Tip: Building Your Freestanding Deck Yourself

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  1. Laying the Foundation

The most expedient way of supporting your decking structure would be to build a strong foundation using concrete. The frame of your deck will include vertical posts, measuring 4×4 or 6×6. Each post should stand on a different concrete footing. To build a strong footing that will support the weight of the entire structure, pour the material into 12’’ diameter cylindrical cardboard materials and put them inside holes dug just deep enough to support your structure.

A 3×3 ft. pad made of concrete is needed for landing purposes, and should be fitted right below the staircase. You want to build your deck according to plan, so you must picture the right position for your staircase to stand. Now, it’s time you pour the concrete pad into the 4 inch layer of gravel you had prepared before. The thickness of the pad should measure anywhere between 4 to 6 inches. This is the most ideal measurement recommended by local safety codes, so you should not ignore them.

  1. Time to Install the Posts

You should secure your posts to a bracket. This bracket is usually anchored onto the footing. Once the concrete is set, just tighten the bracket to the anchor bolt using a nut. You should make sure the posts are secured to the bracket using normal galvanized nails. Also, ensure the posts are firm before starting to work on the frames, or else everything will collapse. You also might want to check their firmness periodically.

  1. Assembling the Frame of the Structure and Making it Stand

The deck is supported by horizontal bands or ribbon joists, which are fastened together with the posts at appropriate heights. If you’re building a large deck, you will need cross beams to support the posts directly. The joists are supposed to run in a way that appears parallel to the dimensions of the structure.

Usually, decking comes in standard dimensions of 1.25×6 inches. The decking is fastened into the bolt joists using 16 galvanized nails. If you like, you can purchase decking screws for this purpose, though it’s not very necessary if you’re comfortable with nails.

  1. Final Touches

Your deck needs to look complete after you’ve erected it securely. This is the time when you should trim off any protruding or excess wood on the edges of your decking. In order to do it accurately, you might want to draw a chalk line to use as a guideline for accurate cutting. You want everything to appear in good dimension and proportion.

You should choose dry straight boards, free from large knots. That’s because when wood is pressure-treated, it may twist or bend as it dries, so you need to stack it tightly until you install and fasten it securely. After a month or so, re-check your decking structure to see if there are any components that are weak or lose. If that’s the case, replace them with longer fasteners for a more secure hold. Realize that soil near the foundation of your home can be unstable, meaning you’ll have to follow the safety precautions highlighted in your code. For example, local codes demand that concrete footings 3 meters off the foundation must be dug at least 8 feet deep in order to hold the structure firmly.

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