The Handyguys Podcast - Working Together on that Honey Do List Home Energy Savings Tool tests

Building a freestanding deck and dealing with voles

by The Handyguys

in Audio Podcasts, Radio


On this audio podcast the Handyguys discuss Brian’s free-standing deck and Paul’s Vole problems.

How to Build Freestanding Decks

How to build a freestanding deck

A freestanding deck will have an additional beam near the house and no ledger board. Free-standing was chosen here due to only a small area next to the deck with no cantilever.

There are several advantages to building a deck freestanding, not attached to your house, and few disadvantages. In the podcast we discuss a few points to consider when deciding to build freestanding or not.

Potential for deck failure

The most common point of failure of a deck is the connection to your house. Building a freestanding deck eliminates this potential problem connection.

Deck water damage

When building a deck attached to your house a board, called a ledger board, is attached to the the house to hold up one side of the deck. This board needs to be flashed properly to prevent water from entering the house

House structure

A ledger board cant be attached to some types of house construction. You shouldn’t attach a ledger board to a section of house that is not supported by foundation (called a cantilever). This includes bay windows, bump-outs, fireplace or chimney chases. Deck ledger boards shouldn’t be attached to some types of building materials like stucco, SIPs, i-joists or veneers without special considerations. Sometimes you just want you deck somewhere away from your house, such as next to an above ground pool or spa.

Deck Fasteners When Building a Freestanding Deck

Some types of fasteners, nails, lags, bolts, hardware, hangars, etc will react poorly with some types of pressure treated lumber. The hardware can fail in just a few years. When building freestanding you are not relying on hardware to hold up one end of the deck.


Some codes may require the ledger to be bolted through the house’s rim joist. Sometimes its not possible to gain access to this area due to a finished basement or tight crawl space.

Deck Costs

The cost of building a freestanding may be a wash, or only slightly more expensive. A freestanding deck will require additional footings, an additional beam and additional bracing. When attaching to the house you will need the ledger board, joist hangers and flashing materials. In Handyguy Brian’s case four additional footers and posts were needed and one additional beam.

Deck Codes

When building any deck you should check with your code enforcement officials to determine if a freestanding deck is allowed. Most jurisdictions it is allowed but you should check first.

Deck Performance

“doesn’t it wiggle?” Handyguy Brian’s freestanding deck is still under construction. The framing inspection passed, the deck boards are going down and the cross bracing is installed. There is virtually zero movement of the deck which is about 16’x27′. When the deck boards are installed it will be even more solid.

Check out Brian’s completed freestanding Deck here:


Voles and building a freestanding deck

Paul had a pesky lawn problem this winter. When the snow cover thawed one winter day, Paul noticed that he had a maze of tunnels all over his yard. It look like he had a mole problem. Or was it a vole? Listen to the podcast for details.


Need appliance parts? Just enter a part or model number:

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment