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DIY Composite Deck: What to Know Before You Build

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

A backyard deck can create a space out of thin air for summer barbecues, and family gatherings. Or just a quiet glass of wine at sunset. Contractor-built decks are usually very expensive. But when you take on the job yourself, the cost is much lower.

So, you can try your hand at building your own backyard deck. If you’re wondering if doing it yourself is the right thing to do, make sure you’ve asked yourself the right questions and considered the things that might change your building program.

Benefits of DIY Composite Decking

We should have seen some videos that show how quickly you can build a fully equipped deck. It looks so simple that a group of workers can turn an empty backyard into a multi-level deck in a matter of minutes.

The truth is that building your own DIY deck is a slow process. It requires hundreds of pounds of lumber and concrete. This is quite difficult for individuals. Therefore, it is important for individuals to build decks that need to remain simple and easy to install.

This is why we recommend using composite decking to build backyard decks. Building composite decking only requires clearing the ground and laying the keel. Finally, the composite decking boards are fastened to the keel. Composite decking is great for personal DIY installations and it also has the following benefits:

  • Saves on hiring costs
  • Gives you complete control over the decking
  • This work can be hard, but it can also be very rewarding!

Determine if You’re Ready to Build Your Own Deck

Are you ready to build your own composite decking? This is the first thing you need to do. Whether you’re building an entirely new structure, resurfacing an old substructure, or adding to your deck. The steps you need to take will vary depending on the requirements of your project.

Things to consider before deciding to build your own deck:

  • Are you sure you can comply with local building regulations and obtain a permit?
  • Will your deck have intricate design elements, such as patterns on the boards? If so, are you sure you can place these elements?
  • Are the tools needed to build the deck easily accessible and do you know how to use them?
  • Will there be someone to help you, or will you have to do it yourself?

Selecting the Right Materials for Building a Deck

Before you start your deck-building project, you need to choose the right decking material. COOWIN can provide customers with two different series of composite decking products. You can learn about the differences and choose the one that suits your needs.


Standard Composite Decking

COOWIN’s standard composite decking has good waterproof and mildew-resistant properties, it is durable and comes in a variety of colors. These composite decking boards have a solid wood-like wood grain surface, which can bring a natural-like enjoyment to your outdoor living space.

COOWIN also offers you matching hidden fasteners. These fasteners can make the deck look like a perfect whole with no imperfections. Fasteners that won’t be exposed on the deck surface won’t hurt people walking barefoot either.

Capped Composite Decking

Unlike standard composite decking, capped composite decking has a polymer shell. This polymer shell protects the composite decking material and makes it more durable. In other words, capped composite decking is more resistant to water, mildew, and color fading. Of course, standard composite decking boards also offer superior performance to wood decking.

COOWIN capped composite decking is also available in a wide range of colors and finishes. You can choose the right color for the design of your house without having to stain or paint it.

Solid Capped Composite Decking Board CO-03

Capped with an HDPE layer, Capped Composite Decking is made excellent at resisting stains, scratches, weathering, and fading.

View More

Designing Composite Decking

When planning a do-it-yourself composite deck, there are a few things you should consider, as well as some options that will make the building process easier:  

Size and Shape of the Deck

The time and difficulty required for DIY depend on the size and shape of the deck. For an easier build, choose a low to medium deck. This way, you won’t have to add stairs or railings that would make it more difficult to build. Choose simple shapes such as squares or rectangles. They are elegant and will not go out of style.

Deck Patterns

A template should be laid from edge to edge to hold the interior wood blocks in place. When building, choose deck planks that lay flat and straight. Any option other than straight planks will require additional substructure framing, as well as additional cutting and calculations. In other words, complex deck patterns can make construction more difficult.


Covering End Cuts

To make connections through the outside of the joists, use the appropriate deck screws. Keep in mind that different composite deck models may use different fasteners. Consult the composite decking manufacturer for details.

To make installing composite decking easier, cover the ends of the deck with raised fascia boards so that they are flush with the deck. If you want your deck to look better, decorate it with a picture frame border.

Deck Color

Composite decking colors won’t change the way you place them. But they will change the overall look and feel of the deck. Choose a deck color that goes with your house or that creates a contrasting color.

In addition, COOWIN can provide you with free samples. So you can choose a sample of the composite decking boards you want to see in action. If you don’t have the color and decking model you want, you can also have the customization service of composite decking at COOWIN.


Learn the Best Way to Install Composite Decking

Many of the best ways to install COOWIN composite decking boards are also good ways to install wood decks. Of course, there may be some subtle differences between them. Before you start installing your composite decking project, read the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer in detail. Failure to follow the proper steps for installing composite decking boards may affect the composite decking warranty.

Constructing the Substructure

The standard spacing between deck joists is 16 inches. For a stronger deck, you can set the joist spacing at 12 inches. This is the same as many traditional lumber choices. There should be a block every 4 to 6 feet between joists. The joists should always be level and in plane with each other and across the top.  


Deck Board Spacing

The spacing between deck planks is the spacing between the sides and ends of the planks. Because wood deck boards and composite decking boards expand and contract differently, the spacing between them needs to be different. When building your own deck, it is important to maintain the correct spacing between boards. Therefore, remember to read the installation instructions in detail between installing composite decking.

Matching Deck Boards and Fasteners

You can choose between hidden fasteners or top-down fasteners, the latter of which are typically used to secure solid wood decks. Keep in mind that some screws can only be used with certain types of deck boards and planks.

Choose from one of these common combinations for easy installation. Watch the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer of composite decking to learn how to fasten them together. Then choose the combination that’s right for your do-it-yourself composite decking.


Consider Railings You Can Yse

Railings are an important part of any do-it-yourself composite decking installation. Like the composite deck you choose, COOWIN’s deck railings not only look great, but they also last a long time, so you won’t need to do much maintenance.

If the deck is less than 30 inches off the ground, you likely won’t need to install railings on your deck. If the deck is designed to be higher than 30 inches at any point, then that section will need railings. This is to meet residential code requirements and to keep people safe. Be sure to check your local building codes to see what type of railing is required.

Even if a deck doesn’t need railings, you can still install them for aesthetic or practical reasons. For example, to prevent guests from stepping on the beautifully landscaped edges of your deck.

COOWIN’s railing portfolio features many different railing profiles and customization options. So you can create your own unique deckscape.

The most important thing for people who want to install deck railings themselves is to consider the difficulty of the job. Panel railing systems are the best option for deck railing simplicity.


Adding a Deck Lighting System

Once you understand the big issues such as the shape and material of the deck, you can start thinking about the smaller issues. Keep in mind that fixed deck lighting may need to be installed before laying composite decking boards. Be sure to read the installation guide carefully to make sure you understand and know the best way to wire your appliances.

Deck lights can make a space feel warmer and safer. With deck lights, you can use your deck after dark. Deck lights add ambiance and make it easier to see things, which makes it safer.

In addition, you can use temporary lights like string lights or permanent lights on composite decking surfaces and railings. You may need a contractor to install permanent lights.



Now that you know what you need to know about DIY composite decking installation on your own, you can start making plans. You can get some ideas by ordering free composite decking samples from COOWIN. Put them all in place on the deck so you can see how they look in different light at different times of the day.

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