Many modern houses have detached or freestanding decks built beside them. Perhaps this is because there are many benefits of having a detached deck.
Firstly, detached decks are easy to build and budget-friendly as well. Moreover, an added bonus is that there is no alteration to the structure of the house.
What’s more, many people decide to build a detached deck around their pool or hot tub for a stylish appearance.
To install a detached deck, building permits are often not necessary but it does depend on the requirements of your jurisdiction. Typically anything higher than 30 inches or wider than 200 sq ft will require a permit.
Additionally, a freestanding deck does not require ledger boards, unlike an attached deck. Also, railings are not a must. Although, some people choose to install them for safety reasons.
Finally, if you have considered all the options and concluded that a detached deck is the best option for your house, below are the tools and a step-by-step process to build one.
Materials for Building a Detached Deck
- 12ft long 4×4 piers (3)
- Drainage rocks (9 bags)
- 8ft long pressure treated boards for decking (2×8)
- External hex flange hex-head connector screws (9×1.5)
- Hidden deck fastener system (alternative coarse thread polymer-coated exterior screws)
- Concrete pier blocks (9)
- Marking paint
- Measuring Tape
- Stakes of wood
- Wood preservative (oil-based)
- A carpenter’s pencil
- Wrench set
- Laser level
- Electric saw
- Circular saw
- Posthole digger
Steps to Building a Detached Deck
- First, measure the area of the deck and mark it. Now, mark the area for the concrete piers to sit. Use the measuring tape to get the exact dimensions, try to keep the piers at most 6 ft apart. Use your stakes and twine to achieve the perfect lines after measuring, and the marking paint to mark the ground.
- Get the right depth for the pier blocks. You should follow the guidelines of your local building department.
- Dig the holes for the pier blocks at the marked spots using your spade and posthole digger. The diameter holes are usually about 18 inches, to accommodate an 11 ½ inch pier block. A general rule is to keep holes at 1.5x the width of the pier block. Pour drainage rocks into the hole.
- Carefully place the pier blocks into the marked spaces. If a pier block has attached brackets, line up in a way that the cradles are in a straight line.
- Place the 4×4 pier blocks in the sets of pier block brackets.
- Using the laser level, determine the beam levels. Repeat for all adjacent sides to ensure they are leveled, adjust if they are. If the brackets are attached, you would have to remove the 4×4 and the pier block to fill or remove gravel to the appropriate height. If the brackets are adjustable, rotate to increase or decrease height.
- Drill a hole in the racket and screw the hex head connector screws using the ratchet wrenches.
- Cut the deck boards. Use 2×6 or 2×8 pressure-treated boards for synthetic or composite materials. You can use factory cut 2×6 or 2×8 for the outer deck beams which are 7 ft apart, providing you with an overhang of 6 inches on both sides. If you cut the boards, treat the ends with an oil-based wood preservative.
- Use the hidden fastener system or the deck screws to attach the deck boards.
In conclusion, building a detached deck is an easy process if you follow the required steps and use the right tools. It will give your house the structural uplift it needs.
Remember that, installing a detached deck is easier than constructing one attached to the house.
Plus, the design options are limitless with a detached deck. You get to design the size and shape based on your wants and needs. There are also ways to furnish even the smallest decks. For some ideas, check out our article, “Best Deck Furniture for Small Decks.”
All in all, detached decks seem to be a great idea. Here at Lee Roy Jordan, we’re looking forward to helping you get started on yours today.