|Project by Brad_Nailor||posted 1746 days ago||4313 views||12 times favorited||32 comments|
Everyone always says that building a deck is an easy construction project…I think that most of the people that say that are either framers (they build entire houses so a deck IS easy for them) or people that never really have built one. I decided to build a deck..well actually it’s two decks. A platform over an existing concrete slab back porch and an adjoining deck. Once I figured out what I wanted dimension wise I did a model of my house and the decks in SU so I could play around with different railings and materials. I thought I would share the design process with you guys as well as the construction… so here are some of my conceptual renderings to work out some design details. These are Podium renders of my Sketchup model…
This first shot is the original idea I wanted..no railings and some custom made benches. The materiel choice at this point was mahogany. The code in my neck of the woods is as long as the deck is below 30” from the ground you don’t have to have railings..
This version, was quickly vetoed by the governing body in my house(the wife). So this next render is my second thought. I wanted to stop the railing on the side facing the fire pit and put a straight section of bench there..
Once I decided on a railing system, I created the railings from the drawings in the catalog of the company that I had chosen. They had a PDF document that had cross sections of all the profiles of all the parts. I copied that onto the windows clipboard and imported it into SU as a jpg. Using the scale tool I manipulated the size of the jpg, measuring a straight section of the railing till it matched the scale of the drawing. Then I traced over the profiles and push/pulled them into components, and assembled the railings. This was great since it enabled me to see EXACTLY what the railings would look like in my mock ups..
At last…she likes it! Thats why you are starting to see more entourage in the render…since she liked the design I started to put in more detail so it would look more realistic. So then we made another design change. I looked into material choices and decided not to go with wood, but to use a composite material. I liked the idea that it wouldn’t split or crack, and it was almost maintenance free. I was able to get it in a brown color that almost matched my house color perfectly and I went with Azek fascia to cover the pressure treated framing…
The wife really liked the way these looked so with that I took my designs into AutoCAD and did a full set of construction prints. You can take a look at them here in PDF form. The last page has the old renders on it and the conversion to PDF screwed them up. When I walked into the building department to get my permit within 5 minutes, I had three of the inspectors and a few of the engineers looking at my drawings. They were used to people showing up with sketches on napkins. I spent more time chatting with the guys about rendering and Sketchup than I did talking about my project! So with my permit secured I started construction. I had to dig seven 10” dia. pier holes 42” deep..four along the back beam and three along the front. After they were poured I followed that with two yards of crushed stone over weed block fabrick. Never having framed anything before, I enlisted the help of a framer I met in AutoCAD school. I helped him with AutoCAD and showed him how to draw in 3D and he helped me frame the substructure.
The beams are 2 2×8s’ supported on heavy duty beam saddles. All the fasteners and hardware is hot dipped galvanized. On the upper platform the 2×8 joists are toenailed into each beam and there are also hurricane ties along the first beam/joists intersection. There are also joist hangers shear nailed on both ends of each joist and a single row of blocking across the center
The lower platform was 2×6s’ with two rows of blocking and joist hangers at both ends. This one was a little more difficult cause the slab was pitched and I wanted the platform to be level so I had to cut custom shims/wedges from 2×6s’ to support the parts of the joists that weren’t touching the concrete.
My design called for a very clean look with a smooth fascia around the bottom. I mounted the 4×4s’ from the back, rabbeting them so they would sit flush with the fascia..I hate that bolted on from the front look you see on most decks. I used all hot dipped galvanized washers and lag screws driven in and countersunk from the front. The decking I chose was a product called Portico Eclipse. It came with groves milled in the edges so you could use there hidden fastener system so there would be no screw penetrations. My design called for a picture frame around the outside of each platform to help hide the “end grain”. Here you can see the pieces starting to be set in place. They sold the same decking material without the grooves just for this purpose. I glued them down with construction adhesive and countersunk screws. I had to do this with the first and last boards of each run.
Now it was time to install the deck boards. For the first row I had to use my biscuit joiner to cut slots in the solid picture frame board at each joist. Then I placed a small metal winged clip into each slot and screwed it to the joist with a square drive screw that is provided with the fastener. Then the slot in the next deck board fits onto the wing of the row of clips..you have to kinda tip the board up and set all the clips in the groove then lay it flat so it locks in. Then you screw in another row of clips..and so on etc. The clips automatically space each deck board perfectly from each other so you get a real neat and clean look. I also paid a little extra and bought all my deck boards over sized so I wouldn’t have any butt joints..no seams, or penetrations from screws! Here are some progress shots as I installed the deck boards.
The decking actually had a “grain direction” which was indicated by a sticker on each piece. You can orient them in the same direction, but I chose to alternate them..I thought it would look cool..
I absolutely loved the “hidden fastners” look and the way they worked, but they are very time consuming to install! The upper deck had 13 joists so thats 13 fasteners per row, and I think it was something like 42 rows…so do the math! You can see I had received my railings and post covers and I was trying them out for looks as I was working. I bought a plug cutter set and cut a bunch of plugs from some scrap decking. When all the deck boards were done I plugged the holes in the first and last rows so there are no screw holes showing anywhere.
The railing system was Timbertech Radiance Rail. All vinyl, with hidden fasteners. The posts were just regular 4×4 PT, with a sleeve placed over it. Then you slid a bottom trim piece on and then a top cap finishes it off. Then the railing kits come in 6’ or 8’ lengths and they were pretty easy to install.
The fascia is Azek, triple screwed every 16”, countersunk and covered with special caulk made specifically for Azek products. The vinyl lattice was tacked to a nailing strip up under the perimeter joist and just buried and inch in the ground.
We miscalculated slightly when we cut the siding for the ledger, so there was a slight gap, showing the flashing. So I ripped some trim from the leftover pieces and scarf jointed it together along the siding bottom edge.
I had to leave slight gaps for expansion and contraction of the composite materiels. Since it was in the heat of the summer when I built this the materiel was in its fullest expansion state…but I left some 1/16” gaps anyways.
In this shot you can see the vinyl post cover for the post. Overall I am really pleased with how it came out, and although expensive I am extremely pleased with the composite decking. This spring we power washed the whole thing and it looked brand new!