How to Build a Simple Free Standing Deck

Written by michael straessle
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Building a freestanding deck can indeed be simple, unless your back yard runs downhill. However, this will be the most difficult part of building a freestanding deck. Most freestanding decks are placed on concrete pads, which are directly on the ground. A freestanding deck is exactly what its name implies, and in some cases, does not attach to posts that are cemented in the ground.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 9 pieces of 2-by-10-by-96-inch treated lumber
  • Five 2-by-10 joist hangers
  • Variable speed drill
  • Philips head screw tip
  • 1¼-inch deck screws
  • 3-inch deck screws
  • 20 pieces of 5/4-by-6-by-96-inch treated decking material
  • 16d box nails.

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  1. 1

    Place two of the 96-inch 2-by-10-inch pieces of lumber on a worktable. Arrange them so that the long edges are touching.

  2. 2

    Measure from one end and make a mark every 16 inches. Place the framing square on the marks and draw lines across the narrow width of the lumber.

  3. 3

    Center the joist hangers on the 16-inch marks and install them with the 1¼-inch deck screws. Do not install any on the ends. Separate the two pieces of lumber far enough to place the remaining seven 2-by-10-inch lumber between them.

  4. 4

    Secure two of the 2-by-10s between the pieces from Step 3 with the 3-inch deck screws, placing one on each end. Then, secure the rest by placing them on the joist hangers and installing 3-inch deck screws through the outside pieces into the ends of the ones on the hangers.

  5. 5

    Place the first piece of 5/4-inch decking on the frame perpendicular to the lumber on the joist hangers. Secure the first piece of decking with the 2-inch deck screws.

  6. 6

    Place the second piece of decking next to the first and separate them with a 16d box nail. Secure the second piece of decking in the same manner as the first. Repeat this process until all the decking has been installed.

Tips and warnings

  • Countersink the deck screws about ¼-inch into the decking.
  • Use genuine deck screws, as drywall screws will rust in the weather.
  • Do not leave power tools unattended in the presence of children.
  • Do not a seal the deck with the a water sealer on a windy day.

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