Completed a low-level deck project at my partner’s place. A good practice run for the project at mine.
Starting the frame.
It stopped raining for long enough to dig out the grass and make space for the footings.
I installed weed matting and gravel instead of builder's plastic because I didn’t want to increase the impervious area on the lot too much. Thankfully we have a drain within the concrete area built by my partner’s grandfather back in the day. He knew what he was on about that’s for sure. We designed an access hatch so we can get to the drain for maintenance.
Added a new pergola beam so we could remove the middle post from the existing pergola.
It would have been easier if the joists and bearers didn’t have to be flush.
Laying out the Spotted Gum decking.
No one tells you that most boards have a bit of a bow. The wedge technique worked well to get the spacing right and straighten the boards at the same time. We secured every sixth board in place first, and then the wedges were used to get the rest of the boards in and evenly spaced. Used a countersunk drill bit to pre-drill the screw holes. A lot of drilling for 1500 screws!
So many rain delays. It was great when I had enough boards on to set the mitre saw up under cover.
I bought a low-cost track saw to finish the edges. I get told I’m a perfectionist, but really it was an excuse. I’ve wanted one for ages.
I agonised over what finish to use. Ended up with something that wouldn’t go white if it was subjected to a big storm within 24 hours.
The finished product is great and we’ve had a few sunny days to enjoy the deck.
Before and after
How to build a low-level deck
A low-level deck can pose a range of potential design and installation problems, with particular challenges around ventilation, drainage, termites and rotting. But it doesn't have to be a difficult project once you take the time to understand the basics of how they are put together.