How to Install Composite Deck Boards

What You'll Need
Spirit level
Circular saw
Electric sander
Galvanized screws

Installing composite deck boards is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional wooden decking and more homeowners are turning to it when it comes to replacing their old decking. Its rise in popularity is partly due to the fact it lasts longer than traditional wooden decking. Composite decking is a mix of wood and plastic which makes it more resistant to moisture, splintering or rotting. This guide on installing composite deck boards assumes that you already have the frame in place which would be the case if you are replacing existing decking. Before beginning, ensure that the existing frame is in good condition and that any rotten parts are replaced. If you are installing a new deck, you should first check if any permits are required to meet the demands of any local planning permission codes.

Step 1 – Place the Decking Boards

The manufacturer’s instructions may give you some more specific guidelines when it comes to installing the boards. Marks or tags should be visible on the ends of the boards which act as guidelines on how to place them. Make sure that you follow these to keep a uniform appearance. Take measurements for the required lengths of the boards and cut them using a circular power saw. When you lay the boards in place, work from the wall of the house or outbuilding outwards. If you have any obstructions in the way such as downspouts, you will need to measure and mark on the planking where to cut a space to accommodate it. Use a jigsaw to cut the decking as required.

Step 2 – Fasten the Deck Boards in Place

Drill holes in each of the planks allowing for one screw for every joist. You can use a countersink to place an indentation in the planks to ensure that the screws are just below the surfaces. Use concealed fasteners in the planks, driving them in place before screwing them into the joists. Once you have installed the first deck board, measure up and cut the next one. Place it against the previous one and drive it into place with a few gentle taps of a hammer. Place another fastener on it and secure it using a galvanized screw to fasten it in place.

Step 3 – Finish the Rest of the Deck

Continue placing the rest of the decking boards in the same manner, cutting them to accommodate any obstructions along the way. Fasten each one together until you reach the end of the deck. In the final planks, you will need to cut a notch where the deck planks fit into the posts.

Step 4 – Finishing Touches

When you cut the planks, there will probably be rough edges left behind. Use the sander to smooth these down and get a nicer finish. Be sure to test the sanding first on an unused plank as you do not want to end up discoloring the plank material.