It’s been a while since my last project was posted, but that’s because I have been a mad woman trying to finish up my newest project, which has taken me a month and a half to finish! And, seriously, this was the most time-consuming and strenuous project yet, but that is only because I took the project on by my lonesome since it’s something I really, really wanted done, but Hubs is swamped with his own projects around the home. So, when you want something done and you want it done now, you find a way to get it done on your own! At least you do if you are a mix of stubborn and inpatient like me! 😉 We have had an area of ugly rocks and dirt directly in front of our house since we moved in over 7 years ago. It has driven me CRAZY (which according to hubby is a short drive…) It took me a while to figure out exactly what it was I wanted to do with this area and I finally settled on a DIY floating deck!
I know, bleh, right?! Just weeds, rocks, and dirt (mud when it rains). I had already added a border on the other side of the front of the house using concrete blocks, you can view that project here. That made the left side of the house look nice, but that area on the right side needed some serious help. So, in this area of ugly dirt, I decided to add a floating deck, since based on the instructions I found online, it looked completely doable as a one-person project and seemed like it would only take two or three weeks max…. Ha ha ha! My eyes and stubborn mind definitely betrayed me this time! 🙂 Building this mostly by myself was definitely a lot harder and time consuming than what it seemed when I first took on this project! It would definitely have been easier having two people work on it at all times. But, I still got it done, it just took me WAY longer than I anticipated. But that is the nature of DIY, especially when you have a regular day job that gets in the way of all the DIY fun! 🙂
Here is how I built my new DIY Floating Deck (and with a curve in it to follow the sidewalk!) My deck was 13′ x 20′, and these instructions are based on a deck of that size.
**Please note, that the following provides information on how I built my deck. I am not a professional and in no way am I saying this is the best or proper way to build a deck, this is just information on how I built mine. 🙂 Now that that is out of the way, onward with my deck building extravaganza!
DIY Floating Deck Supplies:
*Note that this post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission if you purchase some of the items through the links below. In addition, these are the tools I used, you may choose to use different tools for your project, or you may not need all of the items below, depending on your situation (if you aren’t building a curved front to your deck or if the floating deck isn’t right next to a structure, for instance).
|Drill/Driver||Circular Saw||Jig Saw|
|Autohammer||Table Saw||Concrete Deck Blocks|
|Deck Framing Corner Bracket||Joist Hanger||Kreg Deck Jig|
|Kreg 2-5/8-Inch Deck Screw||Kreg 1/4″ Deck Spacer Rings||1/4″ sheets outdoor use plywood|
|available at home improvement stores|
|Level||Framing Square||Fast drying concrete mix|
|Hardi Plank Siding Boards||2×6 pressure treated lumber||2×6 Redwood lumber|
Purchased at Lowes
|Purchased at Lowes||Purchased at local Redwood lumber yard|
|White paint||Thompson’s Timber Oil – Walnut||2″ Exterior Wood Screw|
|Used Behr Elastomeric Paint|
DIY Floating Deck Instructions:
First, I figured out the locations for my concrete deck blocks. The area I was building my deck in was ~13 feet x 20 feet at the longest points. Since the area I built the deck in had a curve to it, it the length and width were not the same for the back of the area and the front of the area.
My deck boards were going to be laid across the 20 foot span of decking, so my joists were going to be laid perpendicular to the deck top boards. They spanned the 13 foot width of the area. I placed my concrete deck blocks 2 1/2 feet apart across the 20 foot length, and then 6 feet apart across the 13 foot span.
I began in the section with the highest ground level, digging down until the block was level with a block placed in the lowest area of ground (it’s easier to dig down to level than it is to find dirt to fill up an area… ). I used a spare 12′ 2×4 and a level to determine when the blocks were level with one another.
Once I had dug down enough to get the first block level with a block set on the lowest ground, I used a tamper to ensure that the dirt in the hole was flat and solid.
I then mixed some concrete in a plastic bowl.
Then placed a thin, flat, and level layer at the bottom of the hole I had dug.
I placed the concrete deck block on the concrete surface I had just poured and again checked to make sure the block was level on all sides and that the block was level with the other blocks.
I continued this until I had all blocks level and sitting on a concrete base (our neighbor’s dog came by to inspect my work, you can see the tail-end of her in this pic! 🙂 ). As mentioned earlier, and you can see in the picture below, there are 3 blocks across the 13′ span (about 6′ apart), and then the blocks along the 20′ span are 2 1/2′ apart.
