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).
5 hours getting everything meticulously leveled (because if you don't do the foundation work right it is all for nothing).
10 hours finishing the joist levels, checking the joist levels, & then setting in the deck boards & setting the furniture.
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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.
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: 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: Materials & Tools
After assessing how to tackle the build and addressing those issues it was off to Home Depot & Lowes to gather & look at:
Additional Tools (I already have)
- Circular saw or hand saw
- Power drill
Step 4: 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: 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: 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: 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$$