Picture frame boarder on composite decking from above

How to picture frame composite decking

Finishing your composite decking with a ‘picture frame’ is the perfect way to add a classic, eye-catching finish to your deck. But what is a picture frame finish and how do you install one? In this blog we outline the steps needed to install a decking picture frame together with factors you need to consider.

What is a picture frame on composite decking?

Adding a picture frame to your composite decking simply means installing a boarder around the perimeter of your decked area.

Rather than leaving the end cuts of the boards exposed, you install parallel and perpendicular boards to create a ‘picture frame’. It works well with all designs of decking, from traditional and herringbone to diagonal.

Examples of picture frame decking patterns

Using Ecodek composite decking it’s easy to create a number of picture frame designs. Here’s some ideas:

Different colours

Use two different shades of any of our decking collections to create a subtle colour contrast. If capped composite decking is your choice, maybe opt for Ice Grey boards with a Smokey Grey boarder, or go for warmer shades with a Cinnamon Brown infill and Hickory Brown surround.

Different finishes

Use different textured boards to produce a subtle look that’s great in most environments. Opt for our Signature AT reversible ribbed and grooved collection in black, browns or greys. You can then have wide grooves in the middle and narrow ribbed boards around the edges.

Mix it up

If you’re looking to make a statement, why not mix colours and finishes? Our uncapped Heritage, Signature AT and Essentials ranges all come in the same colours, so you could install a grey woodgrain infill deck with a brown grooved edging.

Mitred or non-mitred corners

It’s your choice whether to cut your edges at 45° and 90° angles – both give different looks: classic or contemporary, you decide!

Single or double?

Your picture frame boarder can be as deep or narrow as you see fit. Before you begin your installation, lay down your boards and decide in advance whether a single board works, or whether adding another one or two creates a more desirable effect.

How to install a picture frame on composite decking

What tools are required?

The tools, fixtures and fittings you need to install your picture frame deck will be the same as you need to fit the rest of your decking. Please check the manufacturer’s recommendations – it’s important to read these before you start. The most common tools required include:

  • Power mitre saw/Circular saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Cordless driver
  • Recommended fasteners and installation tools
  • Exterior grade construction screws
  • Protective glasses
  • Set square
  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure

Installing your picture frame

You can install a picture frame decking boarder in four simple steps:

  1. Install the correct sub-frame support
  2. Measure and cut your picture frame deck boards
  3. Install your picture frame deck boards
  4. Install your infill deck boards

1. Install the correct sub-frame support

A picture frame design requires additional support around the edges where the boards run perpendicular to the infill boards. Therefore additional joists/beams and blocks will need to be added on these edges.

Install double joists where boarder boards run at a 90 degree angle to the main run of boards. All infill boards that meet a picture frame border must be fully supported by a block beneath the ends of each board.

2. Measure and cut your picture frame deck boards

Firstly measure your boards for length – remembering to incorporate an expansion gap as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Then use a set square to mark your boards at a 90 degree or 45 degree angle (if you’re having mitred edges).

Now you can cut your boards. A mitre saw is the ideal tool for cutting picture frame boards.

3. Install your picture frame deck boards

The picture frame boards which run parallel to the main run of infill boards can be fitted following the manufacturer’s standard installation instructions.

When installing your perpendicular boards, ensure they are being laid on the double joists you have previously installed.

Once your boards have been laid, they need to be securely fastened in place using fixtures and fittings recommend by the manufacturer.

4. Install you infill deck boards

Once your edge boards are in place and securely fastened, you can fit the main decked area.

It is advisable to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing your infill boards and remember to incorporate gaps at the end of each board to allow for expansion.

If you would like more information on how to install a picture framed design, download our installation guides or call our friendly, expert team on 01978 667 840.

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