How high does a deck have to be off the ground?


Old 09-10-00, 12:49 AM
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I just bought a new house and the builder says the drop off from the sliding glass door in the back will be anywhere from 2" to 5". I'm considering putting a composite deck in, but I don't want to have to step up to the deck. It would be nice if the deck was even with the floor in the house.

Is there any way I can keep it even with only a 2" to 5" drop?
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Old 09-10-00, 02:14 AM
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You need a bit of slope away from the base of your house for drainage. You can build a deck flat on the ground at floor level, if you use pressure-treated wood with a ground-contact treatment level (.60 or higher, which means .6-lb of CCA per cubic ft. of wood. It should be stamped on the lumber, and also look for the American Wood Preservers Bureau - AWPB - logo for quality assurance. There are some dippers-and-shippers in that business. Just because it's green, doesn't mean that it is treated properly).
You can lay 1.5" thick 2X4 or 2X6 (16" centers) p-t runners on the ground perpendicular to your home (for drainage), leveled on the outer edge by shimming underneath with p-t. You can use 5/4 or 2X6-8" boards for decking. If you live in a humid area, allow a #16 nail space between deck boards for drainage.
You don't need to anchor it. The weight of the deck will hold it in place. Good Luck! Edit: I just noted after posting reply that you are thinking of composite decking. That will work, too, of course.

[This message has been edited by OldGuy (edited September 10, 2000).]
Old 09-10-00, 11:12 AM
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I always prefer to not have any wood in direct contact with the ground.

You might consider excavating down and installing drain tile and gravel under the deck area only as high as it needs for drainage.

Build your deck to the height that you want and not have it conatct the ground anywhere. The deck boards can almost touch the bottom of your sliding door sill.

As for composite decking - some of them have drainage built into them and do not require any gapping.

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Old 09-11-00, 10:08 PM
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So what does the builder have in mind to put in out of this slider? A concrete patio? Nothing? Stepping down 2" to 5" onto bare dirt (mud in the winter) doesn't sound too appealing to me.
Old 09-12-00, 02:58 AM
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Here is a twist to your problem, and maybe a solution. Check with your local fire marshall. All fire and insurance codes, say that in front all doors must be a cetain area
on concrete or other certain materials.
Your height is so low, you may be required to use concrete. If you have 6" and up, decks are ok. They may require that you install what is called a pallet deck. They are similar to a palet, hence the name. Check with them as they will control what kind you have. Composite decks are very slippery when wet.

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