Planning a deck, trying to get my ducks in a row...

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Old 06-25-17, 05:35 PM
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Planning a deck, trying to get my ducks in a row...

Over the last year, we put new siding over the whole house, and when we did so, we pulled off a death trap of a deck that had done a real number on the side of the house it was attached to. The deck is still standing there a foot from the house with some temporary posts (we live in a split foyer style house) because if our fridge/stove/*insert appliance here* goes out, the only door that anything of that size will go in/out of is the one that goes to the deck--otherwise I'd have hauled that sucker off months ago--that thing terrifies me.

Anyway, I'm interested in building a new deck and I'm trying to design it, but have a few questions.
  1. Can the deck be freestanding (this would be our preference)? Or does it have to attach to the house? (Remember, it's a split foyer style home, so the deck is ~5' above the ground.)
  2. I would like to use composite decking, but don't want something that will burn our feet, be a pain to clean, and slippery (color preference is white or light "oak"). Any brand suggestions?
  3. I was hoping to put gravel under the deck and something to keep the majority of the water out to use as extra storage for garden hoses and the like. Was thinking skylight roofing like they use on tin sheds on the underside of the deck joists. Though maybe it won't get too wet under there anyway and I wouldn't need anything at all for non-precious stuff like hoses, kid toys, and empty coolers...? Thoughts?
  4. I'd also like some sort of sun shade for the top of the deck. The As Seen On TV "retractable awnings" are hideous, but something like that would be perfect if they aren't mega $$$.
  5. Lastly, where do I find the codes for my specific area? Everyone says "follow local codes", but where do I find that information?
 
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Old 06-25-17, 05:48 PM
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Here are your codes to live by - http://www.awc.org/pdf/codes-standar...Guide-1405.pdf

Secondly, yes, a free standing deck is possible although the footers would have to be at the same depth as the footers for your house to reach undisturbed soil.

Composite decking requires 12" on center joist, so take that under advisement. While semi-maintenance free, you will still have to power wash from time to time. Darker color will expand greater than lighter colors and installation tolerances are dictated by ambient temperature at the time of install.

Do what you want underneath, there are drainage systems for under decks that channel all the water to a gutter system so it stays dry, but they are not cheap. I will have to dig in my archives to find the last one I did so I can give you direction.
 
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Old 07-02-17, 10:09 AM
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Thanks czizzi! This will be very helpful when we get started. Just got my quote a couple of days ago, and while this deck won't be cheap, at least it should be fairly maintenance free--I'll take a powerwashing a couple of times a year over sanding/staining/sealing regularly. Because I hate anything that resembles painting.

After thinking about it, I'm not sure how we would be able to maintain the siding paint where the deck was if it was freestanding, because it needs to be very close to be usable, and that would make it impossible to get paint in there when the house needs a new coat. So attached it will be. ;-)

We're looking at Timbertech decking, specifically, their Terrain collection. It's not the top of the line, but hopefully it will be a good choice for us. Combined with an aluminum railing system, I shouldn't have to do much to it to keep it looking nice. I really wanted the cable railing but apparently that's not allowed in my area, and even if it was I'm not sure we could afford it--holy smokes!!
 
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Old 07-02-17, 01:44 PM
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Cable railing isn't cheap, you are correct at that. Make sure sufficient blocking is installed while the deck is open so that you have something to screw your railing system into. Simply screwing into the composite decking will not be sufficient.
 
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Old 07-02-17, 02:58 PM
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Composite decking requires 12" on center joist
Not true, must look at the reuiremets of the specific material, I have never built a composite deck with 12" joists.

but don't want something that will burn our feet, be a pain to clean
Couple of wives tails here, I have built many decks, with dark colors, and like anything that is dark and sits in the sun it can get warm but never to the extent of burning.

Composit decking is the absolute easiest material to clean. Do not use pressure washer, a scrubbing with a good deck cleaner (I use Olympic) and a stiff brush once, twice, per year will keep the deck bare foot clean,

You will absolutely not regret having to re stain, replace repair that deck surface and have never had a second thought about a splinter.

We are on year 10 of current Timber Tech material, still looks like new!!!
 
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Old 07-02-17, 04:02 PM
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The following is from Timbertech installation instructions

Proper joist spacing is required for proper installation. Joist spacing
should never exceed 16 on center. For a more rigid feel,
12 may be preferred.
If building from scratch, why not build to the best standards and go with 12" on center. This is the time to make that decision.

The following is from the warning section of Timbertechs installation instructions

Color and Temperature
Although TimberTech products are cooler to the touch than
many other deck board products in similar colors, all decking
products will get hot in the sun. Additionally, the darker the
decking color, the hotter it will feel.
I did not mean a literal burn, I meant uncomfortable in bare feet.
 
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Old 07-03-17, 01:49 PM
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For a more rigid feel, 12 may be preferred.
Current deck uses their 5/4 board on 16" centers, rock solid, I think it would be a waste building it on 12"
 
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