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Simple Backyard Deck Project

Simple Backyard Deck Project

Wouldn’t you like to have a backyard deck that you can complete in one day without needing to install wood or concrete posts? Here is how you can accomplish this satisfying feat quickly and easily with concrete deck blocks and start enjoying your deck without delay!

Check the rules first!

  • First, check with your local community officials or HOA to determine if a deck permit is required or not, and if so, where the deck can be legally placed in your yard. (i.e.: A set distance from the property line, fence, house, other structure, etc.) Since these types of decks are referred to as a ground-level or “floating decks,” they do not have to be attached to any other structure, so they can be placed virtually anywhere you have space subject to any of the above limitations.

Visualize the end result

  • Next, layout the deck’s planned placement beforehand so you can visualize the deck in its desired location, and mark the layout on the ground with string, twine, rope or “marking paint” that you can buy at your local hardware store. Since we will be utilizing pre-made deck blocks instead of concrete posts, you do not have to be concerned about digging below the frost line. However, if you intend to use stakes and string/twine for alignment purposes, or are putting the deck over grass or sod and want to dig the sod out to help prevent weed growth, be sure to call 811 to have the underground utilities marked ahead of time so you don’t risk any potential damage to the utilities or yourself by striking a utility line. This will also show you if you are putting the deck on top of any buried lines which utility companies may need access to for repairs or maintenance. (As an option if you do not wish to remove the top layer of sod, purchase and place a cloth or poly weed barrier on top of the grass or even bare dirt to accomplish the same thing.)

Set your corner and interior blocks

  • Once properly aligned, tamp down a layer of paver base (i.e. gravel) where the concrete deck blocks are to be set, and place four blocks inside the planned alignment exactly 1 foot from the top/side of each corner, making sure they are all leveled to the same height and oriented correctly to form the deck’s perimeter joist frame. (To be clear, for a 12’ X 12’ deck, place the blocks about where the corners of an 11’ square would meet). Then, add additional deck blocks with the center of the blocks spaced approximately 15” apart (i.e. 8 of them in total) and set between and in-line with the corner blocks. Again, make certain these blocks are also placed on paver base and leveled at the same height as the surrounding blocks. (If you wish to add an additional row of concrete blocks in the center of the deck for extra support, repeat the procedure and place them at every-other block intervals which will be more than adequate.)

Assemble the joists

  • Utilizing 12-foot 2”x 6” inch pressure-treated boards to resist decay, thread the first two “outside joist boards” through the pre-cut cavities in the corner concrete blocks so that they parallel each other and extend out 12” beyond their supports on each end. Continue setting the other “internal joists” parallel to the first two in the same manner until all the joists are set in place. Be sure to measure each internal board to insure that it is the exact length as the two outside joist boards in order to be able to attach another 12-foot 2” x 6” board across all of them at each boards’ exposed end.

Complete and secure the deck frame

  • After all the joist boards are set in place and confirmed level, attach each joist to the two 12-foot “end boards” with galvanized joist hangers (that you can find at your local hardware store), but leave 12” extending out on each end of the two end boards for the final two framing boards. Measure and cut the final framing boards and connect them to the extended end boards with either joist hangers or joist corner brackets. For extra support, cut four 2”x 6” boards to roughly 1-foot in length (measure to be sure!!), secure them to the joists passing through the corner blocks, and attach them to the final two framing boards with joist hangers as well.

Test and prep for the flooring

  • Using 24 pressure-treated 1” X 6” boards in 12’ foot lengths for the deck flooring, lay the boards onto the frame so that they are perpendicular to the joists and check the boards for warping. If any are badly warped, replace them. Also note that since lumber is rarely cut square, make sure the 2” x 6” joists are level where they come into contact with one another, and if not, sand or plane them down until they create a flat level surface.

Hammer (or screw) time!

  • Mark the locations of the joists on the outside perimeter of the frame and screw or nail the deck flooring boards directly into the center of the joists they cross. If you use pressure-treated lumber, do not bother leaving any spaces in the flooring boards for water draining purposes as they will create their own spacing gaps as they dry. If you choose to use dry lumber instead, space the flooring boards approximately 1/8” apart, or about the width of an 8-penny nail since they are “pre-shrunk.”

Stain, paint or treat for longevity

  • Finally, if desired, sand or smooth any rough edges on the deck before staining, painting or weather sealing it to help preserve it for years to come. Then, grab some chairs to lounge on the deck and marvel at your accomplishment!

Remember you can always contact us at Daniel Builders if you need any help or assistance with this or any building project!

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