How to make a decking from scratch using recycled plastic decking boards and joists-uk

How to make a decking area for awesome Summer nights in the garden

Recycled plastic decking system you say?

When I planned the decor, I wasn't specifically looking for recycled plastic. I was more interested in a low-maintenance alternative. If you have the good fortune (which turns to bad luck over time) own a wooden decking area. You will encounter problems over time without fail. The first challenge is the layer of green algae that will always build up.


So you start looking for a decking treatment to remove the algae. Then you realize that the treatment kills algae well but requires at least a good scrub, the best deck cleaner you can find, and a good hose. So you think 'No way I'm putting in that elbow grease', you pull out your trusty petrol pressure washer to make light work of it! Well, that's what I did.


It cleans up the decor, looks amazing, and you feel very satisfied looking back at the before and after pictures. That is until it dries and you realize you need to reapply three coats of deck stain! You get frustrated, and you start looking for 'how to maintain decking'. You'd think there should be an easy way, that's when it starts to sink into the wood trim, looks nice when installed, and for about a year or two after that, then it's all the way down. Goes or battles with serious maintenance every year.


It was the process I went through during the nearly five years of owning a wooden deck that got me thinking about some sort of composite decking.


Plastic wood joists for decking

So the joists are extremely solid. I used 150 by 50 or 6 by 2 (if you're old school) and doubled them on the outside boundaries with 200mm decking boards. The main reason for the large depth is that my floor is high and I didn't want too much bounce. If you're going straight over a concrete floor and don't need to float, they sell very small sections (which are pretty cheap). Don't worry, I'll give you a complete list of tools and materials at the end. Let's get on with it and cover the material in the right place as we work through the steps.


How to make your own decorations

  1. Plan your deck project: Work out your size and height and understand the size of materials available for the cutting list.
  2. Fix your surfaces with solid air blocks.
  3. Cut your joists and fit them inside the square you made.
  4. First, fit your edge finishing trim.
  5. Lay out your centerpieces.
  6. Cut the last board against the wall.

Tools and materials needed to make a recycled plastic deck

Experiences since installing plastic recycled decking


1. Plan your deck project: Work out your size and height as well as understand the size of materials available for the cutting list.

Before you do anything. All you need is time to think about three things. A piece of paper, a pencil, and a tape measure with a list of available sizes of decorating materials. These are your most powerful allies in a successful deck project no matter how experienced you are. Working on a cutting list saves you time and lots of money and guarantees the best value pound for pound. Let me explain why.


Perfect looking decking with no joints

So, if you don't have a specific size for the decking in mind, you can adjust the size of the decking accordingly. So, were the joists 3.4m long. My decking came in 3.6m lengths. The corner trim was also 3.6 meters long.

2. Fix your surfaces with solid air blocks.

With your material well worked out, it's time to fix the surfaces. In my case, I had a partial concrete floor (you can see in the photo above that was solid but I still use concrete breeze blocks as pads. If I'm going to work with grass So how would I do this or clay to spread the weight (which is exactly what I did on the outside edge) make sure you can use adjustable risers if you want and Unless you want to save a few minutes as you read I like to use the offcuts as legs to brace the floor 🙂


The main reason for using concrete breeze blocks is their strength and reliability. You can be sure that they won't move or 'bounce' due to their sheer weight. You can also be sure that they will never rot or degrade.


The best way to achieve this is to lay the four corner brace blocks out and lay them on the joists to form a square. Take a look at your height and check the level both ways with a tall spirit level. A really good tip is to lay a long square section across your joists from opposite corners to check the level as well. Now with a decent set square make sure the outside corners are square as well.


3. Cut your joist and fit it inside the square you made.

Cut and screw your joists at about 300-400mm centers. The decking I used 200mm by 25mm is more than capable of supporting 400mm centres. I went with 400mm centers and if you look at the picture below you'll see that the outer one is closer than 400mm – it wasn't worth putting in the extra joists. I will use the same TIMco 150IN Index Hex Head Timber Screws to fix the joists as well.


400mm centres on the decking joist

Once you get the joists in, attach some legs to the interior joists to help them stay at the correct height. If you look at the picture above, you can see the support leg bent against the concrete floor. For the grass section, I put a section on the ground first to spread the load.


You can use solid air blocks but the legs are easily adjustable for height and I attached them with 100mm Forge Fast Screws. I would suggest gently lifting the joist (not off the floor) before fitting the leg, just enough to take out any shock before fitting the leg. Here is a picture of it and sorry about the quality I forgot to take a picture of this stage for you. In fact, luckily it rained and stopped me in my tracks or I would have completely forgotten to document this part! 🙂


Once you've fitted the legs, checking the level as you go, it's time to move on to the finishing step.


4. Fit your edge finishing trim first.

Now that you have your joists set and level the best place to start is the finish trim. Just cut it to length and glue the joints together. I absolutely love the slotted groove system. You push them into the groove and then pull the decking board up to the joist. Here's a look at the slots as a cross-section.


Edging trim with slots for the fixings to hide any screw holes

The T section fixing bracket is in the slots and you simply pull the bracket into the joist. That means you don't even have screw holes! Better still, they also space your boards evenly. Getting the decking looking professional has truly become a DIY job when you know it.


Sorry again about the description of the photo here, you can really thank the weather that I have at this stage, it's so quick you get into a zone. It only took an hour to butcher and slaughter the pigs because of the quick-fix system they now have.

Tools and materials needed to make a recycled plastic deck

Plastic decoration

Plastic joists

Decking fixing bracket

Concrete blocks and packers to adjust the level

Cut and sew


saw machine

Cordless drill

Wireless impact driver

Spirit level - preferably tall

TIMco 150IN Index Hex Head Timber Screw

100mm Forge Fast Patch

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