Have You Ever Built a Deck? Do You Want to in the Future?

| 10/16/2009 3:07:00 PM

Tags: question to readers, DIY,

Summer is over, so many of you may be thinking of projects that didn’t get done during nice weather: expanding the vegetable garden, repairing the front porch steps or even building a backyard deck.

But don’t lament what didn’t get done — plan how you’ll get it done when the weather warms again. 

I’m considering putting a small deck adjacent to my house’s patio, one that would dry quickly after a Midwest spring rain. First things first, I need to decide upfront how much time and energy I can put into this outdoor building project. What’s most pressing for me to figure out is the footings, which go into the ground and support the legs or posts of the deck.

I could dig 3-foot deep holes and fill them with cement, making sturdy and freeze-resistant piers. This is a good idea, as I certainly don’t want the deck to warp and weave in response to seasonal changes.

On the other hand, I could use deck blocks, which sit on top of a base of fine gravel. They’re easy to move around, require no digging and allow the project to move along more quickly. However, they are susceptible to frost heaving. But if I think it’s possible this deck wouldn’t be permanent, it would be easier to take it apart and relocate it if I used deck blocks.

Have you built a deck? What approach did you take to support the posts? Are you dreaming of building a deck? Share your experiences and plans by posting a comment below.

5/4/2011 5:40:04 AM

Check this out http://www.fiberondecking.com/blog/2011/in-deck-design-form-equals-function/

wire deck railing
5/4/2011 5:32:33 AM

If you plan to build a deck, you shouldn't miss on safety measures. Railings are good to install to prevent falling off the deck. Get http://www.bclumberstore.com to help with the best materials to use.

Geoff Taylor
11/10/2009 11:30:18 PM

Heidi, Having done around a hundred decks, I must agree with Pat M. about PT wood, and Terri in AK is EXACTLY right about the intelligent way to build a deck in areas where frost heave is an issue. As I live in Oregon, the only problem is drainage. Water kills decks. Maybe it makes sense to pour footings -- 3 feet deep? Oh, Thank You for reminding me why I left the Midwest, never to return -- and plop pier pads right on them. However, this should be said about decks: Whether built on the tundra of Alaska or in Ice-Planet Kansas or in This-Ain't-Hawaii Oregon, there is no such thing as a permanent outdoor deck. Houses always outlive decks. Seems to me that Troy's idea about basement shelves could be a applied to a deck system made of connectable platforms, which could be removed and dried/treated once a year, on those blistering days in July. Heidi, if you want a permanent deck, think concrete and tile. If you want a semi-permanent deck, think modular wood. And Pat's right, you're better off starting with untreated wood. That way, you can pick your methods of preserving it, most of which are toxic, and have some control over the end product.

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