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How High Off The Ground Should A Wood Deck Be

You can install your deck in a beautiful part of your yard and take in the scenery. However, you should remember a few things in mind before constructing your deck. One should consider the height between the ground and deck. We've thoroughly researched this topic and found the best information to share.

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In almost all instances, you will need a deck structure at least seven inches above the ground. It may level sloping areas, raise your floors above wet or problematic regions, and conceal aging structures like concrete slabs. Ensure that your deck is sufficiently elevated for airflow to avoid damage to your substructure and fixtures caused by moisture.

Decks afford you space to enjoy your property and time spent outdoors. There are a few planning considerations to keep in mind to ensure you get the most out of your deck. This article will also discuss whether one should or shouldn't allow the gap between deck and ground, whether the deck should be level with your house, and which is better between nails or screws for constructing decks. Continue reading to find out the answers to these exciting questions.

Decking above storage area with wheelbarrow and tools, How High Off The Ground Should A Wood Deck Be

Gap Between Ground And Wood Deck

Decks are an excellent addition to your living space, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors without leaving the comfort of your house. In addition to providing additional outside living space, the correct deck can enhance your home's square footage and, consequently, its value. 

In addition to its benefits, elevated decks can have problems. Your deck's durability, performance, and longevity depend heavily on the materials you employ. Choose sturdy and high-quality materials for this worthwhile home improvement to maximize its return.

Wood decking requires a gap between the substructure and the ground. Having at least 7 inches of ground clearance is recommended to provide adequate airflow.

So many variables are at play that even the most resourceful homeowners may experience difficulties constructing their decks. Lack of ventilation is the primary cause of failure for deck construction. 

Ventilation is of equal importance for decks. Adequate airflow is essential beneath a deck to prevent moisture accumulation, damaging the substructure and fixtures.

pile foundation of a frame house. steel piles screwed into the ground

Without free-flowing air, the temperature beneath the decking can reach dangerously high levels. Decking must be removed from the water and have adequate ventilation to transport excess moisture and temperature away from the underside of the decking.

Also, surface water must naturally drain away to prevent decay and swelling of the wood. Moisture is one of the reasons why composite decking should be raised.

Moisture on the exposed surface of the boards can evaporate. However, moisture beneath the boards is retained. Constant humidity may lead to mold, rot, and decay. 

Ground contact increases the levels of moisture and fungi beyond those of conventional decking treatments. Ensure your deck is sufficiently elevated for airflow so the earth can dry off.

Should Deck Boards Touch The Ground?

A pedestrian road made of boards, a path for walking in the park, an eco trail in the countryside, care for the environment

A well-constructed deck must have space between boards to allow the wood to drain, dry, expand, and contract without suffering harm. You must also leave the appropriate size gap because too much gap becomes a safety problem.

But, it is possible to construct a deck directly on the ground under certain conditions. 

You must construct a deck from ground-contact wood, and the foundation must be designed for minimal height. 

Experts recommend MoistureShield Composite Decking to be installed on the ground. This kind of decking may be put in the ground and last for decades.

Every wood fiber in their products is encased in recycled plastic to provide optimum protection against the elements, even when in direct touch with the ground or submerged. This process renders the material resistant to deformation, water absorption, insect damage, and more.

You may install MoistureShield Composite Decking on soil or grass. Using this installation method, the deck board may contact the ground without affecting performance. However, you can further protect the wood by applying a unique oil-based finish to each panel before installation.

Click here to see this Minwax oil-based wood stain on Amazon.

Should A Deck Be Completely Level With Your House?

Composite deck in house backyard. Brown boards, white railing posts and veranda

If you are attaching a deck to a property with a doorway, you will likely want to set the deck height to match the floor level off the deck. But, your deck should never be level with your house. This is due to the issue of water damage.

If your deck is the same height as your house, you make it easy for water to enter and cause damage. Water will erode foundations, corrode door frames, and make it much more challenging to maintain a hardwood deck. A deck does not have to be tied to a house. In the majority of instances, a deck should have a slope. 

A minor slope away from the house is recommended for decks to direct water away from the house. In severe rainfall, every inch matters regarding water and your home's foundation.

Should I Nail Or Screw Deck Boards?

Strong hands preparing wooden boards in construction work outside in bright sunlight

Deck screws are superior to nails for constructing a deck. Screws have greater holding strength, securing your deck planks to the framing. They attach your decking correctly and prevent it from warping. 

Screws are the preferred decking fasteners because you can drive them into the wood rapidly and with little effort using a power driver. Having screws is a massive advantage because you can withdraw them without damaging the wood. Because of its threaded design, it is less prone to pop out under pressure.

Click here to see these assorted screws on Amazon.

However, screws are more fragile than nails. They are not adept at twisting. Using a hammer, you could drive nails rapidly, whereas screws required pilot holes and cumbersome manual drivers.

Nails are the quickest alternative for deck construction. You must use nails for structural parts and joists unless you utilize more costly structural screws.

When handled poorly, nails might harm your decking planks. The most important reason to never nail down decking boards is that nails will explode over time, tearing your stockings and destroying your deck.

Click here to see these assorted nails on Amazon.

Using a combination of nails and screws is also advisable when constructing a deck. If you examine numerous projects, you will find that nails are required for some sections, but others are best done with screws. Both screws and nails are reliable ways of installing decking planks.

How Long Will A Wood Deck Last?

Ipe wood deck, modern house design with wooden patio, low angle view of tropical hardwood decking

If you look after your deck and perform the necessary maintenance, it can survive for 10 to 15 years. Wood is vulnerable to warping and decay regardless of how well it is treated. There is no way to guarantee that your deck will never become damp.

The longevity of your wood deck will depend on the type of wood you select and how well you adhere to wood's maintenance requirements. Wooden decks are the most common type of deck available. 

Oiling the wood will preserve its stunning color and accentuate its attractive texture. Additionally, while working with softwoods, you should use a brush to apply a water sealant to all of the spaces between your deck boards to prevent rot.

You may ask why a wooden deck does not survive as long as the other wood constructions in your home. A roof will not protect your deck from the weather, so it will need to be replaced eventually.

In Closing

Decking above storage area with wheelbarrow and tools

Wooden decks are an excellent method to improve the natural beauty of a home while also making it appear larger for an outdoor living area you can utilize. Outstanding construction is always essential.

You now know that moisture and poor ventilation are the greatest threats to a low deck. Sealing wood decking will reduce moisture and damage before installation, especially on the bottom. Sealing the decking before installation will help keep the decking dry, extending its lifespan.

Regardless of the deck you choose to build, the most vital aspect of its building is selecting a dependable contractor to assist you with the entire process. Decks can be an excellent investment, so it makes sense that you would want a knowledgeable and experienced professional to lead you through the process with minimal stress.

Discuss with your contractor the use of water-resistant materials and pressure-treated wood, as well as the addition of waterproofing seals to the support joists, to ensure that the deck's height does not expose it to water-related issues.

We hope that you now have the confidence to tackle this backyard project. Don't forget to maintain your deck by routinely power-washing and staining or to paint the decking boards to extend their lifespan. If you feel inspired, check out these other related posts about deck boards:

How Much Space Between Deck Boards?

What Deck Height Requires A Railing? [Code Requirements]