Hi everyone, newbie here! I'm wanting to install a Cubby House with an adjacent carport on an uneven grassed area & trying to figure out what the best option would be for the base? Hubby & I obviously have different opinions, and neither of us really have the experience so need plenty of advice. I don't know the correct "terms" for everything, so hopefully you can decipher what I mean. I've already read alot of member posts on here to try & get even a basic understanding. I've attached photos to help explain & what we're trying to achieve.
Hubby wants to put it on top of some conjoined-pallet-type structure & sit it directly on the ground. I'm wanting to build a low-level deck on small footings so it's elevated slightly & not have as much ground contact ie. less worry about drainage/rot/pest damage issues etc.
We've looked at other base options like digging out the grass, putting down weedmat & gravel, or pavers with sand etc, but we don't want a permanent solution, as we'll eventually want to dismantle or move it & replace the Cubby with a trampoline. So I want to keep the grass/ground underneath the structure.
Can anyone tell me what the pros/cons are for both options? Or have any other suggestions? Is it possible to just have the whole thing sitting on pallets on the ground? Or a timber sleeper base? Can you build a deck on small footings without having to cement in the posts?
Thanks in advance 🤗
House with adjacent carport idea
Flat base straight on ground idea (or on pallets)
Slightly elevated on footings with a couple of steps.
Or could we do something like this? Would this be ok?
Solved! See most helpful response
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community. It's wonderful to have you join us, and thank you for sharing your question about what base to use for your cubby house.
It's great that you've been exploring options and having a read of the low-level deck possibilities on the site. I know you're hoping to save the turf once it's been covered, but unfortunately, anything that cuts the sunlight from the turf will kill it.
If you're looking for cost-effective, ease of use and long service life, I suggest using pavers. It's easy to layout, it won't' rot or get eaten by insects and vermin and will not warp. It can be removed and used in another project or location and can be sold as seconds.
Timber pallets are prone to rot and warping when exposed to moisture and wetness for long periods of time. Some pallets are preserved in toxic chemicals and not recommended to be used for D.I.Y. projects. Unless disassembled and reassembled, they will not provide a flat stable surface.
Timber Sleepers are big heavy pieces of timber. It is chemically treated to withstand ground contact and to resist insect attack and rot. You would need to get playground safe sleepers. It would need to be cut to size and assembled to form a sound base for the cubby house. The cut ends must be sealed to prevent them from being exposed to the elements and insects.
Among the three products I've mentioned, I recommend pavers. It is the safest base among the three, it's the easiest to use and is movable and transferable. It's a base that will provide you with the knowledge that the cubby house is on a safe platform. It will provide years of service and will continue to provide service long after the cubby house has served its purpose.
If you need further assistance, please let us know.
Thankyou so much for taking the time to reply.
I failed to mention that the Cubby we will have is actually 2 Flat packs joined, and doesn't have an existing floor. I also want to add-on a front porch with a roof, have ballastrades, letterbox etc. Hence why I thought building a deck would be the way to go, to then attach the house & build the add-ons straight onto it.
There was a member post by @weekenddiyer that has the same house built on a platform with a ladder, slide & sandpit underneath - I'm essentially wanting a similar thing, just not raised up high with as many extras.
Is it possible to have a deck/platform that just sits on small footings on top of the grass? (After we level it). Or will we need to cement in those footings?
This is the ultimate goal, but raised OFF the ground & have small steps at the front.
Kind of like this.
Sure, you can build a deck platform @SxcMnx. It'll look fantastic.
It doesn't sound like you need it there for decades, so I'm not particularly concerned about it being so close to the ground. I'd suggest the most straightforward way would be to construct the frame with H4 treated pine sleepers, similar to what @weekenddiyer did. You can then just clad over the top with your decking so kids can't make contact with them. That will mean you can use whatever sleepers are available.
Since the sleepers are H4 treated, you can level the ground where they are going to sit and place them directly on it. Alternatively, you can use adjustable pedestal feet which will allow you to place the sleeper frame on uneven ground. It would be a good idea to place a paver under each of the feet to spread the load over a larger area. These pavers will be hidden under the platform.
I've put a rendering together for you below, and the deck is drawn to scale. It's using 200 x 50mm 2.4m Treated Pine Sleeper H4 and 90 x 19mm L/M Decking Merbau SpecRite Pre Oiled KD Select.
Building a platform like this will give you the wow factor that it looks like you're going for.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Thankyou @MitchellMc that's perfect! ( I was hoping you'd show up as I've seen your other helpful tips) 😆
I'm assuming that rendering is 2.4 x 1.2? And the joists are at 40cm intervals? Is that what you meant by drawn to scale? That's about the size we want. There's 2 cubbys being joined back to back, so they'll sit along the length of the deck with room at the front for the verandah if that makes sense. I'll also be wanting to add a carport with a skillion roof off to the right, so the base will be L-shaped. I'm assuming I can just make another 1.2 squared frame & attach it? Does the 2.4 length not require any noggins? (Think that's what they're called). And would it be best to use those metal brackets to secure the joists to the frame instead of just screws? Would you mind linking all the recommended hardware aswell so I can make a shopping list please? And I can see that the decking boards are pre-oiled, is there a recommended top coat for them aswell? Preferably a matt/satin finish, not glossy.
Yes, another great suggestion from @MitchellMc along with drawings for visualisation. Just a couple of comments from me.
I'm sure your kids will enjoy your creation.
The rendering is 2.4 x 1.2m, and the joists are spaced at 400mm intervals @SxcMnx. You can create whatever shape you like for the structure, and the sleepers are pretty substantial, so I don't see any need for noggins. You could use brackets to secure the joists to the frame, but screws are perfectly fine.
The only other hardware you'd need is the screws for the decking boards. I like the Zenith 12G x 65mm Stainless Steel Self Drilling Decking Screw - 500 Pack as there is no need to pre-drill and countersink the holes. The topcoat for the decking will be decking oil or stain. There are no glossy deck finishes that I can think of, so you'll be OK with an oil. The Cabot's 4L Deck And Exterior Merbau Oil Based Timber Stain is quite matt, but it looks very much like an opaque paint if used with thick coats.
How did your build go? I am planning on doing the exact same thing - but was wondering if the deck will sink? Also how long has it been since you've built it?
I will be building a low level deck with some adjustable support footings sitting on top of some pavers.
The deck will only be used for the cubby house, so it would need to support a few kids and maybe an adult or two at most.
Thanks in advance!
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @Sighman. It's a pleasure to have you join us, and many thanks for your question about this project.
Let me mention @SxcMnx, so they are alerted, and hopefully, they can provide us with an update on their cubbyhouse.
You shouldn't have any issues using adjustable support footing on pavers. However, it's stipulated in their installation instructions that the area on which the paver sits much be compacted. It would be a good idea to pick up a tamper and compact the soil before placing your pavers down.
Do you have any particular issues will drainage in the area or soil subsidence?
I'll be looking forward to hearing more about your project and assisting further.