Build a Beautiful Low Profile Floating Deck

Filling Forms with Concrete

This corner is the high point so there’s not much clearance between the ground and the bottom of the joist. It made it a bit difficult to fill the tube. Because of this short ground clearance I went with pressure treated lumber for the deck frame.

I did think about using deck blocks set on the ground or a bed of gravel but I didn’t want the deck to potentially heave every winter. I just wanted to do this once so I decided that I would pour a number of footings.

Setting 4x4 deck joist in place
Setting 4×4 deck joist in place

Then I will move over to the north end of the pavilion and repeat these steps for the second joist. I will reference the tops of the piers and check for level along the joist (East to West). I also will lay a 4×4 over these first two joists to check for level north to south. Now these are parallel and are on the same level plane.

Adding concrete tubes to holes for deck footings
Adding concrete tubes to holes for deck footings

These first two joists I cut to their final length so I can quickly square them up as well before I add the infill joists.

utting 4x4 deck joist on miter saw
utting 4×4 deck joist on miter saw

The concrete tubes are easy to cut on the miter saw by rotating them. I cut these a few inches shorter to make filling them easier. I’ll pull them up closer to the joist when they are nearly full.

Cutting concrete tubes by rotating on miter saw
Cutting concrete tubes by rotating on miter saw
Cutting concrete tubes by rotating on miter saw
Cutting concrete tubes by rotating on miter saw

Squaring and Levelling the Deck Joists

These are 6 inch diameter tubes and I figured that would be adequate. Since I have 27 footings in total. That’s a lot of load sharing. So even that might be more than what’s needed.

Checking square corner to corner with measuring tape
Checking square corner to corner with measuring tape
Settling wet concrete in tube
Settling wet concrete in tube

I set a screw in from each end of the first two joists to check for square. Before I fill the concrete forms on that north joist. The piers from the pavilion were in the way of going corner to corner so referencing screws set in an equal distance from the joist ends worked well.

Lifting concrete form tube after half filling with wet concrete
Lifting concrete form tube after half filling with wet concrete

And I’ll lay a 4×4 over these to check for level before I fill these three forms.

Checking level of deck framing
Checking level of deck framing

The next day I’ll add one of the middle joists. Now the framing is getting faster and easier. I’ll suspend this joist from a 4×4 laid over my first two. And I will let the ends run long as I’ll cut them all at once later. 

Lifting concrete form tube after half filling with wet concrete
Lifting concrete form tube after half filling with wet concrete
Shovelling wet concrete into tub for deck foundation
Shovelling wet concrete into tub for deck foundation

Adding the Rest of the Floating Deck Joists

And the day after that I’ll add three more joists. With the concrete set up I can now hang more joists at a time. 

Now with all my joists secured to concrete footings I can remove the support 4×4’s. I’ll snap a chalk line then trim each joist. Then attach the 2×6 rim joists.

Shovelling wet concrete into tub for deck foundation
Shovelling wet concrete into tub for deck foundation
Removing temporary 4x4's from deck frame construction
Removing temporary 4×4’s from deck frame construction
Snapping a chalk line along deck joists
Snapping a chalk line along deck joists

Trimming the Deck Joists

And I can repeat this on the west side. I messed up one joist and cut it too short. So I added a shim when I attached the rim joist.

Cutting 4x4 joist ends on deck
Cutting 4×4 joist ends on deck

The rim joist on the north end is cantilevered past the 4×4 a few inches. I’ll need to add some blocking to support it. This will hide the galvanized saddles from the 4×4 joist just behind it. And give the deck that floating look.

Hand saw ends of 4x4 deck joists
Hand saw ends of 4×4 deck joists
Screwing on ridge boards
Screwing on ridge boards

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