What better way to enjoy summer than soaking up the sun, chilling in your own backyard while enjoying some barbecue? And having a traditional deck makes it perfect! Sadly, not everyone can build a traditional deck – either its not permitted by local authorities or not feasible. The best solution – build a floating deck.
A floating deck is a raised wooden platform that sits a few inches above the ground. It is made of wood and looks exactly like the traditional deck, except it is not lying on the ground. It is also not covered by local building regulations. The most basic wooden deck designs shouldn’t be difficult to build. In fact, it is a good DIY project for someone who has basic woodworking knowledge.
You simply need a carpenter toolkit with a decent inventory. Take note, however, that it’s not small DIY project and requires a lot of researching. But if you’re someone who’s just not into woodworking stuff, you can always opt to hire a pro.
Whether you are doing it your way or having someone do it for you, it pays to know a little bit about the construction of a floating deck.
Which Wood is Best?
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Topmost of your concern is the type of wood to use. Basically, natural wood is the perfect choice for any outdoor wood project. Not only does it look good – adding texture and warmth to your backyard – it also is a resistant to elements.
Chemically treated timber prevents rotting due to many factors such as moisture, sunlight exposure, insects and fungi. It is important that you pick a rot-resistant wood since a floating deck is directly exposed to these elements.
As with any wood project, choosing the right type of wood is important if you want your project to last. When it comes to picking wood for your floating deck, there are several things to consider – the amount of sunlight and weather it will be exposed to, the maintenance it needs, the wood’s natural resistance to decay, the treating method required by the wood, and its cost and availability.
In general, you can use any wood for any outdoor project as long as it is regularly maintained, properly treated, and kept dry. However, there are some timbers that are more resistant to decay than others.
Ipe, Cedar, European Oak, Black Walnut, Idigbo, and Iroko are considered very resistant to rotting. There are also moderately resistant woods that include Larch, Douglas Fir, Meranti and Sapele. Take note that when using hardwoods for outdoor wood projects, its color will change and will require regular maintenance. To prevent this problem, use a UV blocking topcoat or finish to protect the wood and preserve its natural look.
However, there are many Far Eastern species such as Balau that can be used for decks without finish. The grey weathered look adds to its appeal and is also a maintenance-free option. If you don’t mind its rustic look, this should be a great pick for your floating deck project.
Factors that affect its cost
Another concern in building a floating deck is its cost. There are many factors that can affect the cost of the project.
Deck design and size
The design and size of the deck is a major consideration. Obviously, the larger the square footage, the higher the cost you should expect. The design also matters. The higher it is away from the ground, the more materials you’d likely need. Some designs may also require pouring concrete pilings for support pillars.
There are also other design extras that can add to a deck’s cost. Decorative flooring patterns, lattice, benches, pergolas, multiple floor levels – all these cost additional. But you can always build these fringes later on. These fringes enhance the usefulness and look of your floating deck.
Probably, the largest factor that can affect the cost of building a floating deck is the material used. The type of wood you use will have a huge impact on the final cost. Usually, chemically treated wood runs from $6 to $20 per square foot, depending on the quality and availability of wood. Manmade composite wood are usually the most expensive which can cost as much as $40 per square foot.
The current state of the site can directly impact the cost of your project. If the site requires further developing, such as dumping additional soil or gravel, expect additional expenses on the overall cost. Sometimes the site is just too rocky or too compact that it is impossible to manually dig holes – you would need to rent special equipment. Other times, the ground is too soft that requires you to pour concrete onto the postholes.
If you have an existing old deck, demolition would surely mean additional costs. All of these are additional expenses that you need to prepare for.
DIY or professional installation
Depending on the design and your woodworking skills, floating decks are generally doable. If you choose to DIY, you can expect cutting on the expenses. Bringing in a pro would be the best way to go if you are building a complex deck project or not confident with your skills, Contract fees vary widely. Be sure to shop around and ask which one offers the best services. These contractors come in with all the necessary tools, equipment, materials and crew to get your floating deck ready in no time.
JC is a blogger who loves to blog on health and woodworking. When she is not writing, she is either playing golf or trying to craft something out of the planks in her garage or simply cooking her favorite recipes.