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Old 09-10-2011, 03:02 PM   #1
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Low Desk Design Advice


We just built a small addition on to our home and there's a natural nook that I'd like to use for a deck instead of stairs to the entry door. The hitch is that due to the entry door height the "natural" deck height would be only 12" above grade. I could get up to 17" of clearance with some effort (including some excavation and demo of existing siding).

Here's a sketch of what I'd like to accomplish (dotted line indicates transition from deck surface to a continuous single step down to grade:


I don't think it's possible to go as low as 12" with beams, so I'd have to run a continuous footer and effectively extend my foundation. Alternatively I could excavate a few inches and use 3 2x6s and 2x8 joists. Feedback?

I know some people would solve this by building steps and a patio, but we really prefer a deck.

Thanks,
Matt

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Old 09-12-2011, 08:32 PM   #2
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Low Desk Design Advice


last year i built a 4' high deck and this year i built a low deck. there was a big difference i found when building a low deck is that there are no 4x4 posts between the wooden deck and the concrete pier. with no posts then your metal bracket in the concrete has to be PERFECT height with respect to the other concrete piers under the same beam. with a high deck you just cut the 4x4 to length, no big deal if one is a bit longer than the other because of different amount of concrete fill. .. but a low deck.. has to be perfect.

so i nailed my 3 metal brackets to my 10' long beam and droppped it into 3 concrete filled sonotubes in one go. i held the beam up with wooden stakes while concrete dried. perfect height, bottom of beam sits about 1" off grade. with this method my deck floor is ~12" off grade. i also painted on some thompson waterproofing. under the deck i removed the top soil 2", layed down some weed block net, crushed stone & river rock.

Knucklez

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Old 09-29-2011, 11:59 AM   #3
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Low Desk Design Advice


That is great advice about getting the height of the piers right-- thanks! I can totally see myself getting burned, only worrying about the x-y dimensions of the piers and being off 1/2" or more on z....

Question about your assembly height. How did you get to 12"? Are your beams literally on the rock you laid and both your beams and joists 2x6s? That's the only way I can see to get to 12".

I think I'd want at least an inch, better two, below my beam. It'll be treated, of course, since it will be in more-or-less direct contact with the concrete piers, but allowing wood to contact the ground, even if it's rock, here in termite-prone Florida, just gives me the willies....

Matt
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Old 09-29-2011, 12:50 PM   #4
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Low Desk Design Advice


One issue with structures in the front of the house is that there are sometimes restrictions. I'd check that out before you start buying lumber.
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Old 09-29-2011, 12:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
One issue with structures in the front of the house is that there are sometimes restrictions. I'd check that out before you start buying lumber.
Yup, thanks. The addition was permitted and this deck is actually a required part of the structure since it will act as stairs (two treads) to an entry door. I had originally planned a concrete step, but am changing it for aesthetic reasons. Any plan will have to go back to the city for their signoff. Luckily, they're very DIY friendly.

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