Introduction: DIY Floating Deck

Hello instructables!

My wife and I are first time homeowners & have lived in our home for a year with a modest & less than ideal outdoor space to have friends and family over. As a designer, and avid DIYer, I hadn't worked with my hands in almost a year & we needed a better entertaining space for the summer - so I built a 13ft x 16ft floating deck over the 4th of July Weekend! (boards and screws approx $700!...which is far less than having a contractor do it.)

(NOTE: This is my first time publishing a "how-to", so the documentation isn't as sharp considering I learned of this competition well after I completed the project).


Day One

5 hours getting everything meticulously leveled (because if you don't do the foundation work right it is all for nothing).

Day Two

10 hours finishing the joist levels, checking the joist levels, & then setting in the deck boards & setting the furniture.

Step 1: Step 1: Inspect Your 'canvas'

To give you an idea of what we were working with:

The door from the den had a 6 inch drop to a 5'x10' concrete slab, which sat an inch higher and adjoined to the 8'x8' brick 'patio' that dates back to the 1950's.

The brick patio settled unevenly over time which made it difficult to have a space where we could easily place outdoor furniture (unless you like using sugar packets and shims under furniture feet, lol).

Also, there is a second door from the garage to the outdoor space that has a 3.5" drop from its threshold.

Inspection Summary

1. Varied leveled surfaces & entry points

2. Small uneven entertaining space (25% of patio retains water when it rains in)

3. No 'Wow' factor

Step 2: Step 2: Plan & Map

Use a tape measure and mark out a general space based on your outdoor
furniture and how you would layout your new space (I highly recommend this physical approach first!).

Additionally, with an idea of the constraints to build around, I opened up Google Maps and Adobe Illustrator to make a rough composite aerial of what I imagined.

Note: leave enough room to include additional space for secondary conversations and movement of people.

Step 3: Step 3: Materials & Tools

After assessing how to tackle the build and addressing those issues it was off to Home Depot & Lowes to gather & look at:

1) Ground contact lumber/cedar joists (HomeDepot)

2) Ground contact lumber/cedar deck boards (HomeDepot)

deck screws

Grade stakes

Braided nylon rope

Line levels

Additional Tools (I already have)

- Circular saw or hand saw

- Power drill

- Shovel

Step 4: Step 3: Build (Joists) Day 1

Given I could not move the concrete patio - it was easier to build over the existing space. The thresholds to the garage door access was my other design constraint so the 2"x4" joists had to be oriented with the 4" portion running horizontally instead of vertically. In order to eliminate/minimize flexing of the boards I reinforced them with a support every 2 square feet with old patio bricks that were not critical (See Image#).

As the garage door doesn't allow for the 2"x4" joists to be vertical I had to run them horizontally. Once I raised the brick foundationsI checked the level of the joists.

Step 5: Step 4: Build (deck Boards) Day 2

After I've spent 65% of my time ensuring the joists were leveled all around - I began to lay down the 6inch x 16ft deck boards using a 1/8" spacing. With the help of my uncle, wife & her parents (extra help makes things go faster!) we secured the boards to the joists.

NOTE: We secured the ends of the boards with 2 screws to prevent rocking, and used 1 screw for the interior joists.

Step 6: Step 5: Finishing Touches

After deck completion - MAKE SURE TO LET THE BOARDS DRY OUT PRIOR TO APPLYING a stain or sealer (this may take several weeks depending on how 'green' the boards are).

Then add or reintroduce your furniture, add some friends and family and Enjoy!

Step 7: Step 6: BONUS!

As I drilled in the final deck screw a small gust of wind broke our patio umbrella (no joke)... So we went to Lowes and found a pergola to 'upgrade' our sun protection....additional seating.....a grill from Home Depot (Shout out to Consumer Reports Magazine for the grill evaluations in the summer issue!)...and solar lights from BigLots!

Now we're set for hosting many outdoor activities during the summer and fall months! Cheers!

Build materials for original project $700

Grill from research/subscription & $240

Pergola for sun protection $400

Adding new patio furniture $400

Having 13 members of your family gathered on the deck you built and enjoying the summer is PRICELE$$

Comments

author
elnino2783 (author)2017-08-29

Looks good, but is the pergola blocking the access door?

I have similar setup and want a pergola myself, but installing it would put it right in front of the door accessing the deck.

author
weschase (author)elnino27832017-08-29

Thanks, and nope - the pergola is not blocking the access door. It is positioned about 3ft away. We structured the entry and flow of the space to allow for easy access to all seating around the center table. We placed some potted herbs (basil & mint) in the space behind the seating along the wall by the access door. Think about how you would like to use the space & how people can enjoy the space - then design/plan around that. You can create inactive areas and transform them into visual accents or functional space with tricky areas. :) Good Luck with your space elnino2783!

author
old_alex (author)2017-08-29

My advice is to put two screws in each plank screwed to each joist not one for the internal. With the longer spans the it will cup very soon, especially given your choice of decking and proximity to the ground.

author
bbqandbeer (author)old_alex2017-08-29

I second that.

author
weschase (author)old_alex2017-08-29

Thanks for the advice old_alex. I will put that information to use. Cheers!

author
Swansong (author)2017-08-29

That looks awesome! You did an amazing job!

author
weschase (author)Swansong2017-08-29

Thank you Swansong!