In the world of deck ideas, the floating deck is slowly starting to become more popular. Why? And what are floating decks, anyway? Let’s take a look so that you can decide if this is the right home improvement project for you!

Floating Deck: AKA the Platform Deck

A floating deck sounds like something you’d build on a lakebut you don’t need waterfront property for this project! Otherwise known as a platform deck, floating decks are freestanding decks that give you a slightly elevated space for barbecuing, outdoor entertainment or relaxing. They’re sort of like a combination between a patio and a regular deck — elevated like a deck, although not usually as high, and generally made from wood or composite lumber. Like a patio, they give you a level surface for furniture and they normally do not have railings.

Why Do Homeowners Build Floating Decks?

There are a few good reasons why homeowners might choose floating decks over traditional decks:

  • These structures don’t require buried posts, railings, or the more complex supports that decks require, which means it costs less to buy the materials and the platform is easier to build than a traditional deck.
  • In areas where permits are required to build a deck, you may be able to build a platform deck without a permit.
  • Some municipalities tax higher rates on decks but may not increase your taxes if you opt to build a platform instead.
  • Floating decks can be more versatile than attached, raised decks. You’ll have the freedom to choose whatever shape you like and you can design a platform with multiple tiers. Plus, floating decks won’t look out of place if they are freestanding whereas a traditional deck that isn’t attached to a home sometimes looks a bit strange.

The best part about platform decks is that if you design them right, they have the potential to add just as much value to a home as a regular deck — all at a lowered cost to buy, build and maintain.

How Are Floating Decks Built?

Floating decks are not actually anchored to the ground or a building. These freestanding platforms are typically supported using concrete deck blocks or flat cinderblocks, depending on how level the site is. The ground underneath the deck is usually left alone if it does not need to be leveled, although higher floating decks will often have gravel underneath just to make the deck look nice and tidy.

This type of deck is a popular DIY project because the construction is relatively simple, usually only a couple of power tools like a circular saw and a drill to attach fasteners. Materials can either be wood decking or composite decking. Wood will be less expensive but composite tends to stand up to weather better and requires less maintenance. All you need to do is build a frame with horizontal joists in whatever size or shape you like, making sure that the frame rests solidly on your deck blocks or cinderblocks, and then cover that frame with decking boards to finish the platform.

Don’t forget that this type of deck can be modified with all kinds of extras. Browse platform deck plans online and you’ll find decks with built-in seating, canopies and more. You are only limited to your imagination!

If you’ve planned well ahead of time, this is a project that the average DIYer can get done in a weekend — unless, of course, you’ve designed a massive floating deck with a complicated design or multiple tiers. Even the most complex platform decks can be built more quickly and easily than equivalent traditional decks, however, which means that this project will have you outside enjoying your new deck while everyone else is still digging post holes for their decks!