Decking FAQ


Timber decks are marvelously flexible structures that can be designed and built to suit you, your family and your property. They make great additions to homes of all ages and are superb for businesses like pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants that want to create an attractive outdoor room for their customers to enjoy.

If your query isn’t covered then please make contact with us and will get back to you.

The key thing about coloring deck boards is that the coating that you use is suitable for the purpose. Products that are intended for use on vertical surfaces like cladding, doors and windows have properties that do not lend themselves to flat surfaces that are subject to footfall and particularly the movement of timber as it responds to changes in moisture content throughout the season. This is the primary cause of peeling and lifting.

SANTAVI ensures the type of product you need is the one designed specifically for decks in that they penetrate rather than coat the surface and are resistant to scuffing by footfall.

Treated timber will have variations in color between one piece and another. This is due to the relative proportions of heartwood and sapwood in each piece. Sapwood is more permeable than heartwood and so takes up more preservative which results in an initial variation of color from green (sapwood) to beige (heartwood). Once installed and exposed to the elements, the initial strength of color fades to a warm, honey brown and in the long term will become a natural silver grey all over.

Remember, timber is a natural product and variations in character are to be expected. Occasionally timber containing high or mobile resin levels can give a blue coloration at the time of treatment, however this fades rapidly into the overall natural green/beige color.

Timber decks differ from conventional patios and terraces most significantly in their elevation and general height of construction.

For all but the simplest, low-level garden deck, property owners should satisfy themselves that planning regulations do not apply to their proposed structure.

In addition to contacting your Local Authority, we strongly recommend that you talk to all your neighbors about your plans. Neighbor objections are the most usual reason for planning refusal or enforcement notices after completion. Local Authorities can insist that structures are dismantled and removed where consent should have been obtained, but was not.

A timber deck should provide years and years of pleasure. That’s because SANTAVI only uses naturally durable timber species or rot proof pressure-preserved wood in our construction. If the deck has been built using the correct materials and good building practices then it will last almost indefinitely if properly serviced and looked after.

The key factor in preventing slipperiness is to ensure that the deck surface is kept clean and surface deposits such as mildew, algae and fine mosses are kept at bay for it is these deposits that cause slipperiness on any surface, even stone flags, in wet weather.SANTAVI recommends to give decked surfaces a frequent brush with a stiff broom and to give them a thorough clean once a year in spring or autumn using either a power spray washer or an approved SANTAVI proprietary deck cleaning product.

By far the majority of timber decks, boardwalks and piers built around the world are surfaced with plain timber boards. Whilst grooved deck boards are often marketed as “anti-slip” there is no evidence to suggest that they perform any better or worse than plain decking. Choice of deck board style is therefore a matter of personal preference.

A fall of around 1:100 should be built into a deck to help the surface drain and prevent standing water. Grooved deck boards were actually designed to aid water drainage and as such should be laid in the direction of the fall away from any adjoining property.

Where there is a higher than normal requirement to prevent the risk of slipperiness, for example on ramps, stairs, bridges or on public/commercial installations then deck boards with built-in abrasive strips can be used.

Fixings used out of doors should be corrosion resistant to prevent rusting and weakness of the structure in subsequent years. Nails can be used for fixing – but screws are ideal. Screw size should be three times the thickness of boards and they should be positioned not closer than 25mm to edges and countersunk below the surface. Fixing points at the ends of boards should be pre-drilled to prevent splitting. All screw points in hardwood deck boards should be pre-drilled 2mm oversize and countersunk before fixing.

The advantage of screws over nails is that they are more secure than nails and enable boards to be lifted easily to gain access below the deck for maintenance or repair or fixing lights and can be re-tightened if necessary.

Balustrades (or parapets) on decks can serve several functions, ranging from simple decorative boundaries to full safety barriers. Even a small change of level can be a hazard, particularly for elderly or infirm users.

Unless the deck surface is flush with the surrounding ground level, a parapet or edge protection detail should be incorporated. For very low-level structures, this may take the form of a simple decorative rail, a trellis panel, a raised planter box, a bench or seat, etc.

The height of the parapet depends on how far the deck surface is off the ground:

For ‘low-level’ decks up to 600mm from ground level – parapet height should be 900mm

For ‘high-level’ decks over 600mm high – parapet height should be 1100mm

Where parapets act as safety barriers, SANTAVI ensures that designed and construction meet the SA building regulations

All decks will benefit from regular brushing with a good stiff broom on a frequent basis throughout the year. Once a year, in Spring or Autumn, SANTAVI recommend giving your deck a more thorough cleaning using a pressure spray or a purpose made Decking Cleaner which is formulated to remove grease and discoloration and restore the look of the wood. Keeping the deck surface clean in this way not only keeps it looking like new it also reduces the conditions that cause any surface to be slippery when wet.

Unless a deck is painted with a stain, the original color of the timber used will fade gradually when exposed to the elements. Whether your deck is made from a deeply colored hardwood or the more mellow hues of a softwood species it will fade over time to a pleasant grey. However, using a clear water repellent coating will help to prevent fading.

Timber is a natural product and as your deck timbers weather, small cracks are likely to appear on the surface of the boards. These are caused by the intermittent wetting and drying of the wood and are part of the character of wood. They have no structural effect whatsoever. This natural ageing process can be slowed by the annual use of a clear water repellent coating.

Please contact SANTAVI to discuss an annual service option to ensure your deck looks and feels the same as when installed.

Some types of timber contain a resin that may exude from the surface of the timber in hot weather and create rings of crusty white powder around knots in the timber. This resin is not at all harmful and can be removed from the surface of the timber with a stiff brush. It is unlikely that resin will continue to exude after the deck has been through its first summer.

Yes – timber decks can be customized to your own style and decorative taste. The choice of additional design features – balustrades, pergolas, trellises, steps and so on – is almost infinite. The nice thing about timber decking is that it can be extended, or another level or a feature can be added in the future to enhance your enjoyment.

Yes, a deck can be designed to support almost anything you want to put on it. Jacuzzi’s have become very popular but when full weigh several tons. It is vital that the decking structure is purpose designed by a structural engineer and appropriate stress graded timber used. For decks that are intended to carry loads like this we recommend contacting a specialist such as ourselves.

The price of a timber deck will obviously vary enormously depending on design and size and so on. A professionally designed and installed deck compared to other major home improvements, such as a new kitchen or conservatory, decks are great value. Professional deck designers and installers have the knowledge and experience to ensure that you end up with a quality product that will last a long time and perform marvelously.

Using a professional deck designer and installers will give you the peace of mind that your deck has been designed and installed to the highest industry standards. Using a decking professional will give you access to the wealth of designs possible and top advice on finishes and maintenance procedures – of course it is possible for the DIY enthusiast to tackle decking, although a fair degree of competence is required.

Not at all! The sort of wood used in timber decking comes from responsible producers who insist on proper management of their resources. This involves the conservation of forests through the use of sustainable forest management techniques and renewal through re-planting schemes. Timber is the only mainstream construction material that originates from a renewable resource and, as a result of the policies mentioned above the amount of productive forest in Europe (from where most decking timber comes) is increasing every year.


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