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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone - I'm in the process of planning a new 12 x 32 foot in the corner of our "L-shaped" ranch style home.

The land that I'm building the deck over is recessed by about 18 inches and the door that I want the deck built level too is about 23 inches from the ground. Due to the fact that the ground is recessed and the deck will essentially be level to the ground, one step down, how much do I need to worry about cross ventilation? There won't be much due to the layout of our property as I mentioned as the joists will essentially be level with the ground. I am using pre-treated lumber so I know it's not as much of a concern as if I was using composite, I was thinking that I could leave some of the corners open and lattice it 'closed', but I also have 3 children under 5 that I would worry about.

Also - for anyone in MA, I'm reading through the code book and don't see a lot of information on the floating foundation system that I'm planning on using. A lot of the documentation discussess anchoring the deck to the primary structure, but I'm not planning on doing that. It does say that if, during inspection the structure can't be verified that it needs to be self-supportive, but that is about it.

Also - does the code require that the ground be clean under a deck? I see it is required if the lumber is directly on the ground (which I'm not doing), so I just wanted to confirm. I don't want any surprises during the inspection!

Thanks in advance for all your help!

Keith
 

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Civil Engineer
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I agree, you don't want any surprises during the inspection. So I suggest you visit the local code official well before you start the project with a plan and some photos showing the location, and a list of specific questions. The code official should be more than happy to discuss requirements and options with you.
 

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Not really thinking there'd be too much problem with venelation. But I do think it is a shame to put a deck at ground level when you have the opportunity to design an attractive milti-level, or at least, stepped, deck. The interconnecting relationships of the rails, alone, can be an art form. And curved, full width steps... think about it. Elevated or opposingly sunken focal points and designated areas for the hot tub, fire pit, barbque, or just conversation benches are considerations not to be overlooked when you have a chance to incorporate some of them.

We're dead, level flat here in Florida. And all I can do is build up from the ground. You're always climbing to some part of the deck from the house exit. I'd give my dog for an elevated home................... Well...... my wife, anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I like what you are saying and it has made me think, but I've attached an old picture showing the area I'm talking about. If you look closely, from the end of the sidewalk to our front door, that area is briefly recessed due to the basement contruction that was added onto the house about 30 years ago. That is where I'm looking to build the deck. It currently isn't utilized since it's a relatively small area. My thoughts were that building a deck there would allow us to utilize the space much more than we currently do - also the increased value to the home played into my thinking. :)

Either way, I don't think there is too much we could do here, as far as a multi-level build is concerned although I guess we could have a lower level down on the right half, but that would pretty much be flat to the ground and would have no ventilation. Thoughts?
 

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You could do a smaller deck on the left, then step down to a patio
on the right.
Any problems with water flow due to the recessed area?
Is so it shoudl be regraded before the deck goes down
Cement slab or do you have a basement?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No water issues at all.

Yes, full basement - finished on right and unfinished on left.

What would the benefit be of a patio vs. a deck? I am partial to having a full deck, but am curious as to why you'd recommend splitting the two.
 

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Check your local Building Department. I would use 2x8 which span 12',on hangers off of beams at the ends instead of under. That way you'd only be down 9" or so, from the door. Be safe, G
 

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No water issues at all.

Yes, full basement - finished on right and unfinished on left.

What would the benefit be of a patio vs. a deck? I am partial to having a full deck, but am curious as to why you'd recommend splitting the two.
Just an option
You are in a snow area - like me
So you should be stepping down 1 step to get out onto the deck
That will help prevent snow from piling up against the dsoor & melting & leaking into the house. Of course it won't help in the 18" storms we had this past winter. But it does help it from piling up, especially since this will be in a corner
Both of my decks step down 6-8"
 

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Any problems with water flow due to the recessed area?
Is so it shoudl be regraded before the deck goes down
Nice yard Kestu,

I agree with Dave. From the photo, it looks like the sidewalk and a portion of the yard all slope towards that recessed area by the house. My uneducated opinion is that it is just a matter of time before you have a water issue in the basement.

Since you will be building a deck anyway, this would be a good time to ensure the proper drainage away from the house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Dave - it must be the angle from which the picture was taken, the driveway/sidewalk are all slanted away from the house. We are also up a slight hill as well, so we haven't had any issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just an option
You are in a snow area - like me
So you should be stepping down 1 step to get out onto the deck
That will help prevent snow from piling up against the dsoor & melting & leaking into the house. Of course it won't help in the 18" storms we had this past winter. But it does help it from piling up, especially since this will be in a corner
Both of my decks step down 6-8"
Missed this response previously.

Thanks for the feedback - I hadn't thought about that. That is actually how it is setup now in the small little 'deck' we have now - I had thought building up would look better, but that is a good point. Thanks. :thumbup:
 

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Old School
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Something like this.........

I left a lot of the railings out so you could see more.

Use the <PAGE> feature on the toolbar to ZOOM this up to 200% for a bigger picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Willie - that's great thanks. But I think I would need to step down out of the front door due to the feedback I got from Dave (due to the amount of snowfall we get).

I've also debated wrapping the deck around the side of the house on the right as well - the recessed land is about 7 feet wide, so I was debating wrapping it around, back another 20 feet or so, but that might be overkill??

Very cool though - thanks for the comments, definitely gives me some good ideas.
 

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SketchUp About 15 - 20 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That's great - I really appreciate the time you put into that. Now I'm getting greedy, but a pool would go great next to a deck right there. :)

I just need to convince the wife!
 

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That's great - I really appreciate the time you put into that. Now I'm getting greedy, but a pool would go great next to a deck right there. :)

I just need to convince the wife!
It's no problem. I get bored if I have nothing to do, and it's been raining for a week here. Besides I kind of like to draw.

But mainly, I just hate to see people begin expensive projects without exploring as many possibilities as they possibly can.
 

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Bottom step footing on ouside deck, MA code

In reading some of the posts about MA building codes on outside decks some of you mention you have a copy of the MA building code for your new deck project and I wondered if it mentions anything about the surface the bottom step of deck stairs rest on?
I got a building permit from my town, had the footings inspected before construction and now I need to finish the stairs to complete the project but I have heard conflicting stories about the surface the bottom step contacts, I was planning on it just resting on my new driveway, 4" of fresh asphalt.
Can you shed any light on this subject?
Thanks
 
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