Low Freestanding Deck Joists Hanging From Beams

by Kristin
(Ontario, Canada)

I am currently building a large floating deck that sits up against my house. It is only 8 inches above ground level.

The footings are deck blocks and the posts are short 4x4's. The joists will be attached or hanging from the beams using joist hangers.

My problem is, the first beam is about 6- 8 inches from the side of the house. When I put deck boards on the first deck board beside the house will be unsupported unless I attach short joists (6-8 inches) in between the beam and the house.

I am just not sure how to do this.

Should I put a rim joist up against the house and then attach joists between the beam and the rim joist or should I just attach joists to the beam and wedge them between the house?

Editor's Comments:

This is common building or framing challenge when you are building a low level floating or free standing deck. I presume you are setting the beams directly into the deck blocks and therefore each block will have to be very level.

Once you have set the beams at the correct height you will frame in the joists so they are level with the top of the beams. And you do this by using joist hangers which allows you to keep the deck as low to the ground as possible.

All is well and fine up to this point. Except, as you note, the beam is blocking the path of the joists to carry on to the other side of the beam so you can extend the length of the deck into that 6"-8" gap between the last beam and the house.

What to do?

The trick is to use double rim joists on the two sides of the frame and extend them past the beam to the desired length. So to about 2.5" from house. Then you will attach another rim joist on the end cuts of the double rim joists to close the shape in.

And now the tricky part is to cut small joists and fit them into this gap and secure them to the other side of the beam and the perimeter joist nearest the house.

This is detail oriented work but it will work well. Don't worry about the strength of the deck over that last 6" gap near the house as it will be fine. The cantilever you will have created is very short and will hold weight fine.

This allows you to carry on with the joists within the horizontal "plane" of the frame of the deck and keep that low profile low profile look you want.

I might add, although it is probably a bit late as you seem very close to building but a super easy product to use for this application is the Titan Deck Foot Anchor as shown below:

It is easier to get the deck beams as low as 2" above grade if so desired and it is more secure than deck blocks.

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