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Building a Floating Deck: Easy DIY Guide

A floating deck beside your house helps you to get some refreshing time. But when the deck is rotten, suffering from many storms, it just doesn’t go with the refreshing vibe. 

Many people think it’s really difficult and expensive to build a deck. But you can actually build it by yourself with the minimum cost. 

So, is building a floating deck by yourself possible? 

Yes, it is. You can build a floating deck by yourself with some easy steps. 

Don’t get confused yet! It was just a short summary. I am going to explain in detail how I am building a floating deck by myself. Keep reading. 

Item Needed for Building a Floating Deck

There are some items I am gonna use to build the deck:

  • Trex composite decking boards 
  • Trex hidden deck fasteners (covers 500 sq. ft. and 50 sq. ft.)
  • Deck Screws matched with board colors ( 3”, 2”, 2.5”)
  • 48″ Level
  • 4″ (100 Pack) Mending Plate
  • Shelving brackets 4×4 to 2×6 connector
  • Mending Plate (3″, 4 1/8”)
  • Decking nails ( 9×3.5, 10×3, 11×2.5)
  • Galvanized nails (2”, 3”)
  • Weed barrier mat
  • Weed barrier anchoring spikes

You can check out the weed barrier mat and anchoring spikes from here:

ProductPrice
Weed barrier matCheck Current Price
Goasis Lawn Weed BarrierCheck Current Price

I am also gonna need some tools:

  • Circular saw
  • Framing hammer
  • Miter saw
  • Driver drill
  • Palm nailer
  • Speed square
  • Framing nailer
  • Pancake Air Compressor Kit

Guide for Building a Floating Deck

My old deck is rotten now, so I have to build another float deck. I am explaining all the steps for your convenience. 

You can build a square floating deck. Or you can design the floating deck if you have other ideas. I am going with a simple square one.

For starting with removing my old deck. Then I am gonna clean the whole place and remove plants and other things. Basically, I am just preparing the space for the new deck. 

Also, I have to measure the space first to buy wood and a decking board. I am gonna use 12 feet Trex vinyl boards. 

Let’s start with the building process!

Planning and Assorting

Here I am gonna plan the deck arrangement and measure everything. 

Step 1: First, I am gonna start putting down the base for new decking. I am taking concrete slabs and placing them with certain gaps. I am placing 5 slabs on both sides. 

Step 2: To place the slabs with stability, I am removing the soil a little with a spade. And placing the slabs there. 

Step 3: For the base, I have taken pressure-treated wood.  For the width of the deck, I needed 12 feet of 4×4 wood. But I couldn’t find more than 8 feet. But that’s not an issue. I am gonna extend it later. 

For the length, I am using 16 feet, 2×6 joists. 

Step 4: Here’s an important thing. I have to set the pavers on the right start. For this, I am gonna put down the gravel base at the bottom. After that, there is bedding sand. 

And finally, I am setting down the pavers or concrete slabs. Follow this chart below to understand the arrangement. 

Source: World of Stones USA

This arrangement will allow a proper drainage system. And prevent the deck from shifting along in any type of heavy rain or storm. I am highly recommending following this combination. 

Step 5: Again, I am coming back to the joists. As I said, they were a little shot, I am expanding them 4 more feet. Total 12 feet, which I need.

I am going to connect 4 feet of wood with 8 feet of wood. For that, I am using galvanized mending plates. 

Now, everything is settled and planned. Next, I am removing all the items from the place for a bit. Not the slabs though. They are set. 

Attaching

Here, I am coming to the fitting and attaching part. 

Step 1: I am going to place a weed mat over the slabs. I am laying this mat to prevent weeds from growing under the deck. 

I didn’t have any weed mat underneath my previous deck. There were many plants growing inside the deck, and the deck was rotten very quickly. You can use this highly effective item. 

Step 2: At this point, I am gonna pretty much dry fit everything. Horizontally goes my 4×4 12 feet wood. And vertically, 2×6 16 feet joists. 

