Melbourne has many brand-new homes and even old homes completely transformed to look like new. The field of construction is a cherished one in Melbourne and those who do this job do it in such a way that buildings stand the test of time. Just as they do when they build a house, Melbourne builders are careful to have the decks also done to perfection, by providing them with the right type of support to prevent easy damage or destruction.
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A decking subframe is the support base to which the decking boards are attached. Since decks themselves are of many shapes and sizes, decking sub frames also, accordingly, differ in their design. These variations notwithstanding, there are some basic rules to be followed while laying the subframe for composite decks.
The Right Subframe Material
Decking sub frames can be made of wood, metal, recycled plastic, or composite joists. Metal subframes are made of both aluminium and steel. All these work well as subframe material for composite decking, and what a person uses will depend on the extent of the space that needs to be covered, his budget, and how long the deck is expected to last.
Wood continues to be still widely used as a subframe material. The wood used for subframe is generally pressure-treated, because pressure-treated wood develops better resistance to natural elements and insects, and thus becomes more rot-resistant. But it is much costlier than regular wood. However, the lifespan of even pressure-treated wood is less compared to that of composite decking material. Because of it, those who want their decks to last long are hesitant to use even pressure-treated wood.
Other options for subframe material are recycled plastic lumber which is resistant to rotting and splintering and is more durable; composite joist which has low maintenance requirements; and adjustable pedestals which are ideal for building raised decks. The suitability of each will depend upon the type of deck that is under construction.
1. Ensure sufficient ventilation
For a deck to remain strong, its subframe should be properly ventilated. Uninterrupted airflow beneath the deck is mandatory for ensuring that the contraction and expansion of the deck boards go on at a steady pace. Proper ventilation will also lessen the amount of moisture below the boards. Both these are necessary for the stability of the deck.
2. Ensure proper drainage
Wherever outdoor flooring has to be done, there should be a proper slope for drainage. This rule is applicable to composite decks also. In the case of a decking subframe, a slope of about 1% will be sufficient for water to flow off so that it will not pool either on the deck surface or on the network of composite joists below.
3. Ensure precise joist centres
Joists have to be laid at the correct centres of the subframe. This is mandatory for the deck boards to be properly supported. The commonly recommended distance between joist centres is between 250mm and 350mm. With that much distance, the deck is bound to be strong enough for the makers to give their customers the required warranty.
4. Allow space for extra design features
Different types of decking boards have different designs. So, deck fitters have to leave some margin for such special situations while fixing the subframe, as detailed below:
· If there is a picture frame: If the deck has a picture frame surrounding it, there should be a double joist running around the perimeter to support that frame.
· If the boards are diagonal: If decking boards have to be laid diagonally, then only narrow joist centres are required. In such cases, the recommended joist spacing is 250mm.
· If boards are to be joined at butt-ends: When decking boards are to be connected at butt joints, double jousting is the right procedure.
Irrespective of the material that is used for the subframe, the above-listed key principles are the ones that builders must adhere to, in order to make certain that they are installing a strong subframe.