How to Install Floating Deck Supports

Home and Garden

Building a deck is a great way to enhance your outdoor living space and provide a place for relaxation and entertainment. When constructing a deck, one important consideration is the type of support system to use. Floating deck supports, also known as deck blocks or deck piers, offer a versatile and cost-effective solution for building a sturdy and level deck without the need for extensive excavation or concrete footings. In this article, we will guide you through the process of installing floating deck supports, covering all the necessary subtopics in detail.

1. Understanding Floating Deck Supports

Floating deck supports are precast concrete blocks or adjustable plastic piers that are designed to support the weight of a deck structure. These supports are placed directly on the ground or on top of a compacted gravel base, eliminating the need for traditional footings. They distribute the weight of the deck evenly and provide stability, allowing the deck to “float” above the ground.

2. Preparing the Ground

Before installing the floating deck supports, it is important to prepare the ground properly. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Clear the area where the deck will be built. Remove any vegetation, rocks, or debris.
  2. Mark the perimeter of the deck using stakes and string. Ensure the area is square and level.
  3. Excavate the top layer of soil to create a level surface for the deck supports. Remove any large rocks or roots.
  4. Compact the soil using a tamper or plate compactor to create a solid and stable base.
  5. Place a layer of landscape fabric over the compacted soil to prevent weed growth.
  6. Add a layer of gravel to the excavated area and spread it evenly. Compact the gravel to create a firm base for the deck supports.

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3. Choosing the Right Deck Supports

There are various types of floating deck supports available in the market. The choice depends on factors such as the size of the deck, the load it will bear, and the desired height. Here are some common options:

  • Concrete Deck Blocks: These precast blocks have slots or holes to secure the deck joists. They are suitable for smaller decks with lighter loads.
  • Adjustable Plastic Piers: These piers can be adjusted in height to accommodate uneven ground. They are ideal for larger decks with heavier loads.
  • Screw Jacks: These supports have adjustable legs that can be extended to level the deck. They provide excellent stability and are often used for elevated decks.

4. Installing the Deck Supports

Once you have chosen the appropriate deck supports, it’s time to install them. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Place the deck supports at the desired locations along the perimeter of the deck. Ensure they are evenly spaced and aligned with the string lines.
  2. Adjust the height of the supports, if necessary, to ensure the deck will be level. Use a level or laser level for accuracy.
  3. If using concrete deck blocks or adjustable plastic piers, insert the deck joists into the slots or holes provided. Ensure they are securely in place.
  4. If using screw jacks, extend the legs to the desired height. Use a level to ensure the jacks are plumb and level.
  5. Repeat the above steps for all the deck supports, ensuring they are all installed correctly and at the same height.

5. Attaching the Decking Boards

Once the deck supports are in place, you can start attaching the decking boards. Here’s how:

  1. Measure and cut the first decking board to the desired length. Leave a small gap between the board and any adjoining structures, such as the house.
  2. Secure the first board to the deck supports using screws or nails. Ensure it is level.
  3. Continue installing the remaining decking boards, leaving a small gap between each board for expansion.
  4. Trim the final board, if necessary, to fit the remaining space. Secure it in place.

6. Finishing Touches

With the decking boards installed, you can add the finishing touches to your floating deck. Here are some optional steps:

  • Railing: Install a railing around the perimeter of the deck for safety and aesthetics.
  • Stairs: If your deck is elevated, consider adding stairs for easy access.
  • Sealing or Staining: Apply a protective sealant or stain to the decking boards to enhance their durability and appearance.

7. Regular Maintenance

To ensure the longevity of your floating deck, regular maintenance is necessary. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Inspect the deck: Check for any loose or damaged boards, supports, or fasteners. Replace or repair as needed.
  • Clean the deck: Remove debris, leaves, and dirt regularly to prevent moisture buildup and rot.
  • Reapply sealant or stain: Depending on the type of finish used, periodic reapplication may be required to maintain the deck’s appearance and protection.

8. Pros and Cons of Floating Deck Supports

Like any construction method, floating deck supports have their advantages and disadvantages. Consider the following:

Pros Cons
Easy and quick installation Not suitable for extremely heavy loads
No need for extensive excavation May require periodic adjustments for leveling
Cost-effective compared to traditional footings Requires regular maintenance to prevent settling

9. Conclusion

Installing floating deck supports can be a practical and efficient way to build a sturdy and level deck. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully install floating deck supports and create a beautiful outdoor space for relaxation and entertainment. Remember to choose the appropriate deck supports, prepare the ground properly, and perform regular maintenance to ensure the longevity of your deck. Enjoy your new floating deck!

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