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How to Expand Your Outdoor Deck Space?

Monday, November 13, 2023

When you’re lounging and entertaining on your outdoor deck, does it feel like the space isn’t big enough? Want to transform your outdoor area and extend your outdoor deck space? Maybe it’s time to consider building a deck extension. If you want to make your outdoor space bigger, you can add areas that are just right for the kinds of things you do there.

There are a number of ways you can add or change the layout of your outdoor deck. If you want to avoid more construction in the future, it’s best to choose an option that is durable and requires little maintenance.

Ways to Expand Your Outdoor Deck

Before expanding your deck, you should know what kind of expansion you want. There are three ways you can start:

Same Level Deck Extension

The same level means that the new deck is the same height as the old one. You can make the deck longer, wider, or both.

Same Level Deck Extension

Bucking Extension

A buck extension is the addition of a lower secondary floor or a step-down. To do this, you’ll need to leave enough space under the existing deck to install boards, joists, and support beams. Adding new joists to the bottom of the old support beams is usually possible, provided the support beams are the right size. Check with your city or town’s building department for building codes.


Boost Extension

A lift extension adds an extra height or step up to the deck. Since the new substructure framing will be built on top of the old substructure, you need to make sure that the old substructure is solid.


Things to Consider Before Expanding Your Deck

When expanding your deck, you need to consider the stability of the foundation, the appearance of the new deck, the cost of the materials, the longevity of the materials, and how the new deck boards will fit into the old deck.

There are similarities and differences between making a new deck and expanding an old one. For example, consider the longevity of the deck. If the outdoor deck is old or not well-maintained, you may need to decide between an expansion and a full rebuild.

Construction Rules and Permits

Before expanding your deck, you should check with your local building department. Some places may not allow additions. Regardless of the building codes in your area, having a thorough plan will help you get a permit to build.

You may also want to bring along some photos of your deck to help give you an idea of what it will look like. Before a permit is issued, inspectors usually look at the current permit and inspection records for the deck. They may also require an as-built framing inspection to ensure the deck is in good condition.


Existing Deck Substructure

Many decks are not built with the future expansion of the deck in mind. This means that your foundation may not be large enough to handle the added weight of the addition. In this case, you will need to separate the framing of the expanded deck from the old framing. To support the addition, this means installing new beams and footings.

Deck Joists and Beams

Some deck builders choose to lay new boards on top of the old beams and then erect new beams in front of the old deck. Crossbeam joists are nailed to the sides of the existing joists and extend at least 6 inches beyond the crossbeams. Hurricane ties are used to create a strong connection between the joists and the crossbeam.

In order to carry the extra weight, you may need to install new struts and footings under the existing deck crossmembers. When people expand their deck, they usually repair the deck boards and railings on the old deck at the same time. This will make the expanded deck look smoother and there will be no noticeable color differences or wear between the materials.

Expanding a Deck Yourself vs. Hiring a Professional

To help you decide whether to expand your deck yourself or hire a professional, you should have a plan in place. This means checking the substructure to make sure it can accommodate the added deck space and making a plan for how the new deck will look.

Some of the things you should check on the framing structure include:

  • Water damage
  • Broken fasteners
  • Dislodged locks
  • Rotting wood
  • The siding coming away from the frame
  • Insect damage

You can decide if you can do it yourself based on the appearance of the framing. If you don’t think you can do it yourself, or just need help expanding your deck, you should hire a professional.

Matching an Existing Deck

It can be difficult to put new deck boards together with old boards. While wood changes over time, composite decking doesn’t change much.

For a flatter look, sand and repaint the existing boards on a wood deck. If you are using composite decking, you may need to resurface the entire deck to ensure that the boards fit together well.


Reinstalling the Entire Deck vs. Expanding a Deck on an Existing Deck

If you’re expanding your deck, it’s usually best to resurface the entire deck rather than just the new area. There are a few benefits to adding new planks to the entire system. First of all, resurfacing not only gives the deck a more regular look but also allows all the planks to last roughly the same amount of time. Additionally, it allows you to properly inspect the base.

If the deck you already have is only a few years old, you can also add new decking boards and wait for them to weather. Since the appearance of composite decking boards doesn’t change much over time. If the weather stays the same, they should match up nicely in a few months, and you can use the same style and color boards as your original deck when expanding it.

