Home Improvement | 4 August 2015Make a More Interesting Deck with Deck Insets Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Source – HomeSkills Building Decks So you’re looking at your back yard thinking how nice a patio would be. But, you have some nice trees, and you are concerned that the earth moving and patio construction might harm them. (You are correct to be concerned, the majority of a tree’s roots are in the top twelve inches of soil and typically spread well past the drip line.) Why not build a low deck around the trees? This creates a very special outdoor area and is not any more difficult than standard deck building. Plus, you will only be disturbing the tree roots at the footing locations. HomeSkills Building Decks has all the information you need for creating this and many other unique deck features. Source – HomeSkills Building Decks The same methods used to frame around a preexisting obstacle also can be used to create a decorative or functional inset feature, such as a planter box, child’s sandbox, or brick barbecue. On a larger scale, the same framing techniques can be used to enclose a hot tub or above-ground pool. A framed opening can also provide access to a utility fixture, such as a water faucet, electrical outlet, or central air-conditioning compressor. Covering a framed opening with a removable hatch preserves the smooth, finished look of your deck. How to Create A Deck Inset Source – HomeSkills Building Decks Modify your deck plan, if necessary, to provide the proper support for the interrupted joists in the inset opening. If the inset will interrupt one or two joists, frame both sides of the opening with double joists. If the opening is larger, you may need to install additional beams and posts around the opening to provide adequate support. Consult your building inspector for specific requirements for your situation. Source – HomeSkills Building Decks Rough-frame the opening by using double joist hangers to install double joists on each side of the inset, and double headers between these joists. Install the interrupted joists between the double headers and the rim joist and ledger. Source – HomeSkills Building Decks Where needed, cut and install angled nailing blocks between the joists and headers to provide additional support for the decking boards. When trimmed, decking boards may overhang support members by as much as 4″ around an inset opening. Source – HomeSkills Building Decks Lay the decking boards so the ends overhang the rough opening. Make a cardboard template to draw a cutting line on the deck boards. (When framing for a tree, check with a tree nursery for adequate opening size to provide space for growth.) Cut the decking boards along the marked line, using a jigsaw. Unattached deckboards can also be cut to curved profiles with a jigsaw. As part of our comprehensive HomeSkills DIY series, HomeSkills: Building Decks takes the fear out of adding the perfect outdoor element to your house. There’s a reason that deck building is the most popular do-it-yourself home improvement undertaking today: not only are decks an attractive, customizable component of classic American construction, they also allow for entertainment and relaxation in a way that indoor spaces simply can’t. So if your house is already in top working order, and your lawn is looking mighty green this year, chances are there’s only one thing missing—a deck. Fortunately, with all the innovative new products and materials coming onto the market, decks are easier to self-design and build than ever before. As it turns out, you’re only one how-to book away from creating the deck of your dreams. In HomeSkills: Building Decks, the expert editors of Cool Springs Press join forces to cover every aspect of deck building, providing streamlined project descriptions with crystal-clear photos that leave no room for guesswork. You’ll learn how to plan and design, then select materials, dig postholes, hang joists, and install the decking itself. We even cover stairs, railings, overheads, and extra accessories like screens and arbors. With 300 illustrations and 10 supplementary diagrams, one thorough book prevents two things from collapsing: you and your shiny new deck. And that’s good for all of us. Check out our five other HomeSkills guides on carpentry, landscaping, plumbing, tiling, and wiring. Buy from an Online Retailer Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.