the groove. Install the next lot of fasteners on the opposite side of the second board. Once you’ve done this you can tighten the first row of screws.

Step Eight: Continue with steps 4 to 7 making sure you tighten each row after you’ve added the next board and it’s in place.

Please note that each of the fasteners creates the 6mm expansion gap that you’ll need. When it comes to installing the final board you can either:

  • Install it with a fascia board
  • Overhang all of the outer joists

– The fascia board

To install with a fascia board pre-drill some pilot holes at an angle. You should do this through the deck board’s outer edge and in the outer joist. You can do this with a 3.5mm drill bit. Now attach the fascia board making sure it’s flush with the surface of the deck. Screw in the composite deck screws measuring 63mm.

– The overhang

To install the overhang please pre-drill pilot holes at an angle of 45 degrees. You should do this from below the deck’s surface and through the outer joist. Now add the last board onto the fasteners and overhang the outer joist. Please note that an unsupported solid deck board should not overhang by any more than 13mm.

Now drill the pilot holes and secure the deck board with some deck screws. If you wish, you can fit a fascia board. A fascia board adds more stability and also gives the deck a nice neat finish.

– Top Tip

If you are fixing boards end-to-end you might need to stagger the boards across the whole of the deck. When the ends of each deck boards meet they will need to be fastened. You can do this using the hidden fasteners, two on each end.

If your joist is more than 50mm wide the 3mm gap and the join will be right in the centre of the joist. It will be surrounded by 4 fasteners.

If your joist is a little less than 50mm wide you will need to widen it using an off-cut joist. You can also fix the fasteners to the joists. Creating a ground level deck is a relatively easy project but you need to take your time with it. Please make sure you do not rush any aspect of the project and you do not tighten any fastenings or screws until you know they’re in the right place.