Build a Beautiful Low Profile Floating Deck

Adding the Deck Rim Joists

Snapping a chalk line along deck joists
Snapping a chalk line along deck joists
Cutting 4x4 joist ends on deck
Cutting 4×4 joist ends on deck
Hand saw ends of 4x4 deck joists
Hand saw ends of 4×4 deck joists
Fitting rim joist to low profile deck frame
Fitting rim joist to low profile floating deck frame
Fitting rim joist to low profile deck frame
Fitting rim joist to low profile deck frame
Adding blocking to cantilevered rim joist on deck
Adding blocking to cantilevered rim joist on deck
Fitting rim joist to low profile deck frame
Fitting rim joist to low profile deck frame
Finished low profile deck framing under Garden Pavilion
Finished low profile deck framing under Garden Pavilion

And now finally the frame is done.

Prep the Deck Boards

I have a stack of 2×6 fir boards that were milled from trees that we felled on our property. These have air dried for two years and will be used for the decking. They were cut one and a half inches thick so I can space my joists around 24″ without worrying about any flex in these deck boards.

Bucking logs of crooked Grand Fir tree to mill length with chainsaw
Bucking logs of crooked Grand Fir tree to mill length with chainsaw

This variety of Fir, Grand Fir, is not known for it’s rot resistance so I’ll keep the deck within the drip line of the pavilion roof to try and keep the wood dry as much as possible.

Selecting air-dried Grand Fir boards for deck project
Selecting air-dried Grand Fir boards for deck project
Clamping rough milled deck boards to sawhorse jig
Clamping rough milled deck boards to sawhorse jig

Wood is expensive so you have to sometimes use what you got. 

Chamfering rough milled deck boards with power plane
Chamfering rough milled deck boards with power plane

I have the stack of grand fir deck boards to prep before I can screw them to the frame. I’ll be cutting a chamfer on their edges and sanding the saw marks left by the mill.

Sanding rough milled deck boards with orbital sander
Sanding rough milled deck boards with orbital sander

I made a jig to make this faster and easier. Across two end-to-end sawhorses I attached a board with a slot in each end. This slot allows me to slide a clamp onto the board to secure them while I chamfer. This jig will give me full clearance for the power plane along each edge. And the slot cut in the jig allows for variations in the length of the boards.

I also trim one end square and chamfer it as well. And I can use the orbital sander for this.

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Cut end of deck board square
Cut end of deck board square

So that was my day. One by one I prepped and sorted these boards. 

Crushed Gravel added under Deck Frame

We picked up a yard of crushed gravel and shovelled and raked that around under the frame. And that went pretty fast. I’m hoping that the gravel will help with drainage and dry faster under the deck. 

Add gravel under deck frame
Add gravel under deck frame

Quite a few of my deck boards were severely crooked. And being one and a half inch thick fir they would be a challenge to straighten. But before I started laying them down I wanted to apply a coat of stain first. And that finished off a long and productive day. 

Crooked deck boards
Crooked deck boards

Staining the Deck Boards

Staining deck boards with roller
Staining deck boards with roller

I

Notching the Deck Boards

‘ll need to notch the deck boards around the concrete piers and I can do that with circular saw and jig saw.

Jigsaw used to remove excess deck board material
Jigsaw used to remove excess deck board material

I picked my straightest boards to get a good start with. I found some hooked metal bars to use as board spacers. At 3/16 thick they were perfect for what I needed. I added a small block of wood to the looped part so they would stay in place while a ran in screws.

Fitting deck board around concrete pier
Fitting deck board around concrete pier
Attack deck boards to joist with self-drilling GRK screws
Attack deck boards to joist with self-drilling GRK screws

At the beginning I simply used a pipe clamp to straighten any boards with a mild crook. 

Straighten the Deck Boards

Pipe clamp corrects deck board crook
Pipe clamp corrects deck board crook
Attack deck boards to joist with self-drilling GRK screws
Attack deck boards to joist with self-drilling GRK screws
Fitting deck board around concrete pier
Fitting deck board around concrete pier
Fitting deck board around concrete pier
Fitting deck board around concrete pier

It took some time to make the cuts around the piers so I had a slow start to the day. It didn’t feel like I was making any progress — until I could get into the middle section of the deck.

Pipe clamp used to straighten deck board
Pipe clamp used to straighten deck board

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