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448 posts

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# 170972 1-Apr-2015 09:04
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We've moved house and we want to build a deck. It's basically one step off the  ground - off hte main living area where an existing window will need to be converted to a door. All doable without consents. 

We're trying to figure  out whether this is a doable by an aspiring home handy man? My partner  has got the bug and bought some power tools, but hasn't actually ever built anything! 

The deck would be approx 36 square meters - wrapping around 2 sides of the house and need to be bolted to the house - I think. The land is clay. The area is coastal D so we will need to use stainless steel for screws and it's a high wind zone - but the deck it's self is sheltered. 

WE also want to have a spa on it - so will need extra joists/piles in that area. 

We can figure out the design, the joist spacing the technical stuff. But I have a gut feeling that it might be a little harder to get straight and true than the mitre 10 how to video makes out. 




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  # 1275084 1-Apr-2015 11:02
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I'll probably get slammed by the experts here, but I'll post anyway.

No, I wouldn't say decks were hard to build. If you're new to DIY it might not be the easiest project to cut your teeth on, but It'd be doable. Follow the guide you mentioned, stick to the building code and you should be all good. Might pay to check with the spa people as to the expected weight of the spa when full. You'll probably need longer piles, as well as more of them where the spa is going to sit. Maybe plan ahead for a bigger spa, just in case you upgrade to a flasher model down the line. Talk to the people at your local Mitre 10, and get a paper copy of their guide as well. The main things with DIY are: Check for permit/code requirements. Plan it out. Measure twice, cut once! Use your head, don't rush, don't cut corners and if you get stuck, it's okay to seek advice.

Are you replacing the window with a door yourselves, or getting a tradesmen in?

(Yes, I have built my own deck before, and also many other DIY projects. I've had the DIY bug since I was old enough to pick up a hammer.)

Enjoy it. NZ wouldn't be NZ without DIY.




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  # 1275090 1-Apr-2015 11:07
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I've been told by builders decks can't be attached to houses, if you do that you won't get it signed off. They can act as battering rams in an earthquake.

Can wooden piles reliably hold up a spa pool? A friend of mine just put one in, he put it on a concrete pad, but it's not on a deck.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1275093 1-Apr-2015 11:09
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simple decking is pretty easy as a project. you tend to have a lot more leeway with decking than with doing internal stuff where precise measurement is more important. i.e. if you screw it up, it's not hard to fix it without wrecking too much stuff.

 Just take your time and don't rush it.

If you can avoid having it bolted to the house it will be a lot easier and you are less likely to screw up your whole house's weather tightness. If it's only 1 step off the ground it shouldn't need to be bolted to the house.

Having a spa on top might cause some issues.  Not just because a spa requires consent, but also it means an inspection of the spa might 'uncover' places where you didn't quite build the deck to perfect spec if the inspector feels like being a douchebag.

(you definitely want the door/window conversion done by a professional though.  Hanging doors is a major PITA and can look terrible if not done well)





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  # 1275095 1-Apr-2015 11:10
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timmmay: I've been told by builders decks can't be attached to houses, if you do that you won't get it signed off. They can act as battering rams in an earthquake.

Can wooden piles reliably hold up a spa pool? A friend of mine just put one in, he put it on a concrete pad, but it's not on a deck.


1) decks can definitely be attached to houses - in fact for tall decks you absolutely want them to be for support.  for shorter decks it's less important.

2) wooden piles can hold up a whole house (source: most houses in NZ), so I'm pretty sure they can hold up a spa.


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  # 1275101 1-Apr-2015 11:15
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NonprayingMantis:
timmmay: I've been told by builders decks can't be attached to houses, if you do that you won't get it signed off. They can act as battering rams in an earthquake.

Can wooden piles reliably hold up a spa pool? A friend of mine just put one in, he put it on a concrete pad, but it's not on a deck.


1) decks can definitely be attached to houses - in fact for tall decks you absolutely want them to be for support.  for shorter decks it's less important.

2) wooden piles can hold up a whole house (source: most houses in NZ), so I'm pretty sure they can hold up a spa.



That's just what I was told, could be wrong.

There's a useful guide to decks here, which mentions it.

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  # 1275111 1-Apr-2015 11:20
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Agree with the suggestion by NonprayingMantis above to try and avoid attaching the deck to the house. It can be done, but for the deck you describe it shouldn't need to be and I think requires consent if you do?

ETA: Slow typing on the phone! The doc linked to by timmmay I believe mentions that attaching the deck to the house requires consent.




