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How to build a deck: Installing decking

June 25, 2024

Building a deck can transform an outdoor space, creating a perfect area for relaxation and entertainment. To ensure your deck project is successful, it’s essential to carefully plan and design every aspect, from size and shape to materials and fasteners. This guide will walk you through the key steps in building your dream deck, making the process easy to understand and enjoyable. The third step in this process is installing decking. 

Review installation requirements

Before installing TimberTech Decking, review the specific installation requirements for TimberTech Advanced PVC Decking or Composite Decking. Understand the fastening requirements for the material and board profile, gapping requirements between boards and at butt joints, and pre-drilling requirements, among other best practices. Before starting, view videos on top tips for installing both our Advanced PVC and Composite Decking. 

Keep decking cool

To minimize gapping, keep deck boards cool during installation by avoiding direct sunlight right before fastening them to the frame. 

Install first board

Typically, the first deck board to install is the one closest to or furthest from the house. Starting from the house and working outward can help you end on a full deck board by leaving the joists long until the end. Popular options for first and last board installation include the Cortex Hidden Fastener, which covers screws with plugs made from TimberTech Decking, and TOPLoc, color-matched screws available for both our Advanced PVC and Composite Decking. When installing TimberTech Composite Decking, pre-drill as required for Cortex and TOPLoc. If the first board is on the deck’s outside edge and will be visible, a Square Edge board is preferred. 

Install field boards

For the field of the deck, continue with top-down fasteners like Cortex or TOPLoc, or use grooved boards with CONCEALoc, EDGELoc, or FUSIONLoc for a faster installation. While hidden clip fasteners offer self-gapping features, using deck spacers will ensure consistent gaps between boards. During this step, it is critical to follow end gapping instructions for both TimberTech Advanced PVC and Composite Decking. For cutting field boards, a compound miter saw produces the cleanest cut, though some installers prefer leaving boards long and cutting with a track saw for perfectly straight lines. Always cut the ends of the boards on-site to ensure a square end. 

Install picture frame & borders 

Adding picture frames and borders gives the deck a polished finishing touch and minimizes the appearance of gapping by avoiding butt joints between long boards. These are typically installed with Cortex and TOPLoc Fasteners. 

Install fascia boards

TimberTech offers Fascia Boards for all Advanced PVC and Composite colors, with matching TOPLoc Fascia Fasteners for both material types. 

Once your decking has been installed, you’re ready for Step four: Installing railing.

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