Aberdeen Glass Railing and Trex decking

Aberdeen Glass Railing and Trex decking

Trex decking in Aberdeen is an increasingly popular garden feature. To create a composite decking terrace provides a purpose in your garden, a place to site and relax. The Decking Network has interviewed a local decking designer, builder and Pro Trex installer based in Aberdeen.

What’s your name, where you from and what do you do?

My name is Simon Elms, I’m from Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire.  I trade as “Elmswood” or “Elmswood Decking” as I’ve become better known as.  My times served in the 80’s as a bench joiner, I love making things with my hands. I moved up to Scotland nearly 20 years ago and set up the business just 6 months later.

“We specialise in the installation of glass railing, balconies and decking in Aberdeenshire”

How long have you been installing decks?

My first decking was back in 1998, it was a bespoke Western Red Cedar project.  It has curved hand railing so all workshop made and all the boards drilled and plugged.  It was then installed down in London, cantilevered over a large pond.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I bought a book prior to moving up to Scotland on deck building design and best practice. I got it from America, it was this that inspired me, full of great ideas.  The book covered not only decking but all the different styles of railing, pergolas, gazebos and garden buildings.  Now I get inspiration from other installers, social media allows us to see what others around the world are doing.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions the Decking Network?

A group of very experienced installers with a passion to deliver well built, top quality projects to their customers, who are keen to share their ideas and experiences with fellow tradesman

TASK training Academy providing LANTRA certified decking courses… your thoughts?

I’m a fan of certified courses, it’s a simple as that. Most of the best installers are time served joiners and I think manufacturers should insist on qualified people to install their products.  With my background as a joiner, I’m always thinking  of ways to make the deck last as long as possible.  I insist on making sure the right spans, centres and type of timber are used.

What’s your favourite site tool and why?

I don’t really have a favourite; I have tools that have lasted incredibly well and would buy again. My DeWalt chop saw is used daily and just never gives up, I bought it 10 years ago.

What’s your largest and also smallest project?

The largest decking project I’ve done is 120m2.  It was an existing deck that had been built using poor quality Chinese deck board. All of it had gone brittle and was breaking up.  The entire structure had to be replaced as well. The installer had put a membrane over the timber causing it to rot too early.

Smallest project was probably replacing timber deck board on a balcony.

Pet hate about other people’s decking?

I’ve seen some terrible decking built; I’d say most of them are DIY projects.  Untreated timber, 800mm centres on the joists, boards nailed down and not screwed, supports just sitting on soil or stakes straight into the ground.  I still see fence post being used to support raised decking, it’s got the right treatment, but it’s not structurally graded. I work to engineers’ drawings, and I need to emphasise this –

“you’ll never see a fence post specified”

Best material for structures?

I’m a great believer in the traditional timber approach. As long as you use a good quality structurally graded timber treated to (UC4) Class 4 then it’ll last. I prefer my supporting posts to be 95 x 95 C24 graded and C4 treated.

I’ve not tried the Plaspro or metal joists yet but I’m sure they’re a good alternative, although more expensive. Aberdeen Glass Railing and Trex decking demand the very best structures and I install them.

Best decking for a top end project?

I’m comfortable with the Trex Transcend range. There are other boards available that I’m sure perform equally well but when you get used to a product and you trust it then you continue to recommend it

Best economy decking?

If we’re talking about composite then the Naturals range from Trex. If we’re talking about timber then you can’t get much cheaper than Scandinavian redwood. I do advise to make sure it has come from a good source, there are some terrible boards out there.

Decking materials or product that hasn’t been invented yet?

A board that never gets algae growth, winters are long up in Scotland and algae grows everywhere.

To tape or not to tape?

I understand the science behind the tape, I’ve seen what water ingress via the screws can do to the timber. So for me, decking tape, it’s a winner.  I guess time will tell as to whether it actually stops the moisture getting in. The Trex tape looks as though it really seals around the fixing and I really like it. The cheaper tape I have my doubts, both still protect the surface from water trapped under the board.

To curve or not to curve?

I like the look of some of the curved projects that other installers have produced. If someone asked me to build one then I’m sure I’d give it a go.

Any questions that you would like to have been asked… plus your answer of course.

 What areas do you cover?

Aberdeen Glass Railing and Trex decking should be on the tip of your tongue as we cover most of Aberdeenshire.  We cover into Angus, and we’ve travelled over to Skye before to install a balcony, took a day to get there but what a view!!

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