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How to Build Floating Decks

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Materials Needed to Build Floating Decks
Floating deck picture

Picture: free-standing structures, floating decks are easier for beginners to build than are decks attached to buildings.

David Beaulieu

"Floating decks" are so called because, rather than being attached to a building as are standard decks, they're just "floating" free out there, all on their own. Not only are they easier to build than standard decks, but they're also less scary to build for DIY'ers. Here's what I mean:

When you attach a deck to a building, you need to gain access to solid wood. This requires removing the siding of your house in that area (i.e., if your house is covered with clapboard, vinyl siding, aluminum siding, or beveled wood). For the non-carpenter, removing your house’s siding is a pretty scary proposition. Let’s face it: Most of us take a “Leave well enough alone!” attitude towards our houses. We don’t want to screw up anything….

Enter floating decks, which, as independent structures, obviate any need to mess with your home's siding.

Tools and Supplies to Build Floating Decks

  • Concrete deck blocks
  • Circular saw
  • Carpenter's square
  • Carpenter's level
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Exterior Screws
  • Extension cord
  • Chalk line
  • Mini-mattock or other small digging tool
  • Scissor jack (optional)

Pressure-Treated Lumber to Build a Small Floating Deck

  • 10 2x4s 8 feet long
  • 2 2x4s 10 feet long
  • 18 decking boards 10 feet long, 5/4" thick, 5.5" wide
  • Scrap lumber for shims, guides, etc.

Before you buy any materials for the floating deck, however, I suggest you draw up a simple plan for it, which I discuss in Step 3.

In addition to being a floating deck, the sample structure on which this tutorial is based is a relatively easy type to build for two additional reasons: it is small, and it stays close to the ground. The setting and prep work for this floating deck are further discussed in Step 2....

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