Low Profile Deck Building Problems

For those of you who don't know what a low-profile deck is, it would be any deck that is built within 12 inches of the ground. If you're seriously thinking about building a deck that is going to be closer than 12 inches to the soil, I would like to share something with you.

It's going to be very important to keep the structural wood deck framing at least 6 inches from the soil. This usually creates a big problem, for any wood deck that is going to be built within 12 inches from the ground.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about, let's say that you're going to use 2 x 6 deck joist and 4 x 6 structural support beams. Each one of these structural components will be at least 5 1/2 inches wide.

Our 2 x 6 deck joist plus our 4 x 6 structural support beams added together will equal 11 inches by themselves. Once we add an additional inch and a half for our wood decking, you're looking at 12 1/2 inches overall.

This means that your low-profile deck will actually sit below ground level by a half-inch. This could create problems, even if you remove the dirt below your new deck. It wouldn't be a bad idea to install a drainage system underneath your low-profile deck to prevent water damage to the structural framing.

If your low-profile deck isn't built properly, you could find yourself replacing the entire structural supports within a few years. I've seen too many low-profile decks built by inexperienced do-it-yourselfers and even contractors, that don't know any better.

Let's reiterate what I was talking about. The first thing that you need to remember, is to make sure that your soil isn't any closer than 6 inches from any wood and the second thing you need to remember is to make sure that water doesn't get trapped underneath your low-profile deck.


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