How to build a floating wood patio deck

Updated February 21, 2017

Building a floating patio deck is a great first carpentry project that you can do over the course of one weekend. A floating patio deck does not attach to the home, so there are no concerns of it pulling away at the house siding or foundation. There's no hole digging, no cement mixing or pouring and no waiting for the cement to cure. This project will help build your confidence for future projects.

Sketch your deck on a piece of paper to get an idea of the size you want it to be and the amount of materials you will need. Calculate the number of cement footings, the number of top boards and the number of support boards.

Stake out the dimensions of your deck on the ground using your tape measure. Prepare the location by removing any sod and dirt with a shovel. Check the ground for level with a carpenter's level. If the deck is going to be built next to the house, there should be a slight slope away from the house foundation, approximately 1 inch for every 15 feet of deck.

Position the cement footings in rows. Start by placing a footing at each end of a row and evenly space out the other footings in the same row. The footings should not be more than 24 inches apart. Set a two-by-six treated support board on end in the slots of the footings, and check for level using a carpenter's level. Make any adjustments, either lowering or raising footings, before continuing. Repeat this process at the opposite side of the deck and with all inner rows. Check that all two-by-six supporting boards are level and make any adjustments before continuing.

Measure and cut a two-by-six board for each side that measures no more than 10 inches beyond the front deck footings. Install the boards by attaching each one to a support board using decking screws and your drill. Measure and cut a front end board and attach it to the two side boards at each end. Cut several small pieces of two-by-six to size, and insert them between the front end board and the last two-by-six support board at the front of the deck and attach with screws.

Lay out all the top boards across the support boards to check for spacing. Butt the boards tightly together if they are wet, as they will shrink as they dry out. Leave a 1 1/4-inch gap if they are dry. Finish by attaching each two-by-six top board to the support boards using your deck screws and drill.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper and pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Shovel
  • 4-foot carpenter's level
  • Precast cement footings
  • Circular saw
  • two-by-six treated lumber
  • 2 1/2-inch decking screws
  • Drill
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