How to Build a Ground-Level Deck from Wood

Build a ground-level deck with our comprehensive guide, perfect for DIY enthusiasts and professionals. Covering planning, materials, construction, and finishing, this guide helps you create a beautiful, functional deck that enhances your outdoor living experience.

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Build Ground-Level Deck

Step-by-Step: Building a Ground-Level Wood Deck

Building a ground-level deck, also known as a floating deck, is a fantastic way to make the most of your backyard. It provides a perfect space for you and your family to relax and entertain. Unlike traditional decks, floating decks are not attached to a building and instead “float” just above the ground. This design simplifies the construction process, making it an achievable project for DIYers with the right tools and knowledge.

At Deck Guardian, we pride ourselves on being experts in creating beautiful and functional outdoor spaces. This guide will walk you through the essential steps of how to build a ground-level deck: how to plan, build, and maintain your ground-level deck, ensuring you have all the information needed to embark on this exciting project.

If you encounter any challenges or need professional assistance, Deck Guardian is just a call away, ready to help you create your perfect outdoor retreat.

Advantages of Building a Ground-Level Deck

A ground-level deck offers numerous advantages over traditional pier-supported decks. Here’s why opting for a ground-level deck can be a more straightforward and cost-effective choice:

  • No Frost-Depth Footings Required: Ground level decks don’t need deep footings because the deck blocks sit directly on top of the soil.
  • Versatility on Uneven Ground: Deck blocks allow the construction of a deck on uneven terrain without extensive preparation.
  • Cost-Effective Construction: There is no need for digging or excavating, so you save on materials and equipment and avoid the physically demanding work.
  • Easy to Build: There’s no need to buy, mix, or clean up concrete, streamlining the building process.
  • Safe and Convenient: There’s no need for deep digging, so you can avoid damaging underground utilities like sewage pipes or service cables.
  • No Handrails Needed: Because a floating deck is close to the ground, building regulations typically do not require handrails.
  • Simple Maintenance: The proximity to the ground makes repairs and maintenance convenient and straightforward.
  • DIY-Friendly: Ground-level decks are easier for DIY enthusiasts to build with the right tools and knowledge. They also offer built-in mobility, as they can be disassembled and relocated, which is not possible with traditional decks.

Build Ground-Level Deck

Planning and Prep for Building a Ground-Level Deck

Before starting your project, ensure you have all the necessary materials. Whether you’re building the deck yourself or hiring professionals, most costs will be tied to material prices. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Base: Use gravel, pavers, or sand to create a stable base for your deck blocks. Ensure proper drainage to prevent pooling water, which can damage the deck.
  • Deck Blocks: Preformed composite blocks that support the sub-frame, keeping your deck away from ground moisture.
  • Framing Materials: Use moisture-resistant lumber for posts and joists. Pressure-treated lumber is ideal for the frame to protect against moisture deterioration.
  • Decking Materials: Go for high-quality materials like redwood, cedar, pressure-treated lumber, or composite decking. Composite decking is popular for its durability and low maintenance.
  • Fasteners: High-quality deck screws and galvanized nails for joist hangers are essential to ensure the structural integrity of your deck.
  • Joist Hangers: These connect the deck joist to the sub-frame, helping distribute weight evenly for a robust foundation.
  • Tools: Necessary tools include a tape measure, circular saw, drill and drill bits, level, shovel, rake, and safety glasses.

