You probably think a deck is … just a deck. For some homeowners, knowing what a floating deck is could save you time and money. Also called a free standing deck, what does this mean and why does it matter?
Most decks are attached to a house (see below) while floating decks (above) are not attached to any structure. Obviously decks that aren't located next to your house will always be floating decks and these have quite a few benefits.
Benefits of a Floating Deck
When a deck is attached to your house, it's considered part of the house. This means the deck is subject to the same building codes your home has to follow. Floating decks, because they aren't attached directly to your home, have fewer building requirements to satisfy. Why is this important?
- Floating decks are easier to build making them a great homeowner do-it-yourself project.
- Detached decks don't require footings below the frost line in northern climates, making them easier to build.
- Floating decks can't pull away from your house and damage the exterior when subjected to high winds or other severe weather.
- These decks are less prone to wood rot (read: Water & Wood Rot Repairs: Decks) because they're not attached, eliminating the pocket between the deck and the house, where water can collect when a deck is not installed correctly.
- Floating decks if close to the ground (up to 30 inches) don't need handrails, although you might need steps.
- The shape of a detached deck can be more creative (see gazebo below)as it doesn't need to follow the contours of the house.
Benefits of an Attached Deck
The biggest benefit of an attached deck is being able to walk out of the house, onto your deck which is at the same level. This even more important with new patio doors that give you an entire wall of glass that can open up to your backyard. Other benefits include:
- Seamless flow from your home to the outdoors, making it easier to move things to your deck for outdoor dining, entertaining and more.
- While harder to build, attached decks are easier to maintain as they're higher off the so it's easier to reach the infrastructure underneath.
- Attached decks are easier to enclose with screen, making the deck pest proof so you can enjoy it more.
PS If you're thinking about building a floating deck, check out this step-by-step tutorial by Casey at HouseByTheBayDesign.com … and good luck!