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  # 1275132 1-Apr-2015 11:49
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If the deck is only one step off the ground I'd suggest you think about putting the spa on the ground (i.e. on a concrete pad).  Makes getting in and out a little easier and maybe saves a bit of hassle building.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1275229 1-Apr-2015 13:05
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I would read through this document

http://www.branz.co.nz/cms_show_download.php?id=8512a7859e6d3dc3332a4caef0fb1ae8aec568f2

If you are going to attach it to the house there needs to be a gap between the external wall and the deck for drainage 12mm from memory.

If you are going to want to support a spa pool remember it's a kilo for every litre plus the weight of the pool, plus the weight of the people so you will be looking at about 2,500kg in total (depending on the size of the pool).  It also may have implications on the timber you can use.  It might be easier as suggested above to pour a concrete pad first and build the deck around it.

Good luck and post photos when you are done.





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  # 1275235 1-Apr-2015 13:15
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NonprayingMantis:  Just take your time and don't rush it.


+1 for that.

While I haven't built a new deck from scratch I did have to rip up our old decking and replace it with new decking (7mx7m). It was hard work and patience is a must. We used a nail gun to nail the decking down. The main lengths of the decking were easy but occasionally I split the end of the decking if I was rushing (in hindsight, drilling and nailing by hand would have been better for the ends).

Also if at all possible trim the edges in one go (with a circular saw?). We measured and cut each length but still ended up with uneven ends. That's my biggest regret.

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  # 1275241 1-Apr-2015 13:22
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Mitre 10 actually have some good videos, and Bunnings have some good deck building guides. You never attach the deck structure to the house, there must be a seperation gap. I believe if you do attach a deck to the house, you would need a building consent, as it then becomes part of the house structure. You would also need to show it is all flashed correctly etc, so that the connections don't cause the house to leak.. I would suggest talking to the council anyway, just incase there is something you need to be aware of. eg you may have council services running under it etc.

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  # 1275281 1-Apr-2015 13:48
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tchart:

Also if at all possible trim the edges in one go (with a circular saw?). We measured and cut each length but still ended up with uneven ends. That's my biggest regret.


Yeah, and maybe leave the trimming for a few weeks for the timber to dry out, so when you trim it doesn't shrink back behind the edge of the joist

Wife & I did our first DIY and built a 26 m2 deck over christmas.

Got advice from some mates, but designed & built ourselves. - Took longer than expected, but we are happy with the result.
I attached to the house, as it was much easier them doing a line of piles that close to the house.





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  # 1275289 1-Apr-2015 13:55
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tchart:
NonprayingMantis:  Just take your time and don't rush it.


+1 for that.

While I haven't built a new deck from scratch I did have to rip up our old decking and replace it with new decking (7mx7m). It was hard work and patience is a must. We used a nail gun to nail the decking down. The main lengths of the decking were easy but occasionally I split the end of the decking if I was rushing (in hindsight, drilling and nailing by hand would have been better for the ends).

Also if at all possible trim the edges in one go (with a circular saw?). We measured and cut each length but still ended up with uneven ends. That's my biggest regret.


even better, have an edge piece.  
Ideally you don't want cut ends exposed to the elements, so if you have the patience doing something like this is much better for edging, (and also looks neat too)


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  # 1275292 1-Apr-2015 13:56
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I would ask a builder mate to at least help out. I'm hopeless at DIY, especially anything involving power tools and precise measurements and cuts. Having seen some shoddy home jobs in my time compared to decks built by builders I would definitely hit up a mate to help.

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  # 1275316 1-Apr-2015 14:17
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If you're going to use decking timber, lay it so the 'ridged' side is facing down. Contrary to popular belief, the ridges aren't for grip, they're for drainage.



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  # 1275320 1-Apr-2015 14:17
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Wow thanks so much for  all these helpful comments!  No way we are attempted the window replacement - that's definitely out of the comfort zone! In fact will probably get that done after the deck - in case there is any accidents with bits of lumber! 

That BRANZ book is really helpful thanks. 

I htought the cantelevering would be easier than piles right next to the house too.  I think we'd run a board along the concrete foundations - under the hardiplank- so I can't see any risk to the structure. 

RE the spa and council - hmmm I was kinda not planning on installing the spa until any  Council inspections had occurred ...  This being a private outdoor area in our mainly fenced property, I'm not too worried about the drowning hazard to trespassers - and obviously it will have a lid. We are having other word done though which may require consent so I just have to get the order of things right. The deck itself definitely doesn't need a consent though - I'm sure of that. 

We had a buidler build a deck at a previous property - and which was curved  -and yeah he didn't trim the boards until the very end - then he just gave it a haircut! 

I was thinking about the concert pad thing as well for the spa-  the problem  would be  if/when we needed to access the pump for maintenance - but maybe we could build some sort of hatch... The spa is a small one 1200 x 1900 2 person one - so certainly not as heavy as some! Or maybe not wrap the deck around the corner the spa will be positioned in... More design thinking required!




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