Building a deck using wide and narrow boards - Step by step guide

Bangkirai (Yellow Balau) hardwood decking boards

In our first ever episode of Gadero TV, we are building a deck. And not just any deck: a very special one with boards in alternating widths. The Yellow Balau boards we use measure 2.8 x 19 cm and 2.8 x 14.5 cm - two different widths. However, the same deck-building principles would apply if you were to use a single width of board across the entire deck.

Step by step - Do it yourself

Our project uses boards that have been planed smooth. But did you know that this smoothness does not have a negative effect on slipperiness? A smooth board does not capture water like one that has reeds along the top. So if there is no standing water, then there is much less chance for algae growth. And it is algae that turn a board slippery. Moreover, a smooth and level surface is easier to sweep clean with a broom.

As a timber, Bangkirai has several advantages:

  • Gorgeous look;
  • Little shrinkage and expansion;
  • High durability: class 2;
  • No resinous expulsion or mould growth;
  • Easy to clean with a broom:
  • Lifespan up to 20 years.

We recommend that you keep a careful eye on the differences between available boards from different suppliers. Not all retailers offer true Yellow Balau Bangkirai, and often substitute it with Keruing - which is definitely the lesser of the two. While similar in look to Bangkirai, Keruing is subject to greater shrinkage and expansion, and it does not have the same lifespan. So accept no substitutes when choosing and buying your materials.

Gadero guarantees that the Bangkirai you buy from us is true Yellow Balau. Order a sample to be on the safe side - it’s the best way to check out what these boards look like in real life.

Building a deck

The foundation is the basis of any sturdy deck. Make sure to spend time and effort on this aspect of the build, and do not cut costs. We also recommend that you keep the centre-to-centre distance between the beams and rails at 40 centimetres or lower for optimum structural stability.

In this video, we’re using rubber tile supports because our deck uses tiles as the foundation. Another option is using adjustable tile supports in case you need to bridge greater differences in height due to an uneven surface. However, the best option is always to install your deck on picket posts, so that it floats over the surface while providing extra structural stability since the pickets sit in the ground.

We recommend finishing your Bangkirai deck with a special oil as soon as the deck has been built. To make this job easier, keep your shows off of the deck - socks only until the deck has been fully oiled up.

Tools and equipment

Which tools and equipment do you need to build a deck?

  • Post/sledge hammer;
  • Auger;
  • Spirit level;
  • String;
  • Cordless drill;
  • Countersink drill bit;
  • Clamps;
  • Space.

For more deck-building details, check out our other DIY videos.

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