Garden Decking Installation Costs

Last updated 20th May 2020

Find out how much it costs to install decking in your garden. In this article we offer a breakdown of decking prices by quality, size and material making it simple for anyone to calculate the cost of garden decking.

Timber Decking Cost

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How Much Does Decking Cost?

This page is all about timber decking and is part of our series on landscape gardening costs in the UK. The cost to have timber decking installed in your garden will depend on the quality and type of the timber products you choose. There are several different types of decking available, the cheapest of which are pressure-treated pine products. Pine is affordable, fashionable and easily fixed with nails and screws – however, they can suffer badly from splits and cracks. Premium decking products can be made from Cedar or tropical hardwood boards, and although they cost more, they are not that much more expensive.

The average cost to install timber decking is typically around £1,000-£2,200. This price assumes installing approximately 20 square metres of budget-medium quality timber. Premium timber (£100 per square metre) will increase the amount considerably, up to around £2,500. The average price can vary greatly depending on location, preparation or excavation work and the cost of the timber decking.

Decking Prices

Timber decking is usually broken up into three categories – budget, medium and premium timber decking, which all have different qualities. Budget timber decking is typically mass-produced and can be found in local stores. While medium timber decking usually offers a more bespoke design which allows you to customise mass-produced products. Premium options include hardwood boards and IPE boards which both offer a high-quality aesthetic.

There is also the option of choosing deck tiles over timber decking, which usually costs around £3 for hardwood and stone tiles, while composite decking tiles are generally priced at about £5. Decking tiles are also cheaper to install and are usually fitted on a DIY basis.

Below are some estimated costs of hiring a decking expert to build timber decking:

Timber Quality Timber Quality Avg. Cost Duration
Budget (£15 / sq. m) 20 square metres £900 2-3 days
Medium (£50 / sq. m) 20 square metres £1,600 2-3 days
Premium (£90 / sq. m) 20 square metres £2,400 2-3 days
Budget (£15 / sq. m) 40 square metres £1,400 4 days
Medium (£50 / sq. m) 40 square metres £2,800 4 days
Premium (£90 / sq. m) 40 square metres £4,400 4 days


Here is a breakdown of the costs of different thickness sizes for timber decking:

Thickness Size Average Cost per m2
19mm £35
21mm £50
28mm £80
35mm £100
38mm £120


Timber Decking Supply Only Costs

If you’re installing timber decking yourself, then you will only have to pay for the timber decking materials, which include:

Type of Decking Size of Decking Average Cost
Budget decking boards (£10-£15 per square metre) 20 square metres £200-£400
Budget decking boards (£10-£15 per square metre) 40 square metres £400-£600
Medium decking boards (£30-£50 per square metre) 20 square metres £600-£1,000
Medium decking boards (£30-£50 per square metre) 40 square metres £1,200-£2,000
Premium decking boards (£60-£90 per square metre) 20 square metres £1,200-£1,800
Premium decking boards (£60-£90 per square metre) 40 square metres £2,400-£3,600


Supply Average Cost
Decking post £8-£12 each
Baluster £1-£5 each
Hand rail £4-£8 each
Railing Kit £80-£135 per kit
Membrane £20-£30 each
Preservative £5-£10 per litre
Oil £20-£30 per litre


Cost Breakdown Calculator

Individual Costs For Hiring a Decking Specialist To Install 20 Square Metres Of Medium Quality Timber Decking - Total Cost: £1,600

65%

Materials
£1,040

35%

Tradesmen
£560

0%

Waste Removal
£0

Labour Costs and Time Frames

A decking specialist will typically charge around £150 per day to install timber decking. Tradesmen will often work in pairs but can also work on their own and will on average take 2-4 days to complete the job depending on the area size and if any excavation work is required.

There are specialist companies who do nothing but install timber decking. Still, many landscape gardeners will also carry out decking installations, in fact, some of the more popular garden projects, many landscape gardeners rely on this type of work as one of their primary sources of income.

Additional Costs of Installing Timber Decking

There are various decking accessories you should consider including:

Balustrades

There are a variety of different decking balustrades to choose from, including wooden gates which cost around £120 to £150 per gate while glass balustrades can cost anywhere from £19 to £112 per panel.

