Ah, the allure of a tropical paradise—soft sand, clear waters, and lush greenery.
While we may not be able to transport you to the Caribbean, we can certainly help you bring a touch of the tropics to your own backyard with tropical hardwood decking. At Coastal Building Supply, we understand the importance of creating a relaxing outdoor space, and that’s why we’ve put together this casual yet professional guide on how to properly install tropical hardwood decking.
Why Tropical Hardwood Decking?
Tropical hardwoods are prized for their exceptional durability, natural beauty, and resistance to pests and decay. They’re the perfect choice for a deck that can withstand the elements and provide years of enjoyment. So, let’s dive into the steps to turn your outdoor space into a tropical haven.
Tips from the Pros:
Install decking 36” for 1×6 or 5/4×6. If less than 36” consider using 5/4×4 to reduce the likelihood of cupping or movement in the wood.
- Make sure to have adequate ventilation below deck
- The recommended minimum gap is 5/32” for kiln-dried decking. No gap is necessary for butt ends.
- End seal all cut ends. This prevents end grain from drying too quickly which can result in end grain checking or cracking.
- Oil both sides of the decking if possible. It is particularly important to oil the bottom of the deck boards in applications closer to ground contact or over membrane decks.
- Use Stainless Steel Screws and always predrill before sinking screws
- If installing close to the ground, make sure the ground is sloped to draw water out from under the deck. It is also recommended to put a vapor barrier down and cover it with gravel to help water escape from under the deck.
- Decide on fastening style: face screwed, face screwed and plugged or hidden fastener.
Materials You’ll Need:
- Tropical hardwood decking boards
- Pressure-treated lumber or tropical hardwood for framing
- Stainless steel screws
- Tape Measure
- Circular saw or Miter Saw with carbide tipped blade
- Drill with screwdriver bit and ⅛” pre-drill bit
- Safety gear (gloves, safety glasses, dust mask or respirator)
- Decking oil and end sealer
- Deck spacers for consistent gapping
Step 1: Plan and Design
Before you start installing your tropical hardwood decking, it’s crucial to have a solid plan in place. Consider factors like the deck’s size, layout, and any additional features you want to include, such as railing or built-in seating. Proper planning will save you time and ensure your deck meets your needs.
Step 2: Prepare the Site
Clear the area of any vegetation, rocks, or debris. Ensure the ground is level and use a weed barrier to prevent unwanted growth under your deck.
Step 3: Build the Frame
A sturdy frame is the foundation of any deck. Use pressure-treated lumber to construct the frame, ensuring it’s square and level. Properly secure the frame to the house or supporting posts using galvanized screws.
Step 4: Install Decking Boards
Start by laying the first decking board along the edge of the frame, allowing for a slight overhang if desired. Attach it using stainless steel screws, making sure they’re countersunk to prevent tripping hazards. Use a spacer to maintain consistent gaps between boards, typically around 1/8 inch for tropical hardwoods. Continue installing boards until your deck is complete.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
Tropical hardwoods can naturally age to a beautiful silver-gray patina, but if you prefer to preserve their original color, consider applying a decking oil or sealer. This will protect the wood from UV damage and moisture, keeping it looking vibrant for years.
- Regularly sweep or rinse your deck to remove dirt and debris.
- Apply a fresh coat of decking oil or sealer every 1-2 years to maintain its appearance.
- Check for loose screws and replace any damaged boards as needed.
With the proper installation and care, your tropical hardwood decking can provide a serene and inviting outdoor retreat for years to come.
At Coastal Building Supply, we’re here to help you every step of the way, from selecting the right materials to offering expert advice on installation and maintenance. So, kick back, relax, and let your tropical paradise come to life right in your own backyard.