Step 3: Here, I am gonna mark out where I am gonna put the shelving brackets. I am marking 16-inch centers just like you see in the ceiling of your house. These shelving brackets will help hold the joists together. 

Step 4: I am gonna hammer those shelving brackets. While doing this, you have to make sure they are aligned with each other. 

Step 5: Here, I am gonna take help from one of my friends. We both will take a 2×6 16 feet joist. And place it on the top of the shelving brackets vertically. 

You will notice that some of the joists may be a little bent. But you don’t have to worry about these. It doesn’t really matter. This is the base and won’t be shown. 

Now, I am nailing down the joist. I am using weatherproof screws for this. Always use weatherproof nails or screws to make the deck. It will last long and won’t look rusty. 

Step 6: At this point, I have to make sure the deck is square. That means the angles are at 90 degrees. I am measuring one end of the deck and comparing it with the other end. The two ends must match. 

For example, if one end is 160 inches, another end must be 160 inches. 

Step 7: This is an optional step. You can use weather deck tape on the wood. I am using pressure-treated wood and not using weather tape. But if you want the wood to last longer, you may use it. 

Step 8: I am gonna put a framing around the edges. And then have a measurement again. To make sure my composite vinyl boards are enough in size. 

The measurement came out to 143 inches. It’s perfect because my composite boards are 145 inches over 12 feet. 

Step 9: For the upper layer of the deck I am using Trex composite vinyl boards. I am gonna lay them perpendicularly on the base. 

Vinyl boards are actually very versatile. You can install flooring with vinyl planks. 

Step 10: In the Trex deck fastener kit, I found ending brackets. It’s perfect for an end. I am using my square just to make sure it’s aligned. And then I am screwing the brackets to the end frames first. 

Step 11: On the other side of the vinyl board, I am using an angled ending bracket. And connect it with wood. Secure the vinyl board by screwing it tightly. 

Step 12: I am Placing other boards one by one. And securing them with screws. Once the first one is set, other Pieces will just snap in place. It’s just like puzzle pieces. 

Sometimes, there are hollow spots inside the vinyl plank flooring. You can fill the hollow spots by yourself.

Finishing

Everything is attached, I am gonna do some finishing work to make the deck look better. 

Step 1: The last board of mine came out a little outside of the frame. That’s why I can’t attach it with an ending bracket. 

I am nailing it down in the middle of the board where the frame is. The nails won’t be very visible. 

Step 2: All the pieces are completely attached. On the edge where the board’s other last heads are, I have to cut a little bit to make everything straight. 

I am using chalk to draw a straight line along the deck. Then I cut out the excess board with a circular saw. At this point, you have to be very careful. Otherwise, the cut will be crooked and the deck will look back. 

Step 3: After that, I am gonna cover the edge with another vinyl board. You can get separated end boards, Those are available too. 

But I am just going to use my left-out vinyl boards. That also looks great. 

This is the whole process of building a floating deck. You can build a paver walkway in front of the deck through the yard. It will look really homely. 

FAQs

Do floating decks sink?

Yes, they do. Floating decks are very low. They may sink in heavy rain. So use all the materials which are weatherproof. Use weatherproof deck tape. And your deck will last longer. 

Does decking need drainage?

Decking must have a proper drainage system. Without that, there will always be water under your drainage. Use this arrangement. Gravel layer, bedding sand layer, finally place the pavers. It will provide you with the necessary drainage system. 

How long will a ground level deck last?

A deck can last up to 15 years or more. But you have to take some actions during building the deck. Place a weed mat beneath the deck so there is no plant to rot the wood. Use the vinyl board for the top layer, it lasts longer than wood.

Conclusion

I hope you understood the process of building a floating deck. You may feel there are a lot of steps. But all the steps are very easy if you try. I tried to break it down to the basics. 

So, get started with building the deck by following the steps. I hope it comes out nice. 

Have a good day!