New Deck

I know this has been covered akin to beating a dead horse but I have a few questions that have not really been asked.
I am looking to put in a simple deck of at least 1000 square feet (subject to change depending on cost). Single level and no stairs. I live near Chicago so the temp and humidity swings are on the high end (in the 90s in the summer and 0 at night during the winter are not uncommon). The deck will be no more than 18 inches from the ground....
I have seen posts concerning the various decking materials. Ipe would seem to be my most logical choice but I am intrigued about redwood but have seen very few posts on it as a decking surface. Has anyone used new or recycled redwood for a deck?
Trex and the like would also make sense but I have seen a few posts about mold and swelling...things I can live without. Also, my 3 and 4 year old boys as well as my 80lb dog would be sure to scratch it and I don't think the surface would take it well.
Now...my questions..
Will the fact that the deck is close to the ground make for trouble? This area is in a flood plain and water accumulates pretty easily. The decking would not be submerged but the ground would eminate humidity for days after (part of the reason for the deck...so the kids can be in the back yard and not track so much mud into the house).
Bugs and other critters. Since I will not have access to the underside, how so I make sure I am not constantly battling a war with insects that might decide to take up residence under the decking?
Grills. I am getting a grill and am wondering how the Trex type of material would handle indirect heat.
Thanks
Dave
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1000 sq. ft. = a simple deck..........sorry that's not a simple deck by any stretch, add the price of redwood and you're going to need a second mortgage. Treated wood with little kids isn't a good idea anymore. If you can find it I might go with white cedar. It can be imported from Canada easy enough although tarrifs add to the cost, but I have found it hard to locate here in the Northeast. But anyway you look at it 1000 sq. ft. is going to be a lot of lumber.
Dave

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Like Dave said, this is going to require a lot of lumber but that is just the beginning. A deck this large will also require MANY MANY footings and with your frost line, they are going to need to be deep (probably around 4 feet) and this also gets expensive and time consuming.

I built a 550 square foot deck and even at that, redwood was way out of my price range.

My deck is a two level and the smaller hot tub level is done in trex (to avoid splinters) and it is tuffer than you might think( and also quite expensive).

18 inches should be ok provided you use the proper materials and the underside of the deck is ventilated. My property has a down-grade from left to right and that puts one side of my deck about 4 inches above the ground and I still have no problems.

There is no way to stop that. To cut it back on my deck, I removed all of the grass where the deck was going to be. After I pored my footings, I covered the whole area with landscaping fabric (landscaping plastic near the house) and then buried it under about 3 inches of crushed gravel. This did an excellent job of preventing weeds from growing under the deck and significantly reduced the insect population. Crickets seem to like that so once or maybe twice during the season, I open the side screens and give it a shot of insecticide.

Well think about it, heat rises so unless your grills cooking area is only inches above or below the decking, it is highly unlikely to ever see any of that heat. The one thing that you might want to be a little concerned with is hot hamburger grease getting on it.

Good luck.
--
If at first you don't succeed, you're not cut out for skydiving




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Simple meaning that it is rectangular and one level with no stairs. Just lots of horizontal surface.
I also went to the village today and found out that they require that I use a minimum of 2x8s for supports. Also they mention something about bolting the deck to the beam sections but I don't quite understand that....
Thanks...I will check out the cedar.

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I would suggest that you DO NOT use 2 X 8's, they will require far too many footings for the size of your deck.
--
If at first you don't succeed, you're not cut out for skydiving

"Ringo" < snipped-for-privacy@kmfms.com> wrote in message
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(remove NS to use the address) 614.937.0463 voice 208.975.1011 fax
http://worthingtonengineering.com
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LOL, yea, I realized that as a possibility after I posted it, but then it is too late to correct it.
--
If at first you don't succeed, you're not cut out for skydiving




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snipped-for-privacy@kmfms.com (Ringo) wrote

