Installation Tips & Techniques
Although HandyDeck deck tiles are very straightforward and trouble-free to install, there are a number of simple tips and techniques we have learned over the years that can help make installation even easier.
Laying out the tiles
If you're not quite sure of the design you'd like with your HandyDeck deck tiles, lay some tiles in the pattern you think you might like without actually clicking them in place. This will save you time and effort "un-clicking" the tiles if you decide later to choose a different design pattern. Once you are set on the design that you like, just clip the tiles in place.
Leave a small gap at boundary walls
If you're planning to install HandyDeck deck tiles in an area bordered by walls on two sides, we recommend you don't place the tiles directly in contact with the boundary walls. Unless you are positive that the walls are perfectly at right angles to each other, if the angle of the two walls is less than 90° (which is often the case), then you'll have a minor alignment issue if you have not planned for an appropriate gap against one of the walls. This is not a major issue, but by planning ahead you can make your easy installation even easier.
Making a template for cutting tiles
If you need to fit HandyDeck wood tiles around pipes, posts or other fixed objects, you can easily cut the tiles with a hand saw, power saw or jigsaw. The best way to do this is to make a cardboard template the same size as the decking tile. Cut out the section of your template where the pipe or post is situated, then use this template to cut the tile to the same size. With any tiles that are cut, make sure that all the wood slats are securely fastened to the plastic base with at least two screws, adding extra screws as necessary via the pre-formed screw holes in the base.
Leave a gap at boundary walls
When fitting the tiles against a boundary wall, do not butt the tiles firmly against the wall but leave a small gap between the boundary wall and the tiles to allow for expansion/contraction of the wood or plastic base due to temperature or climatic variations. This is especially important if laying the SwiftDeck Double-C tiles all in the same direction on a long or wide terrace or patio.
If you are laying HandyDeck decking tiles over an existing floor surface... and you think that you might want to remove the tiles at some later stage (this is a great idea for apartment dwellers)... we recommend that you place a black plastic sheet or other protective layer under the tiles so that the floor beneath is not stained when you are applying coats of decking oil to the SwiftDeck tiles. Woven plastic matting such as weed control fabric is generally preferred so water does not remain trapped under the protective layer.
Start laying from an outside corner
If you are installing HandyDeck deck tiles on a patio, balcony or rooftop with open sides, we recommend that you start laying the tiles from the outside of the decking area and work inwards towards the wall of the house in an expanding triangular manner. This will allow you to size and cut the tiles necessary to fit neatly into the gap remaining between the last row of complete tiles and the boundary wall of the house.
Filling in small gaps at boundary walls
If your deck design has a gap of less than one tile's width against an inside wall or around a fixed object, one attractive alternative instead of cutting tiles to fit, is to fill the gap with pebbles, volcanic rock, bark or some other landscaping material.
HandyDeck tiles offer exceptional opportunities for creative landscaping. One popular design option is to leave out a few tiles and fill the space with other landscaping materials such as pebbles or colored rock.
Alternative edge treatment (1)
Whilst HandyDeck edging accessories makes edge finishing quick and easy, another edging alternative is to screw a length of L-shaped anodized aluminum (about 1" x 1") to the edge of the outer row of tiles. This can be useful where you want a finished edge on a row of cut tiles but are unable to clip on the straight edging, or at the edge of step where you may prefer a square finished edge rather than the angled shape of the edge piece.
Alternative edge treatment (2)
If you are installing either SwiftDeck wood tiles or ResiDeck composite wood tiles over an exiting wood porch or a slightly raised wood deck, another alternative is to fix a new facing board on the outside of the porch or deck and allow the tiles to slightly overhang this board by trimming off a section of the plastic base.
For a detailed explanation, see here.
Using wood or composite wood tiles on steps or stairs
Normally we don't recommend using interlocking deck tiles on steps or stairs, firstly because the tiles are primarily designed as a “floating” system which are not (normally) fixed to the surface with nails or screws and secondly, they are not really designed to be installed in a vertical plane as required to cover the stair riser. But if you are using either our SwiftDeck wood tiles or ResiDeck composite wood tiles on an area with some wood steps or stairs, there is a way to use the tiles on the stair treads if you have some modest carpentry skills. For full details, see here.