How Do I Lay Wood Decking Over a Cement Patio?
Lay the Foundation
- Begin your project by getting accurate measurements of your patio. You will need to know the square footage. Square footage is determined by multiplying the width by the length. Lumber is measured in board feet. A board foot is 1 square foot of lumber that is 1 inch thick. The material you want to use is 5/4-by-6 inch treated decking. A standard 8-foot piece covers 4 square feet.
Unless you have a truck and want to do the extra work, order your material from a lumber yard that delivers. Many suppliers give free delivery on large orders. Order all your lumber and fasteners from one supplier. The amount you will save from using multiple suppliers is generally not worth the hassle.
You will need to space the decking away from the patio. Laying rows of 2-by-4 inch boards every 18 inches across the surface of your patio will provide a good foundation. Lay the 5/4-inch decking perpendicular to and directly on top of the 2-by-4 inch boards. Attach the decking to the 2-by-4 inch boards with 2-inch treated deck screws. You will need at least two screws in every joint between the decking and the 2-by-4 inch boards. It is not recommended that you attach the 2-by-4 inch boards to the concrete; wood swells and contracts, concrete does not.
Laying the Decking
- Space the joints between the ends of your deck boards so that they are fully supported by the 2-by-4 inch runners. Angling the screws in the ends of the board slightly toward the joint will help to pull the joints tight.
You will have a stronger deck if your joints are staggered from one row to the next. That will help to more evenly distribute the weight. Always space between rows to allow for swelling and shrinkage. Most manufacturers recommend ¼ inch between rows. Use the thick end of a wood chisel as a spacer. A hammer can also be used to drive the chisel into the 2-by-4 inch runners to pry warped boards into the proper position before screwing them down.
Run your screw heads in until they are even with the board surface. Avoid sinking the screws below the surface to prevent puddling. Moisture on screw heads can cause rust and stain.
Rather than cutting boards to length at the edges of the patio, allow them to overhang. When all the boards are in place, use a chalk line to mark all the boards. Cut your edges off smoothly with a circular saw.