Spindles

The cost of spindles depends on the material you choose, although the most popular options are pine wood (£1 to £13), white oak (£4 to £23) and primed wood (£2 to £34).

Posts

To support your garden steps, you will require newel posts, with prices starting from £30 to £47 for pinewood, £34 to £52 for hemlock wood and £33 to £58 for primed wood.

Steps

For a raised deck, you will need decking steps which start at around £9 for a three-step set and can increase to £1,000 for a full wooden staircase.

Joists

To lay your decking, you will need to install joists which will act as the framework for the decking. Joists can come in various sizes, and the ones you choose will depend on how much decking you want. The typical cost for joists is around £6 for pinewood, £10 for softwood, and up to £15 for hardwood.

decking joists

Lights

To enhance the look of your decking, you may want to add decking lights. There are various lighting options to choose from including path lights (£60 to £80 per light), floodlights (£60 to £115), and wall lanterns (£80 to £115).

Seating

For a large decking area, you may want to include a seating area to make your garden feel more homely and comfortable, with garden furniture sets starting at £280. You could also choose to install wooden benches which usually cost around £170 to £300 per bench, or for something more luxurious you could opt for a garden swing which is generally priced at £300.

Modular Deck Systems

A modular decking system is a perfect solution for anyone looking to reduce their costs, as this type of decking can easily be installed without the help of a professional. It has everything you need, including deck tiles which can be fitted in a matter of minutes. The price of a modular decking system is usually around £450; however, this will depend on the quality of the system.

What Does Installing Timber Decking Entail?

To help you understand the process of timber decking installation, take a look at the following guide:

  1. The first thing that needs to be done before installation is to measure the space to plan what materials you want to use, where you want your decking and how you want it to look.
  2. The next step involves mapping out where the decking will be installed using pegs, and a builder’s line then clearing away any rocks, vegetation or even turf surrounding the area.
  3. Weedkiller spray should then be applied along with a weed barrier that should cover the entire decking area.
install timber decking

The next stage will depend on the positioning of your decking as there are several installations to choose from, including:

  • Laying it directly on the ground which will involve spreading waterproof pea shingle over the weed barrier then once this is complete the timber frame can be constructed by attached the joists together along the perimeter of the decking area. The joists will then be bolted together with galvanised screws.
  • Laying the decking on concrete which will involve placing concrete slabs across the marked-out area, then the frame can be prepared and fixed together with joists. The timber frame can then be placed on top of the concrete and then fixed to an adjacent building or ground post so ensure it is secure.
  • Laying a solid footing structure which involves constructing the outer frame first with joists. The space will be then market out to establish where the posts will sit. Posts will be then be screwed into the frame; then holes will need to be made to accommodate the posts. Once the posts are deposited in the holes, concrete should then be poured into each hole to secure the posts and timber frame in place. This should then be left to dry for 7 days before painting or making any other changes.

Pros and Cons of Timber Decking

Pros

✔ Timber decking is environmentally friendly, as the wood used comes from responsible producers who insist on the conservation of forests through the use of sustainable forest management and renewal through planting schemes.

✔ Timber is one of the more durable materials, especially in comparison to composite and plastic decking.

✔ Hardwood or IPE wood requires little to no maintenance and can last up to 40 years or more.

✔ Timber is the only mainstream construction material that is a renewable resource.

✔ Timber decking can also be customised to your tastes with a wide range of additional design features including balustrades, pergolas, trellises, garden steps and much more. Decking is almost infinitely customisable and can be extended, or feature different levels to make it further your own individual design.

✔ Timber offers anti-slip qualities which enables a better grip than materials like composite, which will help to avoid any accidents during rainfall.

Cons

✖ The colour of real timber decking can fade with exposure to Sun's UV rays, this is entirely normal, and many prefer the look of slightly weathered decking.

✖ Low-cost timber can be high-maintenance and may require a new coat of paint once a year to prevent any cracks or splits.

✖ Waterproof coatings may need to be applied to prevent rot which can be costly.

✖ Timber can warp or bend over time.

✖ Pressure-treated wood offers an un-natural aesthetic in comparison to hardwood boards.

