Floating decks use precast concrete deck blocks with notched tops to secure 4×4 posts and 2×6 joists, then set into place on their respective grounds while boards are wedged in between them by contractors.
Most local governments permit homeowners to construct floating decks without first obtaining a building permit; however, adding freestanding decks typically increases property taxes.
Adding a Deck to the Backyard
A floating deck enables you to add seating or dining tables without digging into the ground, making this feature suitable for use around existing trees or water features in your yard. Furthermore, its flexibility means it can fit seamlessly into a backyard like custom furniture while becoming the focal point of a living space.
Starting off right is simple if you consult with a contractor experienced with design and installation services. A professional can guide your decisions regarding deck size, shape and materials such as pressure-treated wood, redwood, cedar or composite lumber which has undergone additional processing steps to protect them against moisture damage that could otherwise lead to rot or other structural issues in the structure.
Your contractor will start by clearing away grass, weeds, stones and debris from the area where your floating deck will go. They may then install a weed barrier and possibly gravel; clear away any roots; level off the ground using concrete blocks to form an even surface; use deck blocks specifically designed for this task or opt for standard solid blocks which work just as effectively – either one is fine.
Should You Dig Frost Footings?
A contractor might recommend a floating deck as an economical and hassle-free alternative to digging frost footings for your new deck, although they’ll still need to assess soil conditions in your area and decide how deep to dig each support pier depending on weather and heave patterns.
An ideal footing system for an anchored deck should extend at least 48″ below the ground to prevent its footings from shifting during freeze-thaw cycles, which could heave it and create trip hazards or damage the house itself. However, if your deck only serves as an outdoor entertainment space then less deep footings may suffice.
If you choose to build a floating deck, make sure that you use all of the appropriate tools. These include concrete deck blocks with notched tops for holding either 4×4 posts or 2×6 boards (on end), as well as circular saw, carpenters square, hammer, drill bits, exterior screws and laser level with extension cord.
Before excavating any soil, call 8-1-1 for help with marking any buried utilities that might otherwise cause accidents and injuries. This free service could save a great deal of hassle as well as physical harm to yourself or others. Also keep in mind that any floating deck that exceeds 30″ off of the ground does not require a building permit to construct.
Floating Decks vs. Structural Decks
A floating deck does not offer extra protection from flooding, tree-related damage and other natural disasters; in addition it may become susceptible to weed growth because it sits so close to the ground. Furthermore, if you live in an area prone to tornadoes or earthquakes then it might be wiser to opt for another form of deck instead.
To build a floating deck, start with a level surface of dirt, sand or gravel and add a weed barrier and layer of gravel to prevent shifting of soil beneath. Contractors then lay concrete blocks specifically designed for this use or regular solid blocks like those you would find on an outdoor patio; these will keep the deck off of the ground and away from moisture so wood remains dry for extended use.
Building a floating deck does not require digging, making construction quicker and enabling use in more areas of your backyard. It is an excellent option if existing landscaping prevents attaching a deck, or you prefer having freestanding structures. However, it might not provide optimal value or ease of selling your home in the future.
Floating Decks vs. Concrete Pads
Unlike their structural counterparts, floating decks do not require footings to be dug into the ground. Instead, contractors use special concrete deck blocks that resemble large Lego pieces with notches to hold 4×4 posts or 2×6 or 2×8 lumber on end. In addition, landscape fabric may be laid over an area before placing these blocks and covering them with gravel – this helps with drainage while also keeping weeds at bay between decking planks.
Whenever considering a floating deck installation, it’s essential that all plants, grass or landscaping items be cleared from the area in which your contractor plans on placing it. If there are large trees present, some roots may also need to be cut back for installation purposes. Clearing this area helps prevent moisture damage to wood structures and allows your contractor to build an adequate foundation.
Floating decks offer ease of installation as well as portability if you move houses, making them great additions. Furthermore, their cost advantages make them cheaper than traditional decks as excavation and material requirements are reduced significantly. They might add less value to your home when selling it later and their lack of concrete support leaves it vulnerable to shifting soil conditions that cause it to sink or sag over time.
Frequently Asked Questions about Floating Decks
1. Is a floating deck suitable for my outdoor space?
A floating deck can be an ideal addition to your outdoor space, providing greater design flexibility while accommodating changes in ground elevation with minimal excavation requirements. A well-built floating deck will also add aesthetic value and provide a comfortable place for relaxation and entertainment.
2. What are the advantages of a floating deck compared to traditional decks?
Floating decks offer many advantages over traditional ones. Their construction doesn’t involve extensive excavation or concrete work, making them more cost-effective; being detached from your house also reduces moisture issues; plus they’re easier for DIY enthusiasts to install themselves!
3. Are There Any Potential Downsides to Owning a Floating Deck?
Though floating decks offer many advantages, there may also be drawbacks to consider. Since they’re not attached directly to your house, they may not remain as stable during severe weather conditions; proper construction and anchoring must be applied in order to prevent shifting or tilting. Furthermore, the area beneath a floating deck may become susceptible to weed growth over time and requires ongoing maintenance.
4. How can I ensure the safety and stability of a floating deck?
Proper construction of a floating deck is essential to its safety and stability, using durable materials with appropriate spacing between joists. An anchoring system must also be in place in order to prevent shifting or collapsing. Consult an expert or follow detailed building guidelines so your deck meets local codes and safety standards.
5. Can I install a hot tub and other heavy items onto a floating deck?
Installing heavy items, like a hot tub, on a floating deck requires careful consideration and planning. You must ensure the deck’s design and structural integrity can support its additional weight before installing a significant weight-bearing structure on it – consulting a structural engineer or professional builder is recommended prior to doing this to avoid potential safety risks.