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About Decking: Starting Your Deck Project


One of the hottest trends on the housing market today involves bringing your indoor lifestyle out. Creating a beautiful outside living area is a great investment – you’ll typically realize a 100% or more return on the work you put in. As an added bonus, a well designed deck will make your neighbors green with envy…and what’s better than being the envy of the neighborhood?

The key to building a great deck is planning. Drawing a deck plan does not require a professional. An experienced handyman can plan the space and sketch up a plan that will work to estimate material needs and get a permit. Bear in mind that there’s no substitute for a workable plan. If a professional plan is within your budget and you don’t feel comfortable drawing up your own, the extra money is worth it.

Defining Goals

What is the primary goal for your deck? Will it surround a pool, or provide a cool retreat next to a lake or a garden vantage point? Will it be freestanding or attached to your home? Will it be elevated or ground level? Today’s decks are more than simple platforms. They serve as extensions of the indoor living space, providing room for a luxurious planter garden, a private place to relax, or an outdoor party room. The only limit to your deck’s purpose is imagination. You may even consider walling off a section of your deck for use as an outdoor shower! deck

Getting Creative

With all the options on the market, designing a deck that meets your needs and enhances your house and grounds is easier than ever. The more limited the budget, the more creative you should get. Even inexpensive building materials can be arranged in interesting patterns, stained, or painted for added interest. Decorating can involve a huge variety of deck accessories, found objects, planting, seating, and lighting.

Getting Your Ducks in a Row

Here’s a checklist to help you make sure your bases are covered.

  1. Make a working budget. If you know how much you can spend, you know where to spend – and where to save.
  2. Draw up a plan. Include measurements, and use the plan to estimate costs.
  3. Apply for a building permit.
  4. Purchase tools and materials.
  5. Have the city mark off underground utilities.
  6. Grade land if necessary.
  7. Dig holes and cement posts or pour a slab.
  8. Build deck, rails, and stairs.
  9. Add lighting, accessories, furniture, and plants.
  10. Enjoy your new outdoor living area.

If you’re looking to sell in this tough economy, building a deck is the perfect way to raise the value of your home with an interesting architectural feature and set your home apart for a relatively small investment. If you’re not, a deck offers a great way to enjoy the outdoors with your family and friends.

(28) Comments

  1. BuildDirect Product Expert Team
    BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

    Hello Donald,

    Thank you for the inquiry. Sadly, the manufacturers of our composite or synthetic decking tiles do not make a reducer piece as you are looking for. Only the FlexDeck, exotic hardwood, tiles have reducer pieces and corner pieces that snap into place. If you would like to take a look at the natural wood tiles, please copy and paste the link below into the address bar.


  2. I am considering purchasing Kontiki square composite deck tiles for a 280 sq ft concrete floor under a patio cover. 2 sides do not have walls and I need a way to make a angled edge to transition from the outside concrete to the squares. I see that there are a couple of brands that do sell that, but not Kontiki. They do sell a deck plank transition piece but will it snap into their squares?

  3. I have a desk off the kitchen which creates a space on the lower level for garden tractor and tools. The deck rails need to be replaced and the nails starting to poke through the fiberglass decking. Can I lay exotic wood on top of the fiberglass deck and will it be water proof. Because i don’t want my garden tools to get wet under the deck.

    • Hi Jerry,

      This is an answer from our decking department which I hope will be helpful:

      Unfortunately, you cannot lay any type of decking directly over the fiberglass. All decking requires the proper gapping and clearance from the sub-floor to allow for air circulation.

      There are a couple of options available to you.

      1. You could lay interlocking deck tiles directly over the fiberglass. This would still not be water proof, however, it would save you from having to rip up the fiberglass underneath.

      Here is a link to the interlocking deck tiles that we sell. We carry exotic wood tile, as well as composite and rubber.

      2. You could install our exotic wood decking after you ripped up the fiberglass. It is not waterproof, but we have a product that you could install below, that will protect your tool from any water runoff. The Underdeck Kit is waterproof and just the thing you will want to use so that you can experience the wonderful exotic wood decking.

      Here is the link to the underdeck kit.

      In both instances, you can use this underdeck kit to keep your item, below, protected.

      Please let me know if you have any more questions

  4. Replacing 2×12 stair planks 7 feet long supported by 2 metal rail stringers. Decking 1×5.5 boards need support every 16 inches. Can I bolt the decking to a 1/4 inch metal tread 11 inches wide x 7 feet long? What about water drainage or rust?

  5. I am interested in deck tiles to place over an existing deck, however, what are the requirements for flatness? Some of the boards are a bit warped at the ends, and there are some that are cupped along their length.

