Building a deck at home

Help Support House Repair Talk:

swimmer_spe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
591
Reaction score
111
At home, where building codes do exist, I am building a floating deck. It will be less than 2 feet off the grade. It will be L shaped. The long parts are about 16x15. I plan on using 2x6s for the the structure, 4x4s for any posts. What would the the maximum gap I can leave between deck blocks?
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
5,563
Reaction score
1,973
Location
Erie, PA
Deck blocks? Are you talking about the base blocks to hold your 4x4 posts. Will you be using hangers or will you be making beams and then running joists across on top of the beams. I did the second method and it is how I like to build a deck.

My floating deck build photos are in this thread starting around post 14.

How to buy a Fixer Up House to be a Home.
 

swimmer_spe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
591
Reaction score
111
Deck blocks? Are you talking about the base blocks to hold your 4x4 posts. Will you be using hangers or will you be making beams and then running joists across on top of the beams. I did the second method and it is how I like to build a deck.

My floating deck build photos are in this thread starting around post 14.

How to buy a Fixer Up House to be a Home.
Deck blocks are the base blocks that will hold the 4x4 posts.

I wasn't planning on using hangers or beams, but simply nail the ends through the boards. That would make up the joists.

Sounds like I need to learn more. I would like the simpler way to do it. Why did you do it that way?
 

Snoonyb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
3,866
Reaction score
738
Since there are building codes where you are, there will also be deck layout handout available from the code enforcement folks.

It will have the answers and be a good method to follow.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
5,563
Reaction score
1,973
Location
Erie, PA
Deck blocks are the base blocks that will hold the 4x4 posts.

I wasn't planning on using hangers or beams, but simply nail the ends through the boards. That would make up the joists.

Sounds like I need to learn more. I would like the simpler way to do it. Why did you do it that way?
I selected the sizes based around the material I salvaged from the old deck and the design was in part based on the fact I planned on putting a 6000 pound hot tub on it about 30” off the ground. I wanted free standing and left it 1” from touching the house. The only thing I bought were the screws and the deck blocks.



I had the inside floor height and a out swing door and I wanted the deck just an inch lower than the house floor. The conventional way of doing it is the deck is one step down lower than the house. I figured in my decking and then joists height then beam height and then my deck block spacing so the deck would cantilever the posts. The deck is 12x16 so I spaced two rows of 4 posts and got all the posts cut to the right lengths so all the tops were in the same plane. Because I had a lot of 2x8 I screwed two together 16’ long for each beam and set them on top of my posts and held them with a side cleat at each post made from a short 2x4. after the two beams were in place I then built the joist on top of them also 2x8 16”OC and then boxed in the ends. I didn’t use one nail in the deck it was all deck screws and I didn’t use any structural clips or ties just toe screwed the joists to the beams to hold them as all weight was being transferred straight down to the blocking. Then the decking went on all 16’ lengths. The last step was on the outside half I cross braced it all from below in both directions with decking lumber I had left over. I was able to do it last as I was higher than you will be so you should do that before decking. With a free standing design you don’t have the posts buried for stability against racking so bracing is a good idea. I put mine down the side the tub is on and left the other bay by the house open to crawl back if I need to get at the house or the wiring of the tub.



If I was doing it again I would have put down plastic or landscape cloth and a layer of gravel under the whole thing.



Other than that it has made it thru a few really bad winters and a few mild ones and withstood a massive tree falling on it with only damage to the railings. We have had a dozen people on it plus the tub nothing has moved.

To answer your question with 2x6 construction and a low deck built like I did, I would want the blocks about 6’ OC.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
5,563
Reaction score
1,973
Location
Erie, PA
Since there are building codes where you are, there will also be deck layout handout available from the code enforcement folks.

It will have the answers and be a good method to follow.
This is very true. It will have to be inspected and approved in advance and no matter what you feel is proper it is what they will deem proper that counts. The place to start is with checking in and seeing if they have information and then making a plan and submitting it.

If you are lucky they are the helpful type. Some of the townships here will tell you to submit a plan and then will give you pass/fail and its up to you to figure out whats wrong. I think they do it to discourage DIY projects. Where I live they don't seem to care much and if it is free standing it is pretty much do what you want.
 

swimmer_spe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
591
Reaction score
111
This is very true. It will have to be inspected and approved in advance and no matter what you feel is proper it is what they will deem proper that counts. The place to start is with checking in and seeing if they have information and then making a plan and submitting it.

If you are lucky they are the helpful type. Some of the townships here will tell you to submit a plan and then will give you pass/fail and its up to you to figure out whats wrong. I think they do it to discourage DIY projects. Where I live they don't seem to care much and if it is free standing it is pretty much do what you want.
Here is the same as long as it is under 2 feet.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
5,563
Reaction score
1,973
Location
Erie, PA
Here is the same as long as it is under 2 feet.
Then you are in luck. Is the ground level where the deck will go? the great thing about posts is they allow you to easily adjust for grade.
 

swimmer_spe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
591
Reaction score
111
Then you are in luck. Is the ground level where the deck will go? the great thing about posts is they allow you to easily adjust for grade.
Within a few inches from each corner. I believe the legal max height can be no more than 23 inches. Mine will be closer to 20 inches.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
5,563
Reaction score
1,973
Location
Erie, PA
When you are buying all your materials it will be a trade off do you put more deck blocks and get by with smaller 2x lumber or not. Run the numbers several ways and see how it works out. In a house you are worried about clear span for rooms below a floor not so with a low deck.
 

swimmer_spe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2015
Messages
591
Reaction score
111
When you are buying all your materials it will be a trade off do you put more deck blocks and get by with smaller 2x lumber or not. Run the numbers several ways and see how it works out. In a house you are worried about clear span for rooms below a floor not so with a low deck.
So, as long as the span between blocks is no more than 6 feet, I am good? No need to sister anything?
 

Latest posts

Top