Ready to DIY a floating deck? Decks done wrong can be costly, ugly, and even dangerous. We care that your outdoor space is as beautiful as it safe, so we queried deck gurus everywhere for suggestions and advice on how you can avoid common mistakes and build the quality floating deck you want. Here’s what they had to say:
Get Organized, Start with Outer Frame
For a beginner starting with a floating deck:
- Make sure that you are organized. Do everything at once and in sequence. Cut all your joists correctly and ensure all of them have been marked with your identifiers before you start.
- Begin with the outer frame, as it will serve as the guiding structure for the placement of the rest of your 2×6’’ joists. One key tip to consider when nailing in the initial joists is to ensure that your outer frame does not move.
You can do this by fastening temporary blocks of wood to the corners of the outer frame to keep it in place until you have fastened about 3 or 4 joists.
Most beginners have trouble with ensuring the outer frame does not move whilst they fasten the internal joists.
Stay on the Level
- Check your local building codes before doing any work and acquire a permit if necessary.
- Get rid of or minimize as much grass growing beneath where the deck will be as possible. You can put weed-blocking landscape fabric over the area and then layer that with all-purpose gravel.
- Check to make sure the deck is going to be level – and then keep checking throughout the process. Checking it consistently is the way to go to avoid an angled deck.
- Use spare boards as a straight edge to cut the deck boards the same length. If the boards are a varying length, line a couple of spare boards where you want the edge to be and use a circular saw to cut off the excess ends.
Pressure-Treated Wood, Bark Side Up
Always keep the bark side up
This means that the circular pattern or “rings” that you can see on the wood need to be facing downwards. This is because upward-facing rings can accumulate more moisture, causing damage and warping.
Protection from pests and wood rot
Ground contact pressure-treated timber is extremely important for all your posts, joists, framing, and everything else. This is particularly important for places with high humidity which are breeding grounds for rot-causing fungi.
Avoid deck shift
If you live in a cold area, build your deck’s base about 4-5 feet below ground level to prevent your deck from shifting and also ensuring that the ground below your post does not freeze over and lift.
Go Synthetic Instead of Wood
- Set your blocks in the ground by digging about six inches for stability.
- Spray paint lines for the interior blocks for a guide.
- Use synthetic deck boards instead of real wood – it will be much more long lasting and will prevent splinters.
Budget Now, Buy Now
1. Ensure that the area where you will install the floating deck is leveled.
It is crucial to ensure that the floating deck is straight to make it safe for everyone who will step on it.
2. Have enough budget.
If you want to finish faster, you have to purchase all the things you need before starting. Lacking supplies can make the whole process longer, so ensure that you have the budget so you can buy everything all at once.
3. It should always be bark-side up.
When placing the lumbers, ensure that the lines of the lumbers are not in a cupping position because doing so absorbs more water which can damage your floating deck easily.
Keep Water Off with Good Drainage
Plan the layout
You have to measure the area where you want to install the deck, consider offsets and landscape, and then draw the project on paper. This will give you a clear idea of how much materials you need to succeed.
Use only PT GC (Pressure-Treated Ground Contact) for the base of the deck
PT GC is a relatively new standard of weather-resistant lumber that is treated to serve longer when it contacts the ground.
Include drainage into the construction
Water is the worst enemy of any deck, so you have to consider constructing decent drainage to keep the water away from the wooden parts as much as possible.
Use only concrete deck blocks for building a foundation on uneven ground.
Plastic TuffBlocks are much easier to work with, but they provide the needed support only on hard, solid ground.
Levels and Lines
Level the area
You should level the ground area by excavating the site for the floating deck. Use a laser level to ensure that you have moved the dirt around.
Level all the corners of the blocks
Ensure to set four corners of the deck by digging about six inches into the ground and creating holes. You can adjust them & make them even.
Interior blocks need lines created for them
Create a spray-paint line on the short portion of the deck. You should paint this line measuring two feet away from the corners. Dig a trench between your corner blocks.
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