Freestanding deck plans

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Old 03-28-05, 06:50 AM
Jst
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Question Freestanding deck plans

I found plans for a freestanding deck at this site:

www.douglaslumber.com/DeckGuide.pdf#search='freestanding%20deck%20douglas%20lumber'


It is rather unconventional in that the joists also serve as the beams (sort of). Has anyone built anything like this. I'm considering using these plans but would like to hear what others think about them first. The free-standing part starts on page 11 of this PDF file.

Thanks, Jst
 
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Old 03-29-05, 04:37 AM
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The only reason that the girders (beams) were eliminated in their free-standing plan was due to the deck being so close to the ground. If your plan is to have your's be very low, then the plan is fine. But if you plan on your deck being more than 1' or 1-1/2' high, then don't use that plan. See their plans above for the attached deck and follow it, except you'll have a girder within 2' of the house and no ledger (and all of the stuff related to the ledger, like bolts, flashing, etc.)

And if you are building on a slope, where part of the deck will be very low, then their free-standing plan will work fine in that area. But as soon as you get enough room under the deck, then change to the type of construction that they show for the attached deck. The reason is that you want and need the cross-bracing once the deck height allows room for it.

Tell us more about your plan and your lot and we'll go from there.
 
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Old 03-29-05, 01:24 PM
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I plan to build a 18 x 12.5 foot deck. The decking will be about 3-4 feet off the ground (there is a small slope away from the house). The 12.5' end will adjoin the house and 7' of the 18' end will adjoin the attached garage ( it will sit in corner--see bad drawing). Without conventional girders, couldn't crossbracing still be done on just the posts? Thanks.


12.5'
___________house/garage_______________________________
| |
| |
| |
| deck |7'
18' | |
| |
| |____
| |
 
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Old 03-29-05, 01:38 PM
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Ok, forget the drawing. The margins must have gotten screwed up.
 
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Old 03-29-05, 01:57 PM
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Jst,

The weakness of a low deck that doubles every other joist and attaches the posts to those joists (without a girder) is the joists that are single, with nothing keeping thm in place except for the screws or nails that are holding the deck boards in place. The deck looks good when it's new, but after a few years, those single joists are going to twist and warp and bow. When that happens, you'll have nail or screw pops, or the joists will either pull away from the deck boards or bow up and raise the deck boards. Having the girder under ALL of the joists not only provides one extra member that the joist is trying to move, but it gives you one more place to secure the joist to the framing. Both of those things work together to prevent the joist from moving.

Building the deck yourself (all 225 sq. ft. of it), you will be spending a chunk of change on the material. ($2500 to $3500, depending on what you are using for decking, where and when you by the framing lumber, etc.) What you will spend on the girders is less than the extra joists and extra footings will cost -- using the girders will cost less than the method you are considering -- AND your deck will look better longer, and last longer. Low level decks are more expensive to build, and that's why. Girders allow you to spread the distance between the footing, so you'll need about 1/2 as many footings.

If I were building your deck, I would charge between $18 and $25 / sq. ft., plus railings, depending on what you selected for the decking and how you wanted it attached. That would be with the joists and girders. If you asked me to eliminate the girders and use the method you are talking about, the cost would go up $6 to $8 / sq. ft., just because of the extra labor and mat'l involved.
 
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Old 03-29-05, 06:27 PM
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Thanks for the input Lefty.

I had originally planned to use girders, but when I found this plan, I thought it would be easier. So, if I used 2x8 joists what would be an appropriate girder? 2x8 or 2x10? The girders would be perpendicular to the house and 18' long. Would 3 posts be enough? 4x4 or 6x6? BTW footings need to be 42" deep here.

Any more ideas would be great.

Thanks again,
Jst
 
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