Cedar is soft and does tend to rot or check over time. Plus it grows moss and needs to be cleaned frequently. A pressure washer is the easiest way to do this but will damage the soft cedar. So for all those reasons and if you have any ecological conscience at all I would definitly check out the various mam-made materials. Trex will hold up under dog and kid use much better than cedar and you can pressure wash it or scrub it without so much risk of damage. Plus no rot or moisture damage undeneath. and it is substancially cheaper and needs no finishing/refinishing.
Structurally decks need to be designed for 60 pounds per sq" (check locally) which translates into a pretty substancial investment. Do not attach it directly to the house. Telling you that you must use 2x8's is pretty meaningless. Do the design based on the 60psf and economy of construction. Your biggest expense after the decking will be the footings so minimize the number of them and go for larger dim joist and beams.
Mike
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Am sure you will get lots of response, Dave (Ringo?) . . .
. . . especially about redwood. (If you have a source for recycled redwood, I'd certainly look into that first thing.) You say "deck" and most folks get an immediate mind-picture of redwood.
Can you get cypress where you live?
Reading over your post and your expressed concerns, expected use, etc., my first thought turns to "Why a deck?"
You can achieve what you seek with a permanent solution having virtually none of the concerns you have. For only 18", why not build a terrace? It doesn't all have to be surfaced. Grass, etc., does fine. A 1000 sf deck floating at near grade is going to look a bit strange except as a bathhouse floor, etc.
I believe you'll find sufficient fill for a 1000 sf surface, gently sloped for surface drainage (which you'll need anyway) and reliance on angle of repose or whatever for support and integration into the landscape will not only be far more comfortable, more "residential," more friendly to your own environment (oxygen, cooling, etc.), easier to maintain (just mow or rake), more permanent (no rot, no mold, no refinishing, no cleaning out underneath, no rodent problems, no retained moisture, no hidden pools, etc., etc., etc.)
A 1000 sf deck without major transitions and grade elevation changes is going to be harsh, out-of-scale with the typical residence and yard environment, not nearly so flexible as a terrace, not nearly as attractive as almost any alternative, even with retaining walls. In addition to a very real cleaning and maintenance tedium, your deck will cost you more than a terrace and likely will be of no added value on resale . . . likely even a liability.
Just a thought.
Jim l
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The space that I have in our back yard is 50 X 48. There is grass now but there are a few problems...
1) The rear left corner is occupied by a pretty large mulberry tree. This tree (which I cut back drastically last fall) provides shade for much of the back yard. So much so that grass does not grow very well. When I had the tree cut back, I did with grass growth in mind so this may not be so much of an issue when srping arrives here. The corner that the tree resides in also collects a great deal of water when it rains due so a small sloping grade. The four yards that meet there also have the same problem in the same adjoining area. I would also like to give the dog a strict area to go to the bathroom so I don't have issues with kids and dog crap. That corner would be ideal. The right hand corner of the yard will be taken up by a playground apparatus.
I am hoping to also make a shed on one side of the house and put that on part of the deck to house various kid and adult items.
Now, I would really like pavers but getting enough dirt back there (there is only 5 feet on each side of the house so squeeze through) to raise the entire grade enough to not have water issues my be difficult.
Add to this the fact that I am not really into mowing grass or taking care of plants...
What exactly do you mean by terrace?
Thanks
Dave
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won't have to be ". . . into mowing grass . . . " to keep it acceptable. Plant a draught tollerent grass, don't water it, and nature will keep it growing but not too much.

pavers or whatever and not water with rice growing in it. But, both the pattie and your yard will be like you intend your deck to be: level. That is what terraces are: level areas (divided by or surrounded by or adjacent to areas not level or at different elevations . . . like the rice patties. They are terraced.)

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I musta been crazy about that "thought" to have posted it twice. Somehow, I've done that several times lately. Really should learn how to work this contraption. Sorry, folks.
Jim
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you are looking at about $25k + depending on your wood choice.
bob marencin www.yourepair.com

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