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Old 05-09-2009, 09:48 AM   #1
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floating deck, got some pointers?


i have read a stack of "how to" deck building books. but rarely is there any mention of techniques if your deck is fully floating, i.e. NOT attached to the house.

i am building floating style because:

i) my house does not have a rim joist, the house joists rest entirely on the 18" thick stone foundation

ii) my siding is board & batten which would cause me to put a ledger on OVER the siding which is not ideal.

iii) i like the look of my siding a lot and do not want to cut away portions of it to accommodate a ledger board

i am planning for two floating decks. one is small (front porch) measuring roughly 4x8 rectangle, the second is large and both are 4' above grade (tall foundation wall).

i live in cold climate and local building code requires 4' deep post holes.

i struggle to determine what is the best foundation option for me? post in hole, or pour in place footing + sonnotube with metal post holder?

or other?

Knucklez

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Old 05-09-2009, 12:01 PM   #2
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floating deck, got some pointers?


I am looking to build something similar for a friend of mine.

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Old 05-09-2009, 12:52 PM   #3
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floating deck, got some pointers?


We do floating docks like this around here.

Flotation devices under the wood dock, and rings mounted to the sides that ride up and down on piers as the water level rises and falls.

Of course the dock can just have holes cut into it to achieve the same function... just harder to work on that way if you need to repair anything.

(Oh, you said "deck"... Sorry..... couldn't resist. )
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Old 05-09-2009, 01:23 PM   #4
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floating deck, got some pointers?


Admittedly, this is very crude, and the scale is way off. But would an idea like this work? Can you drill into your stone foundation in an unseen location underneath, come out 6" or so, and then upward to support the deck just off the side of the house?
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Old 05-09-2009, 04:28 PM   #5
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floating deck, got some pointers?


ha.. yes, its a deck for a house. not a boat house.

i am not at all interested in drilling into stone. i just see that as not being a good idea. its stone, not cinder block, and its 18" thick.

the reason why decks are customarily attached to house is to add lateral stability and because you can share the house foundation support (much better than any pier for a deck).

well, i am more than willing to have more quantity of piers, or footings or footnis + rebar, or post in hole, 6x6 post in hole.. or whatever. i just need some good advice.

also, please let me know if you come across any books that specifically discuss floating decks.

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Old 05-09-2009, 04:46 PM   #6
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floating deck, got some pointers?


Just build a free standing deck immediately next to your house supported by individual piers. You can cantilever the beams 2' to get the piers away from the foundation. Use Sonotubes with a Simpson connector embedded in the concrete. Then attach the wood post to the connector. - No danger of leakage and rot/mold that is common with ledgers because they are rarely flashed and attached properly.

You might need some diagonal bracing that could be added later once you figure out if you want access under the 4' high deck for storage. - That will depend on the size and shape of the deck. If you use diagonal decking and run the wood post all the way up for handrail posts, you will a lot of rigidity.

Dick

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Old 05-10-2009, 12:59 AM   #7
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floating deck, got some pointers?


thx. that was exactly how i plan on building the deck, except i never thought about the diagonal bracing. i think this is a good idea to help compensate for the lack of house connection.

my research into deck building has led me to this conclusion: a deck needs a detailed plan, to the point where it should take you longer to create your deck plan than it does to actually construct the deck.

am i wrong?

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Old 05-10-2009, 09:03 AM   #8
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floating deck, got some pointers?


Skip the tubes and pour a couple frost walls. You could even do stone to match the house.
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:48 AM   #9
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floating deck, got some pointers?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklez View Post
thx. that was exactly how i plan on building the deck, except i never thought about the diagonal bracing. i think this is a good idea to help compensate for the lack of house connection.

my research into deck building has led me to this conclusion: a deck needs a detailed plan, to the point where it should take you longer to create your deck plan than it does to actually construct the deck.

am i wrong?

Knucklez
knucklez....for those that dont have experience in the building trades, drawing a plan for a deck can be difficult. Almost any good deck building book from Hombre Depot should have at least a couple good plans for free standing decks. You just have to adapt it to your specific application.
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Old 05-10-2009, 03:54 PM   #10
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floating deck, got some pointers?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklez View Post
thx. that was exactly how i plan on building the deck, except i never thought about the diagonal bracing. i think this is a good idea to help compensate for the lack of house connection.

my research into deck building has led me to this conclusion: a deck needs a detailed plan, to the point where it should take you longer to create your deck plan than it does to actually construct the deck.

am i wrong?
Knucklez
I sure hope not. Maybe three to four hours, tops, for a mildly complex deck. It would take that long just to dig the pads, and pour them.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:26 PM   #11
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floating deck, got some pointers?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklez View Post
i live in cold climate and local building code requires 4' deep post holes.

Knucklez
Even on a deck not attached to the house?
I was under the impression this was only required on attached structures
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:09 AM   #12
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floating deck, got some pointers?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklez View Post
my research into deck building has led me to this conclusion: a deck needs a detailed plan, to the point where it should take you longer to create your deck plan than it does to actually construct the deck.
Knucklez
I can say that I helped some good friends build a backyard deck using Dek-Bloks (Ft Worth, TX). I found that using a free 2-D CAD program (QCAD) helped me immensely. I think that the time taken to carefully (CAREFULLY) design and draw a structure will reveal possible design flaws and gotchas that may not appear, even on a hand-drawn design.

I just had to learn (the hard way, as I usually learn things) that wood and earth do not conform to a perfect, mathematically-precise, orthogonal world.

Good luck with your project, you're seeking advice and researching, always a good idea for anything.

--Kerry
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:14 AM   #13
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floating deck, got some pointers?


Yer supposed to make a plan?
I just measured out from the house, figured where I wanted the support posts & started digging

Of course it was "only" an 8' wide wraparound deck
But it's overbuilt
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:32 AM   #14
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floating deck, got some pointers?


Somebody posted a link to free Deck Design Software. I can't find that thread anymore, but I think it was through bob villa's or This old House's website. (I could be wrong about that.)

I tinkered with it and it was great for materials and such. I just don't know what it provided on the structural side of things.
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Old 05-14-2009, 10:30 AM   #15
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floating deck, got some pointers?


I built a floating deck for my above ground pool using Dek blocks. They have complete, free plans on their site for any size, shape deck. The deck for my pool came out fantastic and it is what I would do for your deck. Here is the website:

http://www.deckplans.com/

Kevin

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