Tools and Materials Needed

Many of the tools and materials needed to expand a deck are the same as those needed to build a new deck:

  • Tape measure
  • Circular and miter saw
  • Drill, driver, and assorted bits
  • Speed square
  • Rubber mallet
  • Personal safety equipment
  • Levels and clamps
  • Wrenches, sockets, and ratchets
  • Treated lumber for your new substructure
  • Joist tape for tops of joists
  • Decking that matches or complements existing boards
  • Paint or stain to refinish existing wooden boards to match new ones
  • Handrail system components
  • Hidden fasteners
  • Any accessories you use, like LED accent lighting, post caps, post-base trims, etc.

Laying Out the Surroundings

Measure the outside of the new extension deck to ensure that the measurements are correct. So that you have a reference line when deciding where to place the support posts and footings on the framing of the extension deck. These steps are a little different than those for building a new deck.

Consider how the new framing will be attached to the old framing. You need to consider the relationship between the new part of the deck and the existing structure that supports the deck, as well as the relationship between the new deck boards and the old planks.

Step 1: Start by Staking

To show the new shape of the deck, hammer the corners of the planned addition with stakes.

Step 2: Outlining with String

Masonry rope should be tied between posts and from screws to posts. The rope should be at the same height as the top of the original rim joists on the deck.

Step 3: Mark the Location of the Posts.

Post holes will need to be spaced a certain distance apart, depending on the size of the beams and the regulations in your area. Check with your city or township before planning your deck. To choose the location of the posts, measure with a tape measure, mark the string, and wrap a piece of tape around the post. This is where you will dig the post holes.

Building the Frame

Step 1: Put the First Joist in Place at an Angle

Lay out your floor plan from one end of the rim joist to the other. The location of your first joist will help you figure out where to put the others, which will make putting each board easier. If the corner is at an angle, you can use a scrap piece of wood to help you place the first joist.

Step 2: Mark Your Joists with a Sharpie or a Work Pencil

Use a pencil, marker, or chalk line to mark out where the floor joists will go 16″ apart in the center of the header. Mark the spot where you want the boards to go by drawing an X on the line. This can help you figure out where to put the tools for hanging things.

Step 3: Toenail the Joist to the Rim Joist

Make sure the joist’s top is flush with the header, and then use screws or nails to connect the rim joist to the first joist. The joist can stay in place while the link is being made with the help of a support beam. Remember that peg boards aren’t strong enough for winds of 75 mph or more. In places with a lot of wind, you’ll need to use storm clips to hold each one in place.


Step 4: Use a Chisel to Notch Beams to Create a Level Frame

Putting a notch in a joist over a beam. The top of this joist was 1/4″ higher than the rest. Smooth out the top of the deck frame by cutting a hole in a joist or adding shims to a narrow joist. Make sure you don’t go over the largest notch size that can be used in different parts of the beam lengths.

Step 5: Always Fill All the Nail Holes for Deck Hardware

A coating on structural screws that keeps them from rusting works much better than nails for connecting things. The hole the nail made can get bigger over time because the wood expands and contracts when it gets wet and dry. Make sure the structural screws you buy fit the right joist hook by reading the label on the box.

Don’t skip any of the nail hole spots. They are all necessary for your deck to be stable, last a long time, and be safe. If you don’t do this, it could also affect your insurance.

Step 6: Check the Board and Cut off the Part that is Rougher

The length of the 2×10 pressure-treated joist is being measured so that it can be cut. To make your boards square, use a speed square. For location, pay close attention to how the board is crowned.

Freestanding Armor Benches with Backrests

Step 7: Install Joists Crown Side Up at the Center

Install more 2×10 pressure-treated joists one after the other, starting with the first one. Place beams 16″ apart (or the lengths you needed from the above list). When you place the joists, make sure that the crown side is facing up and that any bowing in the board is facing up. Remember to use your knees to lift the joists!

Step 8: Install Hurricane Tie to Each Beam Connection

On every link between a joist and a beam, use a Simpson Strong-Tie H2.5Z Hurricane Tie or something similar. One more time, don’t use nails, but Simpson structure screws instead. Don’t forget that storm ties are not the same thing as solid blocking. And if you’re putting ties on plated trusses, don’t finish the fixing from behind the truss plate; that can make the hardware less effective.

Installing the Deck Boards

Once you have built your deck extension, you can start installing the deck boards. Depending on the decking material you choose, use the appropriate installation method. If you are using composite decking to expand your outdoor living space, remember to ask the composite decking manufacturer for installation instructions.

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