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Old 02-21-2012, 10:16 AM   #1
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To Deck or Not Deck

Greetings, New here...

I am closing on my first home next Tues. (Yay!!)

In the rather large back yard, I have a concrete patio upon immediate exit of the house. It is covered. About 7 feet out from the patio is a Tree. It is a type of tree that has surface roots... And it has a lot, that spread out around the tree, about 7 feet. Because of these roots, nothing is growing there. It's just dirt and root.

I read somewhere that for trees of this kind, covering the roots up with dirt and grassing over it might cause the tree to die, etc. I like the tree, don't really want it gone, but I can't stand the dirt or roots.

So I thought about decking over the top of it. So that the roots can remain exposed but I won't have to deal with dirt/roots, my son tripping on them, etc.

I have a wonderful "deck" in my mind, nice and large to cover up the roots and then some, that goes around the base of the tree, and possibly a benchseat around the tree...

Any ideas on how to create that? I'm all for hard work, DImyself... and I don't really have TONS of extra money to hire a contractor to do it.

I've been reading and attempting to research, but I haven't been able to find anything relative to my situation/what I want. Most of what I find is decks next to a house/pool.

I don't really want the deck higher than one step up... but I will go two steps up... so I guess 12" to 24" off the ground. (would 12" be right to go from the patio to the deck in one step?)

Can anyone direct me to a video, or offer some instructions?



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Old 02-21-2012, 10:21 AM   #2
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Hit the library, they will generally have a good selection of books on it. Or, the big stores (Lowes, Menards, HD) have a library of their own with good books on DIY.


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Old 02-21-2012, 10:44 AM   #3
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A single step should not be any higher than about 8", 12" is way too high for one step.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:46 AM   #4
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One thing to consider in your design - if the deck is going to go around this tree with tons of roots - it may be impossible to dig the holes for support posts with all the tree roots (both on the surface and below ground).
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:47 AM   #5
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For deck advice, I would listen to what these guys have to say.

Deck Experts
Even if you are on the right track, you will still get run over if you just sit there.

My 2-Story Addition Build in Progress Link ... My Garage Build Link and My Jeep Build Link
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:50 AM   #6
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You Tube has how to videos for everything.

The big stores have how to books.

Your local building permit department may have a "cheat sheet" direction guide for some deck requirements.

Put where you are at in your profile.

Maybe a pic of the area will help also.

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Old 02-21-2012, 11:23 AM   #7
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Very similar to my old house in Idaho. (And congrats on your first house! ) I'm a hardcore DIY'er as well, but unless you've built a deck before, I would recommend contracting out the framing part of it. Basically you take a design idea to a contractor, and they would come out, dig the holes for the supports, and build the framing that the deck plates would sit on, similar to your house. They've got all the stuff for leveling and straight lines and whatnot, and saves you a gob and a half of time. A lot of the time building a deck goes into cutting and laying down the top part, so it wouldn't be tremendously expensive for just the framing part of it. Plus, if you screw up the framing, everything else will be crooked/unstable/etc that you put on top.

With how you described your tree, you could incorporate your tree in your deck without too much trouble. As far as benches, that's the 'top' work that you would do, if a contractor did the frame work.

Also, you mentioned briefly the height of your deck - call your local building code guys to see about maximum heights and rails. There's a max height you can have and not have to install rails on your deck, which, IMHO, is nicer looking, and will make your deck flow more smoothly into your nice new backyard. Just an idea... I can throw up pics of mine if you'd like.
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:37 AM   #8
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I live in the Panhandle of FL, near Destin.

I don't have the best picture of the area I'm talking about, but I will get one soon.

I want to be able to step up onto the deck from the patio. I guess using one step before stepping onto the actual deck, as I want it raised off the ground some. I figured digging holes would be hard because of all the roots, any ideas on whether or not there are other options? I guess I'm hoping that there are enough roots, if I had to chop some smaller ones to dig holes and pour concrete, the tree would be ok... whereas the alternative is covering ALL the roots with soil and planting grass is supposedly NOT good for the tree. I mean... both aren't good for the tree, just hoping some holes would be the lesser of two evils. Maybe not. I'll definitely do some research on that.

Here's the best picture I have for the moment... any other opinions on what I could do will work also.

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Old 02-21-2012, 11:45 AM   #9
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Awesome info kerronelm, thanks!

I think I will find someone to do the bottom portion. Would love to see some pictures of your deck.

And thanks! I'm excited about my old little home. I left my husband, been staying at my mothers... which OMGoodness is not easy... while I looked and bought a home. It needs some work, but it's all "little" stuff, I think. Like tiling the kitchen/bath/utility room, changing out some toilets/fixtures.

It does need some seriously updating in the main bathroom... but I think I'll just have to live with the YELLOW tile covering the walls and the BLUE tub for a while. Not sure if I'm up for doing that myself. I thought about "painting" the tile... tried researching it. But wasn't sure if it was actually possible, without it looking like crap. Lol.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:13 PM   #10
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I am in my first home (10 months now) and have a large patio similar to that, that I am trying to consider options for s well. Be interested to see what you decide. My patio is not covered.

You were looking to extend the deck out from the patio? Or is this in place of patio? Just curious. I am a fairly novice, don't necessarily have suggestions, just interested observer.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:35 PM   #11
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I was thinking of extending the deck from the edge of the patio.

I went over there yesterday, but forgot to take pictures... Lol. I have a shed on one side of the tree, and the cement table on the other side (in the picture) with not much room to spare on either side.

I'm definitely going to have to work with a contractor of some sort to come help plan/build the lower half.


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