Are you looking for a way to make your rented house feel more like home, but you don’t want to waste your money improving someone else’s property?
Or perhaps you have a creative, adventurous side and you like to change up your property’s appearance every few months.
Well, here’s an excellent solution for you: a portable deck.
Not only are portable decks easy to build, they are also easy to maintain. Plus, they’re mobile, so you can move them around when you get tired of having your weekly barbeque in the same location. You can even build a custom portable deck for your RV to make it feel more like home.
So how do you build a portable deck? We have some important steps for you to follow. Let’s get started.
Step 1: Determine Your Deck Specifications
Before you start building, you need to do proper planning. By following our easy building strategy, you can save a lot of time, money, and frustration.
The first thing you’ll want to do is determine the size of your deck. This includes the width, length and height of the entire section that you’re going to build.
You should also decide whether your deck is going to be ground-level or elevated. This will determine whether you’ll need extra material to build a strong enough support structure for your deck. Also, keep in mind that you may need to add a few steps if you want your deck to be a bit higher off the ground.
Once you have these specifications, you can calculate exactly how much material you’ll need and what your entire project is going to cost you.
Do add handrails if you’re going to build an elevated deck to ensure safety.
Don’t aim for a large deck that’s going to be difficult to manage or move.
For the purpose of this demonstration, we’ll guide you on building a ground-level deck that’s four feet by four feet.
Step 2: Get the Necessary Materials
Once you’ve determined the size of your deck, it’s time to pick the right decking material.
Though composite decking has become very popular over the last few years, it can be quite expensive. Plus, it’s not as durable as treated lumber and unfortunately cannot be refinished. Therefore, if you decide to build a composite deck, you should be prepared to replace damaged planks instead of repairing them.
However, if you choose to go with wood, you can enjoy your portable deck for years to come.
Do maintain whichever material you choose according to the manufacturer’s specifications. This will significantly increase the lifespan of your deck.
Don’t choose a material just because it’s the cheaper option. By comparing all the aspects such as durability, repairability, maintenance costs, etc. you may find that some less expensive materials end up costing you more in the long run.
In the next few steps, we’ll tell you how to proceed in building your deck using the following tools and materials:
- A circular saw
- A screw gun
- 4×4 wood posts
- 2×6 wood panels
- 3” deck screws
Step 3: Build a Support Structure
Before you can build your deck surface, you need to ensure that you have a durable support structure to hold the weight of the deck.
Using a circular saw, cut out four 48-inch lengths of the 2×6 wood posts, and three 46-inch lengths.
Lay the 48-inch posts down on their narrow sides to form a square, and place the three 46-inch posts inside the box – also with their narrow sides facing down. Ensure that there’s an equal distance between the inside posts, and use your screw gun and deck screws to fasten them to the outlining posts.
Do make sure that the screws are inserted straight to ensure that the supporting frame is rigid.
Don’t use screws that are shorter than three inches as this will make your frame flimsy.
Step 4: Cut and Secure Your Deck Planks
To make your deck planks, use a circular saw to cut the 2×6 wood panels into 48-inch lengths. Eight pieces should be enough.
Next, you’re going to lay the planks on top of your supporting frame. Place them next to each other with the broad side facing down. Ensure that any spaces between the planks are even, and secure them to the frame with screws.
Do remember that wood has a tendency to expand and contract, so it’s a good idea to leave a small gap between the planks.
Don’t exceed the width of your supporting frame. Only add enough planks to cover the area of your base.
Step 5: Add Legs to Support Your Frame
Once you’ve secured your planks to the supporting base, cut four eight-inch legs from the leftover 4×4 pieces. Then, flip the entire structure over and use screws to secure a leg into each corner.
Do ensure that each leg is the exact same size so that you don’t end up with an uneven deck.
Don’t make the legs too long, as you will then need to add extra support to your deck.
Step 6: Protect Your Deck
Lastly, you need to add a protective layer to your deck to ensure its longevity.
To do this, flip it back over and remove any saw dust and other dirt or debris with a broom, brush, or vacuum cleaner. Once you’re sure that the surface is clean and free from any particles that may interfere with adhesion, you can apply a thin layer of sealant. This will protect your deck against moisture.
Leave the sealant to dry for at least 24 hours, and then apply a stain of your choice for some extra color and protection.
Leave it to dry one last time for 24 hours and then place it in your desired location.
Do use a vinyl cover to protect your deck from extreme weather conditions such as rain and snow.
Don’t walk or place furniture on your deck before the stain or sealant has completely dried.
Though you don’t generally need a building permit for this type of deck, it won’t hurt to check with your city’s building department before you take on this project. In some areas, you may have to adhere to certain zoning regulations that restrict the placement and size of any structures on your property.