Building a Ground Level Deck

A deck is a wonderful addition to any home. It can be used in a variety of ways including dining, entertaining or just relaxing. Some people even conduct business on their decks, bringing laptops or cell phones outside to handle business related tasks. Fortunately, building a ground level deck is not incredibly difficult and does not even have to be very expensive.

This article will provide some basic instructions for building a ground level deck but those who are really interested in pursuing this option should spend some time researching their options to ensure the deck they build suits their needs.

The Basics of Building a Ground Level Deck

Building a ground level deck really can be a do-it-yourself project for the ambitious homeowner who is interested in creating an outdoor living space he can enjoy year round. The following are the basic steps of constructing a ground level deck and they can be modified according to the homeowner's needs:

    - Use batterboards and mason string lines to layout the locations of the footings. The size, location and layout of the footings will vary based on the size and design of your deck.
    - Dig the holes for the footings. Footings should be at least 12 inches deep.
    - Mix ready-mix concrete and poor the footings.
    - Attach anchors for 4x4 posts to the footings after the concrete has cured for 48 hours.
    - Attach side by side 2x6s to the anchors to form the beams of the deck
    - Attach 2x6 joists to the ends of the beams.
    - Use joist hangers to install 2x6 inner joists. The spacing of the joists will depend on the size and design of your deck.
    - Install 2x6 decking perpendicular to the joists by using deck screws to secure the decking to the joists.

The steps listed above are only the most basic steps for building a ground level deck. These basic steps can be modified to create decks of different sizes, shapes or designs.

Hiring a Contractor

Although the process of building a ground level deck isn't extremely difficult, there are times when it simply makes sense to hire a contractor rather than attempting to do the work yourself. When deciding to hire a contractor you should follow a few simple precautions. Following the precautions listed below will help to ensure the contractor you hire is reputable and capable of completing the job.

    - Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for information on potential contractors. This will give you a good idea of how reputable the company is. A company with many unresolved complaints should be avoided.
    - Ask for references. Contact these references and ask if it is possible to see the work performed by the contractor. Verifying the references is a good idea but it is also important the contractor is likely to only supply references he is confident will endorse his work.
    - Compare prices carefully. When comparing prices, it is important to make sure everything is equal when comparing the prices. For example if one proposal includes the cost of materials and the other requires you to purchase materials on your own, you should keep this in mind when comparing the prices and factor the amount of materials into the bid that does not include materials and then compare the two.
    - Create a contract. Once you select a contractor, be sure to get a detailed contract specifying the exact project details.

See Also:

Composite Wood Decking