  6. i have a 4inch concrete back porch it has rain-snow ect. would like to cover it so it does’nt look like concrete . can’t let snow or rain bother it. is this possible ? you sent me 12×12 kontiki tiles which looks good but these have been discontinud i like the looks of the 16×16 interlocking will these last? whats my option now tom

  7. I have a cement patio that I want to cover with your deck tiles. There is no fence or anything around the patio, just grass. I am wondering if there are pieces for the edge? In other words, will the pieces that are at the edge of the patio have the interlocking pieces that stick out? How do I create a smooth edge rather than have edges with the interlocking “teeth” sticking out around the edge of the complete patio?

  8. we have a 10ft deep x 12 ft wide concrete pad our builder put in 5 years ago. We would like to expand our patio so we have more space to put a coversation seating area etc in. What is the best way expand the space with the concrete area we curently have? I have looked into eco tiles, pavers, composite decking etc., but it looks like having two surfaces (concrete & lawn) would make it tricky?

  9. We are building an elevated beach home in South Carolina. What is the best material to use for our second floor deck and covered porch floors? We need to consider price and durability in this humid climate.

  10. I have a 10′ x 10′ screened in porch with a double layer of plywood floor. The plywood doesn’t look to good. What are the options for having a nice looking surface?

    • Hi Bob,

      You can use composite material for your stair treads, however the spacing between stringers can only be 12″. I would recommend using a solid board for the treads for ease of fastening and a clean finished look.


  12. I would like to install decking on a second story patio. I removed bricks, sand and replaced the previous tar roof with a TPO (thermoplastic) membrane roof. Can these tiles be placed directly on a membrane roof?

  13. We are looking for composite decking that is tongue and groove and is available in 1 inch X 4 inch boards. Do you have anything like that?

  14. Mahmood Choudhury - Reply

    I have a large deck with three Octagons. The deck is more than 20 years old and I would like to upgrade. Can we use your composite deck tiles to overlay on the current decking floor only ?
    I would like to avoid tearing up the old deck and its foundation which seems to be pretty solid.
    Do you have any suggestions for me ?

  15. We need to build a small dock for our pond. We have already buried vertical steel support beams into the floor of the pond (when the pond was dug), and now we need to build the walkway of the dock.

    Is composit decking appropriate for a dock over a small pond?

    Thank you vey much.

  16. We have a large flat cement patio (20-30ft.) thats showing wear. Would like to cover it with a
    composite decking, but I,m worry about water/mold under flooring any suggestions?

    • Hi Tom,

      The composite decking should be installed on top of a frame. The manufacturer recommends 10-12″ of clearance from the ground to the bottom of the deck board. This is to allow for air flow and moisture to clear. If you are willing to install a wooden frame, the Yakima Composite Decking is a great choice to cover the concrete patio. However, I would recommend a Deck Tile. The tiles come in 12″x12″ squares and connect with a locking system. They are approx. 1″ thick and are set on a backing that allows for water to drain through. Installation is very easy as the deck tiles snap together. An advantage is they can be removed as easlily as they are installed. The deck tiles come in Composite (Similar to the decking), Teak, Granite and IPE. You will find the deck tiles in the decking section of the BuildDirect.com website. If you are set on deck boards, we do recommend building a frame as opposed to laying directly on the cement.

      Kind Regards,


  17. If I use composit decking on a second story deck will the rain drip or run through to the patio below, are the joints water tight? Thanks for your response.

    • Hi Cathy

      If you want to make the underneath of the deck water tight you will have to do some special prep work. The composite deck boards that we sell are very similar in dimension to a normal wood deck board so yes it will allow the water to pass through. There may be some products out there that can do that however composite will have a tendency to grow mold if there is standing water on it for long periods of time. This would mean you would have to be very careful to make sure that the decking sloped properly or sweep the water once it is finished raining.

      The prep work involved with making it water proof without a T&G or tongue and groove system is quite a lot.


  18. We live in Maine and looking to use your deck tiles for a freestanding walkway that will connect our farmers porch area and side porch area with our driveway area. We are working with some flat areas as well as incline areas and looking to put steps in between deck tile areas if possible. We are not planning on using concrete as a base so how do I make a frame or whatever to use these tiles with? Any help you can provide would be great.


    • Hi Shawn

      Ideally you would want to have a solid surface for deck tiles ie concrete of plywood. I have had customers in the past use compacted sand or crush gravel as a base. If it is compacted enough then it will be a very strong base. You want to make sure though that you have plenty of drainage underneath so there is no water pooling after it rains. The real damage that would occur is if you get water pooling. Even with a composite deck tile you will have issues since it contains natural material and will have a problem if it is submerged over long periods of time.

      The deck tiles will handle the incline as long as it isn’t too steep and if you are using a sand or crush gravel base it will grip into it a bit. You can put steps in between the tiles for decorative use. At the end of the day because the tiles will eventually sink into the sand you may find that all efforts to keep the tiles looking prestine are very difficult.


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