Bellow are the most often asked decking questions from our help line and contact us emails.
Click on the question and the box will expand to show you the answer.
Timber decking is the most sustainable building product available on the market. Whilst living, trees absorb carbon dioxide. They take from it what they need (carbon) and release oxygen as a by-product. A wood product i.e. Timber decking can be recycled at the end of its life. Trees, through the process of photosynthesis, absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. From this, they extract the carbon, storing it within them and emit a large amount of oxygen as a bi product and only a small amount of carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a pollutant and contributes to climate change; so the more carbon trees remove from the atmosphere the better. A large amount of carbon is required to make new woods; so young forests emit far less carbon than they absorb. Near 50% of a trees' dry weight is carbon.
Roughly 80% of timber is imported from Scandinavia, Russian and other surrounding countries as these regions are colder and therefore the wood growing in the forests are of better quality as they produce less knots. Around 15% of imported timber comes from deciduous forests which grow in Europe and in North America, leaving 3% of timber which is imported from tropical regions but this wood has far demand and is therefore valued at less.
European forests are growing at a rate of approximately 9,250km2 annually, equivalent to the size of Cyprus. However deforestation occurs on a large scale worldwide at around 13 million hectares in the last decade. That's 1.3 million hectares (13,000km2) being deforested annually by man (for profitable uses such as palm oil production) or by natural causes i.e. Forest fires.
Illegal logging also contributes to deforestation and is a problem for the international wood trade. It occurs in highly corrupted countries where forest regulation systems are highly dysfunctional. Many species lose their homes and people experience a loss of income. It can destroy communities.
There are many certification systems in place worldwide to insure that forests maintain sustainability. A forest branded with a certificate i.e. FSC means that it abides by certification standards. Forest managers will push to manage their forest operations to these standards as companies buying raw materials want their products to carry this label, making it a more desirable choice for the end user. Two major international frameworks have evolved to oversee and promote development of forest certification. These are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), based in Germany, and the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) headquartered in Geneva.
Of all the possible places for rats to set up home, underneath a properly installed deck is one of the most inhospitable of places. This is because a sterile area is created before construction using a weed-suppressing sheet held in place with a layer of gravel. Because a gap is left between deckboards to help drain the surface dripping rainwater does not make for a dry, secure home. A small pea, let alone sufficient food to feed a single rat, could not find its way through this gap. As with the underside of garden sheds, precautions should also be taken to prevent leaves and other windblown litter accumulating by using boards, trellis, lattice or close-mesh wire netting. If you compost your waste food then it is best to use an enclosed/covered composter rather than an open heap which do tend to attract vermin.
The majority of rats in this country live within the sewage system, they are no problem if the sewage pipes are in good condition as they cannot escape from the system. Some rat populations live above the ground especially in the countryside and generally are no problem to the public. Rats will come into gardens and houses for a number of reasons. Firstly, if the pipes which carry sewage away from your property are damaged or broken then rats may escape. Secondly, rats are always on the look out for food, and if you leave food out for birds, foxes and hedgehogs or place it on open compost heaps, then this may attract rats on to your property.
The following tips will reduce the chances of having rats establish themselves in your garden:
Yes but a poorly maintained deck can become a slip hazard in wet conditions. The key factor in preventing slipperiness is to ensure that the deck surface is kept clean and surface deposits such as mildew, algae and fine mosses are kept at bay for it is these deposits that cause slipperiness on any surface, even stone flags, in wet weather.
Decked surfaces should be brushed with a stiff broom frequently to keep the build up of organic matter (such as leaves) to a minimum and to give them a thorough clean once a year in spring or autumn using either a power spray washer or a proprietary deck cleaning product.
Balustrades are a decorative deck feature and are also designed as a safety barrier and/or support for less able bodied persons. If the deck is not flush with the ground then some sort of decorative piece should be used to prevent a fall i.e. a parapet or edge protection detail. If the structure is very low then a decorative rail or bench may be all that is needed.
The height of the parapet depends on how far the deck surface is off the ground: For "low-level" decks up to 600mm from ground level - parapet height should be 900mm For "high-level" decks over 600mm high - parapet height should be 1100mm Parapets used as safety barriers should meet the UK building regulations in its construction and design.