Articles: Building a Low-Level Deck
Decks are a perfect area for outdoor entertaining and outdoor relaxing.
The style of deck you choose to build determines how you use your
deck, as well as how you build it. Although similar in appearance,
different decks can require different construction techniques.
Out Installation Services Associates built this Low-Level deck and
documented the steps taken in order to help you build your own outdoor
Footing positions were established around the concrete pad surrounding
a pool. The low-level deck on each side of the pool is 30 feet long
and 8 feet wide; 2x8 framing will be used on this low-level deck.
Smaller-dimension framing requires more footings. Batterboards and
mason's string lines were used to locate footing positions. Approximate
time for a novice (with a helper) to lay out footing locations for
each side of the deck: 7-9 hours.
Ten holes for 8-inch-diameter footings for each deck side were dug
with a power auger. Each hole is 48 inches deep to get below the
local frost line. Tube forms were required for the footings. Concrete
was delivered by truck and pumped to the footing locations. Post
anchors for 4x4 posts were installed after the concrete cured for
48 hours. Approximate time (for each side): 10-12 hours.
4x4 posts were plumbed and temporarily braced in position. A water
level was used to establish post heights, and each post was trimmed
to accurate length. The ground slopes away from the concrete pad
so the outer posts are longer than the inner posts. Landscape rock
was added to cover the area after posts were installed, but before
framing was completed. Approximate time (for each side, not including
ground cover): 7-9 hours.
Double 2x8 beams were built in place on top of the posts. They are
attached to the posts with adjustable post caps. A 45-degree beam
was installed in each corner. Decking will be attached around the
deck perpendicular to the joists. The diagonal beam will support
joists meeting from both directions. Approximate time (for one side,
including a 45-degree beam): 10-12 hours.
2x8 rim joists and inner joists were installed. Inner joists were
attached to the 45-degree beam with 45-degree joist hangers. Approximate
time (for one side): 14-16 hours.
A ledger and framing for a box stair were installed. The front edge
of the stair rests on the concrete pad. A 45-degree header joist
was installed between box-stair sections in each deck corner. Approximate
time (for one side, including the stair framing in a corner): 12-14
5/4x6 decking was installed on the deck and the box stair perpendicular
to the joists. Seams between boards were staggered between adjacent
rows of decking. The board ends meeting in the corner are mitered
at 45-degree angles. Decking was fastened with deck screws. Approximate
time (for one side, including decking on one side of a corner):
Railing post locations were calculated and posts installed. Posts
were notched and attached to the outside of the perimeter framing.
One post was notched to fit around each deck corner. Stair railings
were not needed. Coated metal tubes were used as railing balusters.
Approximate time for one side, including corner post: 7-8 hours.
Total approximate time for one side: 73-88 hours.