FREE Deck Plan
A free deck plan is only as good as the information it gives you... and we intend to 'spill the beans' to help you build the right deck for your home and lifestyle...
We have prepared numerous illustrations along with descriptions to help explain how to measure for and build a ground level deck to suit your home.
Once you understand the basics of deck building as explained here...
it will help you to be able to go on to design and build your own deck construction with the help of our...
Basic "Low Profile" - "Attached Ground Level Deck"
free deck plan - for a "Corner-Post Deck",
A Corner Post Deck is probably the easiest method to actually build and is great starting point for your first deck, the experience that this build will give you
will be invaluable should you decide to expand your deck later to incorporate decking around a hot tub or decking around your swimming pool.
The important elements in successful deck building are...
- careful and precise measurements
- solid footings
- good connection hardware like anchors and joist hangers
- quality pre-treated timber or a good redwood like Deck Heart or cedar which are decay resistant
- and galvanized - corrosion resistant screws and washers
Your own deck planning will start with measurements of the drop from the bottom of your homes access doors to the ground, this will help you determine how high or how
low you need to build and what type of deck footings will be suitable for your deck foundations.
You need to allow for a step down onto your deck of at least 1" to 2" to make sure that your deck is below the level of your ground floor so that any rain water doesn't flood off your deck into your home.
Always measure the diagonals of a deck subframe - footing to footing - to make sure that everything is square before the cement sets.
Basically, a deck is build up in layers - so to help us calculate which foundation building method will suit your home lets start from the bottom of your door and
- door step to deck - min. 1" - 2" below indoor floor level
- decking boards - 2" x 6" lumber
- joists and beams - 2" x 8" 's
- deck posts if applicable - 10" + height
- concrete footings - 2" - 3" above ground
In our example of timber sizes used - adding up the high-lighted numbers gives us a total of 24" from ground level to the bottom of your door - if you have this space or more you will be able to use the
appropriate height of deck posts to position your deck surface at a 1" to 2" step down from your back door.
If you don't have a 24" drop to spare then try subtracting the 10" for the deck posts which will mean building directly onto your concrete footings - for this method you will need at least a minimum 14" drop from door to ground.
How Long or How Deep
The next thing to establish is how big you want your deck to be - how wide and how deep would give you the space you want while still being suitable to the size of
Check for Utility
Once you have measured out a suitable size and postion and marked the edges (with stakes or colored spray) it's time to find out if there are any underground utilities
like pipes or cables running along the proposed area you are going to work on.
This is a vital point that you can't afford to miss out for your own safety and for the added expense - repairs to these utilities can be costly.
Check Deck Permit
It is also important - before you purchase materials and start your deck construction - to check with your local building office for deck permit requirements in your
particular area. Rules and regulations differ from state to state and from country to country.
The determined soil frost level will depend on your area, acceptable methods and sizes for constucting footings also change depending on where you live, some states have particular rules for attaching beams...
The important thing to remember is that you are in the perfect position to make full use of the knowledge available at your local planning office regarding methods and techniques suitable to your soil and climate.
Also - if you follow the rules right from the start - you are more likely to end up with a certifiable deck that will actually add value to your home (instead of an uncompliant structure that you may be forced to take down!)
When you get the green light for go - it's time to have a closer look at some basic free deck plans...
FREE DECK PLAN 1
Please Remember - Safety First
Deck construction requires the use of wood cutting machinery and tools, please take adequate precautions at all times for your safety and those around you during the build.
Some preservatives in pressure treated timber may cause irritations when you actually work with the wood and we recommend the use of eye and face masks and wearing of gloves at all times during construction.
This is a simple free deck plan which stretches along the wall of the back of your home, it immediately means that you will have an inviting, dry outdoor area to expand your living space onto instead of stepping down onto soil or grass.
This free deck plan shown is not very deep - the size may depend on the length of timber available in your area - you may find a 8' x 12' deck too narrow and prefer to opt for a larger 10' x 14'.
(of course you can extend your free deck plan along the wall of your home by including more footings as necessary every 6' or so, - a long deck that is too narrow will end up looking more like a porch! - which isn't a bad thing either!.)
Extending out to create a deeper deck design will mean adding more mid-way concrete footings to support the extra span the joists and decking boards have to cover.
FREE DECK PLAN 2
If you are aiming for more of a square deck structure then take a look at our free deck plan 2 as above.
- you will see that the main difference with this free deck plan is that we have included a 'mid-beam' which rests on 3 additional cement footings - exactly in line with the position of the 3 outer footings.
This means that you can build a much deeper deck with the mid footings and beam giving the required support for the deeper span.
It also gives you the option of using a single mid beam if your decking lumber is long enough to span from ledger to outer beam or to instal a double mid beam so
that you can lay half length lumber - one abutted to the next and both secured at the center beam.
A Closer Look
It's all in the details... so let's take a closer look at how these two similar free deck plans are constructed, in the next illustration - showing free deck plan detials - you can clearly see the decking hardware used for different timber connection joins.
- First, at the top right - the Joist Hangers are placed on both the ledger and the outer beam and allow you to easily insert your joists and screw them into position. (Of course it is important to measure and carefully place each joist hanger directly opposite it's counterpart to keep them in line)
- Top left shows the metal connector used to secure the end joist to the ledger
- Bottom left shows a close-up of the footing and anchor hardware method used when connecting a beam directly onto concrete footings.
- Bottom right is very important in showing that we have used two beams screwed together giving added strength to the and beam - but also - because the inner beam is shorter than the outer it allows the "Outer" (or Rim) joists to fit neatly into the two edge beams for a well built corner.
Now for Our TOP TIPS
TOP TIP 1 - Stopping Growth beneath your Deck
Before you build - remove all foilage from the area designated for your deck and lay a sheet of landscaping material to help prevent re-growth of grass or plants, cover this with small stones to weigh it down and to allow for water drainage.
TOP TIP 2 - Blocking / Noggins
Each Joist is positioned only 16" apart to provide a strong and stable base to place your decking boards on, you could also add more strength by adding what they call 'blocking' or noggins - mid way between each joist.
- in this case it will be a 16" piece of wood screwed in to snugly fill the space and will connect the joists - this really
does add additional strength and stability to the base structure of your deck design.
You can also apply blocking as an extra to certain areas where you know you are going to permanently place something heavy on top of your decking - like a big planter.
TOP TIP 3 - Sealing the Ends
Brush on a good wood Sealer-perservative on all ends of wood - whether you have cut them to size or not.
TOP TIP 4 - Laying Decking
Leave a small, uniform gap between each board to allow for water drainage and for the expansion and retraction of wood which occurs due to climate changes.
The Result of our Free Deck Plan
Lets leap ahead and take a look at what all your careful measurements and effort will get you...
A deck built onto the back of your house can often change the way you use your home by providing outdoor living space that really connects your home and garden.
It can be a great place for outdoor BBQ's to entertain friends and family and a wonderful outdoor space in which to relax, add a sun lounger and enjoy the sun, sit and enjoy your garden or read a good book.
If the weather is heating up where you live carefully consider the usefulness and benefits that you and your family could enjoy if you dedicate a little time now and take advantage of our free deck plan to help you enhance your home.
Related Deck Design Topics
A free deck plan is only as good as your understanding of the different stages and building methods for the under construction - you can read articles here on deck ledger installation, different beam methods, find out how to dig post holes, why you should 'clean' the wood of a brand new deck before staining - and more...
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