Most decks that you will see are either floating above the ground or elevated by posts and blocks. However, aside from those, there is another popular way of creating a deck. Some homeowners opt for a ground-level flush deck. It means that the composite decking sits on the same level as the surrounding ground. Doing this creates a smooth transition from the ground to the deck. With this design, you also don’t need stairs. So how can you build a flush ground level deck?
Steps to Build a Flush Ground Level Deck
Building a flush ground-level deck is quite easy. Even if you’re a beginner, you can do it all by yourself. And the best thing is, with freestanding decks, you won’t need any permits to construct one. So how can you build this beautiful deck? Here are the general steps that you can follow.
- Measure out the Layout – First, you will need to determine how big you want to deck you want to be. Then, on the ground, mark the area that you will be using. You can use line pins and strings to mark the perimeter. Use a builder’s square to check the corners if they’re angled perfectly.
- Dig the Ground – Next step is to dig the ground. On the outside edge of the string, dig the ground using a shovel. Remove the strings and the pins and continue digging the area. Remove all the turf, plants, and other debris.
- Continue to Excavate the Area – After removing the turf and other obstructions, continue excavating the area. To know how deep you need to dig, add the depth of the joist, the height of the decking boards, and the depth for the sub-base. Then, level the area with a hand tamper or a mechanical one. However, it’s highly recommended adding a slight slope on the area to provide better drainage.
- Making the Sub-base – Next, you will need a suitable sub base for your deck. For this, you will need to cover the area with landscaping fabric. It helps drain the water and keep the weeds from growing back. You will need to cover the entire area.
- Cover the Area with Gravel – The next step is to cover the area with gravel, or other coarse aggregates. You can also mix fine and coarse aggregates for a more stable foundation. Make sure to fill the area. The sub-base will provide additional drainage and give a deck a more stable foundation. How much sub-base should you place? It depends on the measurement that you’ve considered in step 3. In general, you only have to make sure that there’s sufficient depth for the deck to be the same level as the ground.
- Build the Frames – Next, you can start building the frame of the deck. To make it easier, build deck frames in sections. Start building the outer frames first. Make sure that the corners are perfect by measuring the diagonals of the frame. Next, you will need to install the joists by drilling them onto the frames.
- Finalize the frames – If you made the frames by sections, assemble them on the ground. Screw them to each other using coach screws. As you’re installing them, make sure that they are levelled. Remember the slight slope for better drainage. Make changes with the subbase if necessary.
- Cut the Boards – Next up, start cutting the boards that you will use. You can either use wood or composite decking materials. You can also use decking tiles if you want. If you’re working with wood, make sure that the end grains of the boards are sealed. It gives protection from moisture and rotting.
- Install the Boards – It’s now time to install the boards. Make sure that the ends of the boards sit on top of the joists. Install them using the fastening system of your choice. For wood, you can use screws and nails. Composite decking boards give the option of using hidden clips. When installing the boards, make sure that there is sufficient space between the boards. The gaps help with drainage, airflow, and serve as an allowance when the boards expand. If you’re using wood, make sure to seal the entire deck. You don’t need to do it for composites but may do so if you prefer.