Build Ground-Level Deck

Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Ground-Level Deck

Building a ground-level deck involves several steps. Here, we’ve broken them down into 7 simple steps to help you work through the process. Follow this guide to ensure a successful deck project:

  1. Clear the Deck Area: Remove debris and level the ground where the deck will be built. Use landscape fabric or plastic liner to prevent weed growth and improve drainage.
  2. Lay Out the Deck Blocks: Position deck blocks at each corner and along the edges. Use a level to ensure they are even.
  3. Build the Deck Frame: Cut the joists to size and assemble the frame using deck screws. Add additional joists inside the frame for stability.
  4. Position and Level the Deck Frame: Place the frame on the deck blocks and ensure it is level.
  5. Install the Remaining Joists: Securely attach the remaining joists, ensuring they are flush with the tops of the frame joists.
  6. Secure the Deck Boards: Lay out the deck boards, drill pilot holes, and secure them with deck screws. Space the boards approximately 1/8 inch apart.
  7. Weatherproof the Deck: Apply a protective deck stain or sealer to protect the wood from weather damage.

Build Ground-Level Deck

Incorporate These Real-Life Tips from Deck Builders

Incorporating real-life tips from experienced deck builders can enhance the longevity and functionality of your ground level deck. Here are some valuable tips to consider:

  • Lay in Wiring for Lights: Even if you don’t want lights now, laying wiring during construction can make future installations easier. Consider installing outdoor outlets near potential grill locations or other areas where you might need power.
  • Use Metal Conduit for Wiring: Run your cables in metal conduit to prevent animals from chewing on wires, which can pose a fire hazard.
  • Slope the Plastic Liner: Ensure the plastic liner under the gravel is sloped away from the house to prevent water pooling near the foundation.

Build Ground-Level Deck

Cost Considerations for Building a Ground-Level Deck

Building a ground-level deck can vary in cost depending on materials and whether you hire professionals or DIY. Here are some cost considerations:

  • DIY Cost: Expect to spend about $10 per square foot for a DIY project. Materials like composite wood cost around $10 per square foot, while redwood can cost up to $35 per square foot.
  • Professional Installation: Hiring professionals can cost between $20 to $60 per square foot, depending on location, size, and materials.

What Would We Recommend?

At Deck Guardian, we recommend carefully evaluating your budget and long-term goals before deciding on DIY or professional installation for your ground level deck. Here are our suggestions based on different scenarios:

For Budget-Conscious Homeowners: 

If keeping costs low is your primary concern and you have some DIY experience, consider building the deck yourself using pressure-treated lumber or composite materials. These options offer a good balance between cost and durability.

For Long-Term Investment: 

If you’re looking to create a high-end, long-lasting deck, we recommend investing in professional installation using premium materials like Ipe or other exotic hardwoods. The upfront cost may be higher, but the durability and aesthetic appeal will pay off in the long run.

For Convenience and Quality: 

If you prefer a hassle-free experience and guaranteed quality, hiring professionals is the best route. Deck Guardian offers expert installation services that ensure your deck is built to the highest standards, saving you time and potential headaches.

For a Mix of Both: 

If you have some DIY skills but want to ensure structural integrity, consider a hybrid approach. You can handle the preliminary work and base construction, then hire professionals for the framing and finishing touches. This method can help you save on labor costs while still ensuring a high-quality build.

While upfront costs are important, considering the long-term maintenance and durability of your decking materials can save you money and effort over time. For personalized advice and detailed estimates, contact Deck Guardian to discuss your project needs and options.

Build Ground-Level Deck

Additional Tips for Building a Ground-Level Deck

Building a ground-level deck can transform your outdoor space into a functional and stylish area for relaxation and entertainment. Consider these tips to ensure your deck is built correctly and lasts for years:

  • Check local building codes to ensure compliance with local building regulations.
  • Elevate the deck to allow airflow and prevent mold growth.
  • Use under the deck to prevent weeds and improve drainage.
  • Finish the deck with a stain or seal to maintain its appearance and durability.
  • Provide additional support by using center blocks to prevent sagging.
  • Consider laying wiring for lights and outdoor outlets during construction for future convenience.

Build a Ground Level Deck With Deck Guardian

Building a ground-level deck can transform your outdoor space into a functional and stylish area for relaxation and entertainment. By following this guide, you will know how to build a ground-level deck, built to last. For professional assistance, contact Deck Guardian for expert advice and quality construction services tailored to your needs.

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