DIY Timber Decking Installation

The construction of low-level timber decking is a project that is well within the scope of most DIY enthusiasts. Still, when building the deck, it is crucial to follow the recommendations of the product manufacturer for the decking kit you purchase, while also making sure the correct tools are used, and the appropriate safety precautions are taken.

To ensure your fit timber decking properly, you should follow the below steps:

  1. Preparation

  2. Using a tape measure, you should measure out the area by hammering a peg into each corner then run a builder’s line or string to each peg. You should then clear away any weeds, dirt, vegetation and even turf if need be, then check to see if the area is uneven by using a spirit level. You should then cover the area with weed control fabric followed by gravel which should span the entire decking area.

  3. Cutting your boards

  4. To ensure your decking boards fit perfectly, you should use a mitre saw if you plan to make a lot of cuts a panel saw for fewer cuts, or for fiddlier parts use a jigsaw. Before sawing, you should measure and mark the decking boards, making sure you measure them twice before cutting. You should then apply a protective treatment to the cut timber before fixing it together.

    cut decking boards
  5. Measuring your timber frames

  6. Before fixing your decking, you should lay out the structure first to ensure the measurements are correct, as timber frames require a gap expansion of at least 5mm to 8mm. You can use a gauge screw to ensure spacing is the same throughout. You can then measure the decking frame by marking out 8 marks with two in each corner of the frame’s outer decking joists.

  7. Assembling the sub-frame

  8. Once everything has been mapped out, you can start drilling. You should start by using a flat wood drill bit to create recesses, making sure it reaches the depth of the screw’s head and is wide enough to fit a socket attachment for tightening. A thinner drill bit should then be used to line up the outer joists and create a pilot hole in the centre of the recess. The coach screws can then be fitted using a socket attachment. The same process should then be repeated for the inner joists.

  9. Laying your timber decking

  10. Once the decking joists are in place, you can start to put your decking by starting in one corner of your sub-frame and laying your deck boards across the inner joists, so the decking is facing the opposite way. You should then draw out a cutting line for the end of the first board, making sure there is room for your expansion gaps.

  11. Securing decking to joists

  12. To ensure the decking is secured to the joist, two decking screws should be marked, making sure they are at least 20mm from the outside edges and 15mm from the board’s end. The screws should then be pilot drilled, making sure you avoid drilling into the decking joists.

    screwing down decking boards
  13. Finishing off your decking

  14. To smooth out your decking, you should use sandpaper or a sander to even out any edges. You should then apply an end grain preserver using a paintbrush to prevent rot. Once this is dry, you can apply a wood paint, decking stain or oil to ensure that it lasts as long as possible.

While you can save money with DIY decking installation, if you are planning a raised deck or decking with multiple changes of level, specialist expertise is required to ensure the deck is structurally safe for people walking on it. Raised deck structures should be built by experienced installers to ensure that the deck is reliable and fit for purpose. Raised decks will also perhaps need planning permission, so it is always wise to consult a professional in any case.

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What to Consider When Installing Timber Decking

There are many things you need to consider before having your timber boards installed, including:

Ground-Level vs Raised Decking

The two most popular decking options are ground-level decking and raised decking.

A ground-level deck is decking that is installed close to the ground. This option is the easiest to install as it doesn't require the use of a ladder. As the decking is near the ground, it typically does not need a stair installation, which will help to reduce costs significantly. Another advantage of choosing a ground-level deck is that you do not need planning permission if your decking is less than 30cm off the ground.

Raised decking, on the other hand, will normally require you to apply for planning permission, as the timber decking will be lifted off the ground. You may also need to purchase stairs to access the decking and railings for safety reason which will increase the cost. Many people choose the raised option, as it creates a great aesthetic while also reducing wear on your decking, as it is away from the ground and will, therefore, be less affected by mould and rot, allowing it to last longer.

Material

The timber board you choose is critical, as this will determine the price of your decking installation. For example, hardwood decking is one of the more expensive options which is priced at around £60-£90 per square metre on average. This type of wood is extremely durable, with some hardwood decking able to last for up to 40 years or more.

install timber decking

If you have a low-budget in mind, you may want to opt for pressure-treated wood which is the cheapest of all timber materials with prices starting from £10 per square metre. At the same time, softwood decking such as spruce (£30-£50 per m2) and pine (£20-£40 per m2) are slightly more expensive, although they offer a better aesthetic and more durability.

