Custom Details Make a Better Deck
Smart framing eliminates the ledger and adds a shady seat.
Synopsis: A deck makes a great addition to a house, but that attractive curb-appeal enhancer can bring some problems, notably the trick of attaching it to the house. If done improperly or carelessly, a deck ledger can lead to rotten house framing. Montana builder Michael Ayers has figured out a way to avoid that hassle: He builds decks freestanding, eliminating the ledger and the risk to the house. Instead, Ayers takes care to regulate the deck’s spacing from the house while keeping the deck close enough to be able to be used directly from the house. In the project featured in this article, Ayers also builds in benches to provide cozy seating and a pergola above to help shade the sun.
Decks often are referred to as outdoor rooms, and this added living space can receive as much furnishing attention as any room in the house. These outdoor rooms are subject to outdoor weather, though, which affects durability and usability. Most homeowners accept the fact that they won’t be able to use an outdoor room in December, but they expect to be able to use the deck full time in August. Even in cold climates like Montana’s, the August sun gets hot. Shady seating can be provided with store-bought chairs, benches, and umbrellas, but a more elegant option is to build in the seating and the shading. A pergola is an attractive way to create shade, and as long as you’re building one, why not add some benches to sit on underneath?
Freestanding decks don’t cause rot
One of the most difficult aspects of decks is how to attach them to a house without allowing water to infiltrate house framing. When my crew and I dug in to the house featured here, we found considerable…