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eemichael83 05-13-2010 02:50 PM

Deck Addition - Floating to Attached Foundation
I purchased my first home about 2.5 yrs ago and it came with a small attached deck. It was only 12'x10' and was not big enough to really enjoy and make use of. For reference, the deck is about 6' off the ground.

Here is what the deck looked like before starting the project:

Pretty pitiful, I know. At this point, I didnt even really enjoy the back yard much. I really wanted to make a nice outdoor living scene and be able to grill and eat out there. Something that would at least support a 4' table with 4 chairs so that if I had family or friends over, we could relax and enjoy the great outdoors.

So... I set out to do just that. The first thing I needed to do, was decide on a cost effective way of building this addition and decide on a layout. I was pretty sure that I wanted a 2 tiered deck since going out further away from the house would result in a pretty tall deck and my preference is lower to the ground anyway. I originally planned to make the addition attached with another stringer on the house. This would have involved digging SEVERAL 2' x 12" holes and pouring footings to reach below the frost line. Doing this improperly could have risked damaging not only the old deck, but the house as well.

I was all prepared to do this and I was at Lowe's pricing up materials when I ran across these 'Dek-Block' concrete piers. They are simply pre-formed concrete blocks that are shaped to hold 2x#'s and 4x4" posts. They are used in a floating foundation rather than attached. After seeing these, I went back home and did a little reading from those that have used these before to see how they hold up and if there are any problems. Everything I had read seemed great about them and on top of that, it would eliminate any risk associated with potential damage from frost and a shifting deck. It was also going to reduce the cost and labor significantly and the time required to complete the job. The only drawback was that the concrete piers would likely be visible under the deck. I was ok with this since I was planning to landscape around the deck to hide what was beneath anyway.

So it was back to the drawing board to lay out my deck with the floating foundation. I made a list of materials and it was off to Lowe's I went.

eemichael83 05-13-2010 03:05 PM

I had picked up the materials along with some Thompsons Water Seal. Before I started on the addition, I wanted to be sure to clean up the greyish weathering on the old deck and seal it up good. I used the 'Honey Gold' sealer to give it a slight tint. To clean the deck, I used my pressure washer, which took quite a bit longer than I thought it would.

Here is a before and after with the deck cleaned and the sealer applied. If you are wondering, the pin-wheels were put there to keep the birds from crapping on the deck while I let the sealer set. :laughing:



eemichael83 05-13-2010 03:36 PM

Now it was time to start the project. The joists are all 2x6x16'... which makes 16'x16'3" outside edges of the new addition. Plenty big for a table and chairs :)

So on to the pics:

The foreman making sure I'm doing everything right:

Since I was using 2x6 decking, the plans allowed for up to 30" on center for the joists. I chose to go with 24" instead. Two steps were removed from the original deck to accommodate the new addition. The joists rest on the piers a good inch or more above the step stringers and is in no way attached to the old deck. At this point, I had also sprayed the entire area under the deck with Round Up:

Here I've begun putting down the decking. I've also cut away the post at the bottom of the steps and put in a temporary post to hold the railing up.

New deck floating above the old step stringers:

eemichael83 05-13-2010 03:42 PM

After finishing the deck, it was time to build steps:

Almost done, but not quite yet... still have to do some landscaping!

Once the boxwoods and the double knock-out rose bush fill in, you will not be able to see the piers:

eemichael83 05-13-2010 03:49 PM

And now the addition of some outdoor furniture and some other items to make the experience more enjoyable :)

New wicker outdoor furniture:

Fountain on top tier. I installed a water tight outlet under the deck to conceal the wires:

Tiki torches and some solar lighting on each side of the steps:

And as a reminder... the before pic lol:

tpolk 05-13-2010 04:20 PM

:thumbsup: nice, are those pre fab stair stringers> is that why one is flush to the deck?

eemichael83 05-13-2010 04:28 PM


Originally Posted by tpolk (Post 441535)
:thumbsup: nice, are those pre fab stair stringers> is that why one is flush to the deck?

Thank you! Yes they are all 3 step stringers that are precut at Lowes or HD. I was going to make the other set of steps flush to the deck too to give me an extra foot but realized it might look funny with the decking going in the other direction (perpendicular).

Jim F 05-13-2010 06:00 PM

I can see where the old deck up high and fenced around would make you feel boxed in. There should be minimal ground heaving consitering the floaters are mostly covered by the deck but I would leave myself access to occasionally jack and relevel if necessary. In other words, don't let your shrubbery get so full, you can't access the piers. Othere than that, it looks good. You gotta love it when a plan comes together.

cocobolo 05-22-2010 09:53 PM

That's a nice deck addition you have there...but you cheated and posted them all on the same day! You must really work fast!:no:

I spent many a year building decks in the summertime, and one thing which finishes off those low decks (love 'em!) is a small built in bench at the outside corners. Gives it a more finished look as well as providing seating for extra visitors.:yes:

Another thing we used to add - in moderation - was lattice work. I see that yours under the top deck is @ 45, and that you have the 2 x 2 spindles vertically, obviously...

Sometimes we would combine lattice and short benches if it was appropriate. A little imagination there goes a long way.

I have just done a 10 x 12 woodshed which is now almost completely filled with 3 cords of wood (read heavy!) and it sits on those same dek blocks which you have used. I think they are great. Before I sat the blocks on the ground, I used a tamper to pound the ground down really hard so that any settling would be minimal.

I think your loading there will be extremely light, so I doubt that your blocks will move much at all.

Good job...looks nice!:thumbsup:

eemichael83 05-23-2010 12:28 AM

Thank you and yes I work very quickly! I actually had stumbled onto this site after I had completed the project. I completed it no more than a few weeks ago though so its still fresh :)

As far as your bench idea, I mainly wanted to leave the area open because I had been 'closed in' so much by the original deck. There is one section where I wished I HAD built in the bench like you mentioned, and that is on the end that wraps around the long end of the original deck... that would have been nice. Oh well... as they say, hindsight is 20/20! Thanks for the feedback.

Gary in WA 05-24-2010 06:58 PM

Nice job. Just a word of caution to others contemplating deck building- get a permit if required. The guild-lines for decks are for safety reasons. Having all the risers equal height in a run of stairs, installing a graspable handrail, cantilever cross joists for an end un-supported joist, using closed risers unless opening height is less than 4,
Safety glazing of any windows within 36 of any landing (36) at the top or bottom of a stair run, up to 60 high:

The 2006 Deck Guild:

Enjoy the new space!

Be safe, Gary

cocobolo 06-12-2010 12:26 AM

Gary: I don't know if you have the same code in the states as we do here, but anything 3 steps or higher from the ground is supposed to have some sort of railing.

What are your regulations on that?

Gary in WA 06-12-2010 01:34 PM

In the Deck Guide I listed, page 18, fig.30------- 30" or more--- required.

Be safe, Gary

eemichael83 06-12-2010 02:13 PM


Originally Posted by GBR in WA (Post 455171)
In the Deck Guide I listed, page 18, fig.30------- 30" or more--- required.

Be safe, Gary

Yup :) Mine is 28" at the highest corner.

cocobolo 06-12-2010 09:02 PM

Thank you very much Gary...then everybody is happy!

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