On this audio podcast, the Handyguys discuss Brian’s free-standing deck and Paul’s vole problems.
How to Build Freestanding Decks
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
A ledger board can’t 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.
The cost of building a freestanding deck 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.
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.
“Does 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:
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.