Size

The size of your decking will vary depending on the size of your garden, although you need to make sure that you do not take up more than 50% of your garden, as more than this will require you to apply for planning permission.

To ensure you choose the right decking, you will need to measure the length and width of the area where you want the decking. You can then select the thickness size, with measurements starting from 19mm for £35 per square metre up to 38mm for £120 per square metre. When choosing the thickness, you should remember that the thicker the timber, the more durable it will be, allowing you to make the most of your decking.

Best Time of The Year to Install Timber Decking

According to experts, the best time to install timber decking is between October and April. Installing it within this time frame will preserve the natural aesthetic. Having it installed in colder months like December and January will also allow you to get the most out of it during the spring and summer, which are the seasons where the garden is used the most. This will also ensure that your timber boards are thoroughly dried out, in contract to the summer when timber tends to expand and contract, which can lead to damage.

Oiling and Cleaning Timber Decking

Oiling and cleaning your deck are vital to ensure that is it stays in good condition. Before oiling, you should make sure that your decking is cleaned thoroughly using a wood cleaner, which typically costs around £17 per litre.

After you’ve finished cleaning, you should make sure that your deck is completely dry before applying any oil. You should try to use a high-quality exterior wood oil, which is usually priced at £24 per litre. This will help to main your timber decking as the majority of wood oils contain UV protection which prevents discolouration and also protects again mould or rot due to its waterproofing qualities.

In terms of ongoing maintenance, the decking should be kept free of leaves, and dust so needs an occasional sweep up. Plus, a chemical fungicide can be applied once a year to prevent mould, moss, algae and lichen growth (use a product specifically designed for decking to ensure it will not discolour the timber). Decking can be pressure washed, but this should only be done on the lowest possible power setting.

oiling decking

How to Oil Timber Decking

To oil your timber decking correctly, you should make sure that you clean your deck thoroughly, making sure to clean hard to reach areas behind furniture with a cloth, mop or brush.

Once the floor is dry, you should apply thin layers of wood oil using a brush or a roller if your decking is smooth. Try to avoid using thick coats of oil, as it will not penetrate the wood and therefore will not treat it appropriately. The best way to spread the oil on your decking is by pushing into the wood instead of just leaving it to soak in.

You should be careful if you have IPE, Teak or exotic wood decking as this is naturally oily anyway, so you should try not to apply as much as this type of wood will not absorb excess oil.

Alternatives to Timber Decking

Here are a few alternatives to timber decking:

Composite Decking

Composite decking is fastly becoming the biggest competitor for timber decking. It's made from a mixture of wood, plastic and bonding agent to give it an authentic appearance which needs less maintenance than timber decking.

PVC Decking

PVC is a human-made decking create from a synthetic resin that contains no wood fibres and is completely plastic. It's low maintenance and easy to clean, but if the basic PVC decking is bought, it can have a 'plastic' appearance.

Aluminium Decking

Aluminium decking has a lifespan of 60-100 years and isn't vulnerable to damp, rot, woodworm or mould. It's maintenance-free and slip-resistant in wet or icy weather conditions.

aluminium decking

Plastic Decking

There are a variety of types of plastic decking, including recycled plastic eco decking, made entirely from recycled plastic. They require zero maintenance and are resistant to water, frost, moss and algae.

IPE Decking

IPE decking (also referred to as Brazilian walnut) and is one of the toughest hardwoods available. It has the same fire resistance as steel and concrete and is extremely dense. These characteristics make it a fantastic option for decking and also rather expensive.

Trex Decking

If you're conscious about the environment, Trex decking is constructed from 95% recycled materials, a combination of reclaimed timber, plastic and sawdust. It's resistant to rot, wrapping, and never needs to be sanded or sealed.

Type of Decking Average Cost per m2
Composite £50-£100
PVC £30-£80
Aluminium £40-£90
Plastic £20-£50
IPE boards £60-£110
Trex decking £50-£80


Other Tradesmen You May Need To Hire

There are other tradesmen you could hire to enhance your garden’s aesthetic. This could include a landscaper who can fix or install fencing, apply gravel, and lay turf around your garden decking, create flower borders and more. Landscapers tend to charge around £40 to £60 per hour depending on their experience and the specific job.