Once the concrete blocks were all in place, I began cutting the 2×6 pressure treated boards to the proper length to span the 13′ width, and laying them in the deck blocks. For those joists that ended along a section that would be curved, I did cut the ends of the joists at angles matching the curve.
Because I couldn’t put the deck blocks completely up against the house due to a concrete slab under a portion of the house that blocked my ability to dig down to level the blocks, and because I needed a surface to attach plywood to in order to create the curve to follow the sidewalk at the front of the deck, I had to add some support boards running perpendicular to the joists (you can see one of those support boards in the picture above).
I attached those support boards using the deck corner framing brackets and using joist brackets. I attached the brackets using 2″ nails and the autohammer tool.
Once all the joists and support boards were in place, I used the table saw to rip the 1/4″ plywood boards into 8″ wide strips (that was the distance from the top of the joists to the ground). I then began attaching the plywood strips to the edges of the joists using 2″ exterior wood screws. The 1/4″ plywood is flexible enough that it bends around the curves. I added a total of three layers of the plywood all the way across the front of the deck, adding the layers one at a time, and making sure the end of one board and the beginning of the next board in each layer of each row were attached to a joist.
Once the three layers of plywood had been attached across the front, I then attached one layer of the Hardi Plank siding boards to the front of the plywood (wrap this over the curve very gently as it does crack easily) using 2″ exterior wood screws. Here you can see the hardi plank siding boards attached to the front of the deck:
Now time to start laying the boards! Exciting! I started the first row of decking next to the house. Because of some trim on the front of the house, and some downspouts, I had to use the jig saw to cut out sections of some of the boards.
I used the Kreg 1/4″ Deck Spacers to space the boards for each row, and I used my Kreg Deck Jig to adhere the boards (which allows you to attach the board with the screws hidden). The jig made it very easy!
One thing to ensure when attaching the deck boards, make sure each deck board begins and ends on a joist, and make sure each row doesn’t have the boards all end on the same joists all the way across. Otherwise you will have a line down one section of your deck. Instead, use a section of board cut from one of the previous boards to start the next row, so the lines are varied on the deck.
Here are the first few rows attached. You can see the areas where I had to cut out a portion of the deck boards to make room for trim or downspouts. You can also see where the last board in the unfinished row ends on a joist, and there is room on that joist to begin the next board.
I kept adding the boards across the deck using the spacer and Kreg Deck Jig as I went. (In the below pic, I have the boards towards the front of the deck just laying there waiting for use, those aren’t attached. I finished each row before attaching the next one).
Once I got to the last row, I did have to rip the 2×6 boards to make them narrower so they didn’t hang off the edge too far.
Once all boards were attached, it was time to cut the curve. Hubster did help with this step as my freehand cutting skills are not the best and I did not want to screw up the deck after ALL that work!
First, we drew the curve onto the deck. To do this, hubster traced the curve of the sidewalk onto a spare 2×6 board. He then used his band saw to cut along the traced curve on the board, so the remaining board had the curve of the sidewalk. He marked a line ~1″ from the edge of the front of the deck (from the hardi plank board on the front) on each end of the deck boards where the curve was to be cut. He then used his curved template board and lined it up with the marks on each board to create a curve that followed the curvature of the sidewalk and the curve of the front of the deck. Here is hubs tracing the curve onto the deck using his curved template board:
Once hubs had the curved line drawn, he began making the cut along the curve. He started using a jig saw but found that the circular saw was easier to cut the 2×6 boards with, so he used that instead.
Once hubs was finished cutting the curve, I used the belt sander to smooth out the curve and any jagged edges. I then washed the deck really well with the hose.
I let the deck completely dry over the course of several 100 plus degree days, and then I painted the front of the deck with Behr Elastomeric Paint in White (purchased at Home Depot).
I then used a hand sprayer made for deck stains and oils to apply Thompson’s Timberwood Oil in Walnut to the deck in small sections at a time:
And I used the Shur-Line Deck Stain pad to evenly spread the Timberwood Oil onto the deck boards.
Overall, the deck wasn’t too difficult to build, just time consuming for one person and a bit labor intensive at times (especially once the temperatures climbed up past 100!!) The total cost for building this deck was around $1400, but most of that cost was the redwood boards for the top of the deck, which cost almost $1000. If you used pressure treated boards instead of redwood for the deck boards, that would likely reduce the costs. Redwood is still cheaper than purchasing Trex deck boards though.
The front of the house looks MUCH nicer and cleaner having the deck instead of rocks and dirt! 🙂 Next up, I need to build some furniture for my new DIY floating deck. Keep your eyes peeled for those projects on the blog!