ground clearance for planned ipe deck

slothinkerJuly 16, 2010

The contractor I'm working with has recently completed the demo phase and framing phase for a 180 sq. foot deck adjacent to my home.

The house is in the California central coast, moderate climate and low rainfall. The deck in in an area which will get rain, of course, but not the brunt based on typical direction of rainfall around here. We don't get fog or much morning dew. The ground is clay.

Based on drainage requirements, etc. the bottom of the deck boards will be approxiately 8-inches off the ground. The ground itself is dirt covered by a DeWitt weed barrier.

Ipe wood seems ideal based on its quality and longevity. After reading lots we've determined to use stainless fasteners from above, countersunk with plugs (rather than clips). The 5/4 long ipe boards will be 3/16" apart.

The only thing I'm concern about is the ventilation issue. If, say, 2.5"x2.5" screens were placed every three feet around the perimenter of the two sides of the deck that are not adjacent to the main house, would that probably be adequate? Or would fans be needed to pull air through the entire structure after a rain. Is it also necessary to put interior screening inside the interior joists?

Thanks for any thoughts you might offer.

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My thoughts? Once the pocket gophers move in, you'll have soil mounds all over the place, packed up tight against the bottom side of the deck in spots. You could lay galvanized wire cloth with a couple inches of drain rock on top to keep the gophers down. Also make sure the ground slopes away from the house and deck so water isn't going to puddle.

3/16" is a little too much of a gap. The boards will shrink another 1/8" after install, so the gap is going to look too wide. Most people do 3/32 or 1/8 gap.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 4:40PM
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You have done your homework Thinker, and you got it right.

5/4 ipe is spendy but less likely to cup low to the ground. Providing screen vents on the two sides/screwing and pluging is a good thing you get another A + from the JonMon. 8'' is not bad to get cross ventalation install floor vents in the decking next to the house these can be as simple as $4 product from homedepo painted black to solid brass deco around $25.

That gap is fine for 5/4 could be less but its a small point.Ground cover under your project wont hurt but it wont do anything either it will hurt if it is solid enough to keep rain in pudles that gives bugs a place to make little ones.

Way to go Thinker!!! J.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 6:38PM
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Thanks very much, John (& Aiden)!! I'll try and post a pix when we're done.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 8:42PM
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