You may also want to hire a gardener who will maintain your garden by cutting the grass, keep your plants and watered and sort any grass or weed issues. Gardeners tend to charge around £20 to £40, although the rate usually depends on your location.

Removing Timber Decking

You may need to remove or replace timber decking in the garden if it has begun to rot or you want a completely new decking system. To do this, you may need to call in a professional to remove your decking planks, who will charge around £100 to £500 a day for removal and waste disposal. You could also remove it yourself and hire a skip for around £200 to £1,000, depending on how much waste you have.

If you have raised decking, you should start by removing the staircase and any fencing or railings surrounding the decking planks which can easily be removed with a drill or screwdriver. Once this is out the way, you can work your way down to the posts which will be secured with concrete, which will require a shovel to shift it, however, if it is new you might need help from a friend or a professional. You can then remove all the timber, and either keep it and recycle it or throw it in the skip.

FAQs

The decking installer should have used a weed control fabric between the ground and the decking to prevent weed growth, so this should not be an issue.
Timber decking should last for decades if looked after but expect at least 15 years before any repairs are needed.
Decking boards are only slippery if mould, moss and algae are allowed to flourish. To ensure you have non-slip decking boards, you should use a chemical fungicide annually to prevent this, and the boards will be perfectly safe to walk on in all weathers.
Hot tubs can weigh several tonnes, so a standard timber decking installation may not have been designed with this weight in mind. It is highly recommended that the decking is reinforced before adding a hot tub or the decking may collapse under the stress. If you are planning on installing a hot tub, ideally you should let the installer know beforehand and incorporate this into the design and build, rather than trying to reinforce the decking afterwards.
Yes, oils and treatments can be used to colour the decking and seal it and repel water. These treatments will need to be re-applied at intervals. You should speak to your decking installer to find out the best treatments for your specific decking.
No, this could allow water to come into contact with the wall above the damp proof course. You should always leave a gap between the decking and the wall. If your decking is to be installed level with doors or patio windows above the damp proof course, then a minimum gap of 10mm to allow water to run freely down the wall should be included, and this gap should be kept clear of leaves and other debris which might bridge the DPC. The framework should also have a fall of 1:100 away from the property, and the boards should be fitted at right angles to the wall and with a 6mm gap between each board.
In some cases, you will need planning permission because the timber decking is elevated, especially if your decking overlooks a neighbouring property. Always check with your local authority before planning any decking installation. However, timber decking is a permeable surface so can play a valuable role in sustainable drainage, to help reduce flooding and pollution.
For a garden with limited drainage, timber decking is usually installed on a ¼ inch vertical slope. This will ensure that the slope is not as noticeable while also offering the proper provisions to prevent flooding or rot forming on your decking.

How to Find & Hire a Timber Decking fitter

For high-quality decking installation, you should consider hiring a decking professional who will ensure that your decking is fitted properly and lasts as long as possible. This could involve hiring a landscaper, who usually charges around £40 to £60 per hour or a gardener for £20 to £40 per hour. Before hiring any of these tradesmen, you should consider their experience and also check to see if they have public liability insurance should any damage or accidents occur while fitting the decking.

Sources

https://www.wickes.co.uk/how-to-guides/garden-landscaping/plan-build-a-raised-deck
https://goberco.com/why-slope-a-deck.html
https://www.self-build.co.uk/choosing-timber-decking/
https://www.jacksonwoodturners.co.uk/planning-advice/planning-new-staircase/stair-parts-price-list
https://www.thespruce.com/best-decking-materials-pros-and-cons-2736284
https://www.barbourproductsearch.info/pros-and-cons-of-timber-decking-blog000470.html
https://www.lawsons.co.uk/blog/landscaping/composite-vs-timber-decking
https://www.diy.com/ideas-advice/how-to-build-a-basic-ground-level-deck/CC_npci_100130.art
http://www.wocadenmark.com/guide/how-to-clean-oil-and-maintain-a-wooden-deck

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