Ideas for a Ground level deck

by Jon Doe
(Toronto Canada )

I would like to build a ground level deck using 2 x 6's to achieve a low height without a massive step up, the grade drops aprox 1' in the rear.

I would like it to span fence to fence to fence aprox 20' x 10' tapered to 8'. The rear fence post are 2 x10 and sides are 4x4 posts. Do I attach directly to fence and or how can I achieve the best possible outcome? I would be using regular PT lumber. Open to ideas.

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Jun 27, 2011
Tips on footing solutions and framing techniques
by: Editor - Rich Bergman

This is perennial problem and challenge for people trying to build a ground level deck. As you know, by the time you add the height of joists, beams and any footings it is very easy to be at 16" or more to the top of the deck surface.

I would not try to attach a deck to a fence. It just changes the load distribution in some pretty bad and unpredictable ways.

You can try to reduce the overall height by using 2x6s as joists and even as beams. But remember that as you reduce the size of the joist you have to reduce the distance it can span from one beam to the next - so you have to bring each beam in a bit closer to each other. And as you reduce the size of the beams you have to reduce the distance each beam can span from one support post or pier/footing to the next.

So as you can see to reduce the overall elevation you correspondingly often increase the number of beams and or footings required.

One strategy to get a deck as low as possible is to hang joists from joist hangers between beams which sit directly on post connectors or U shaped post anchor embedded into concrete. This is a good strategy and can save you the thickness of the joists.

But this means you usually have to use concrete piers and footings which requires a lot of digging, a lot of concrete and a lot of money. But when done properly it is the gold standard but not always needed.

So another solution I would like to share with you and my visitors is a solution called the Titan Deck Foot.

Its a helical ground anchor installed easily by a hand held impact wrench, no sledge hammer or jack hammers required. A steel cap plate compress and distributes the weight of the deck and a post bracket connector attaches easily to the cap plate with about 1.5" above the cap plate so any beam has enough clearance above the ground to be safe but low enough to get you the look you want.

This has been in development for a long time and will be available for sale in August 2011. So that is another option for you.

So for sure you should consider hanging joists from beams and then its up to you as you what kind of footing solution you choose.

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