Very Low Deck Over Concrete: The Ultimate Australian Guide

Australians are well known for their love of the outdoors. The backyard often serves as an extension of our living space. Hence, decking in garden areas has become more than just a trend – it’s an essential aspect of Aussie homes. Building a shallow deck over concrete is gaining popularity among the many options available. If you’re considering this project, you’ve come to the right place.

Why Choose a Low Deck Over Concrete?

Maximising Space

The primary reason most homeowners consider a low-level deck is the utilisation of space. Whether it’s an existing concrete patio or a barren concrete slab in your backyard, transforming it into a decking area is a great way to make the most of it.

Cost-Effective Approach

Building a low deck over concrete is often cheaper than creating a raised deck with multiple footings. You’re using the concrete slab as the primary foundation, thus saving time and resources.

Quick and Simple Installation

The project’s complexity significantly reduces with low-profile decking over concrete. It’s a straightforward process, especially if you have a transparent, well-maintained slab.

Composite Decking Material: The Modern Choice

In earlier times, timber was the go-to material for decks. But with the advent of technology, composite decking has become the preferred choice for many homeowners. Let’s explore why.

Benefits of Composite Decking

Durability

Composite decks, especially capped composite decking, are water, moisture, and sun resistant. They won’t warp, crack, or splinter easily.

Low Maintenance

Forget staining or painting every year. Composite boards retain their colour and shine for years with minimal maintenance.

Sustainable

Many composite materials are made using recycled plastic and wood, making them an environmentally friendly choice.

Getting Started: Building a Very Low Deck Over Concrete

Building your low-level deck may seem daunting, but it’s a rewarding DIY project with the right tools and approach.

The Foundation

Since the deck is low to the ground, ensuring good drainage and ventilation. Consider using sleepers, spacers, or pedestals to elevate the boards slightly above the concrete, allowing water to run off and air to circulate.

Choosing the Right Joists

Opting for an aluminium joist or PVC can offer excellent support and prevent moisture-related issues. Whether you’re building a wood or composite deck, ensuring the joist’s compatibility is crucial.

Decking Boards and Installation

Whether you choose timber or composite decking boards, space them appropriately for clearance and expansion. Starting from one corner of the concrete patio, place your boards perpendicular to the joists, securing them with appropriate decking screws.

Expert Tips for a Successful Low Deck Project

Check Local Regulations

Before embarking on your decking project, it’s essential to consult local regulations. Some councils have rules about deck height, clearance, and attachments to the house.

Proper Planning

Sketch your deck’s design and measure the area accurately. Consider obstacles and decide on the layout of your deck boards.

Resources and References

While you’ve garnered some knowledge here, dive deeper. Many experts have created a comprehensive guide to building your low-level deck. It serves as an excellent reference for getting started.

Building a low-level deck over concrete is ideal for Australians looking to transform their outdoor space. Whether you’re covering an old concrete patio or want to create a new chill-out zone, the options are limitless. With the benefits of composite materials and a well-planned approach, your shallow deck will be the talk of the neighbourhood. So, grab your drill, decking boards, and let’s bring that dream deck to life!

Potential Challenges and Solutions

While the allure of constructing a shallow deck over concrete is undeniable, like all building projects, it’s not without challenges. However, with a bit of forethought, these can be easily overcome.

Ensuring Adequate Ventilation

One of the primary concerns for any deck, especially a low-level deck, is ensuring adequate ventilation. Without proper airflow, you risk trapping moisture between the deck and the concrete, leading to mould growth and potential timber rot.

Solution

Use spacers or pedestals to raise the decking slightly above the concrete. This ensures water drainage and provides the necessary space for air circulation, keeping the underside of your deck dry.

Attaching the Deck to Your House

While your deck will primarily rest on the concrete slab, if it’s adjacent to your home, consider attaching it for added stability.

Solution

Utilise a ledger board to connect the deck to the house. However, maintain a slight gap between the deck boards and your home’s wall to avoid water accumulation and potential damage.

Selecting the Right Fixings

With a low-level deck, the margin for error is small. Using the wrong screws or fixings can result in a less stable deck.

Solution

Opt for corrosion-resistant screws and fixings. Given Australia’s climate, it’s best to choose stainless steel or galvanised screws to prevent rust.

Decking Aesthetics and Finishing Touches

A deck is not just about boards and joists; it’s an extension of your living space. Giving attention to its aesthetics ensures it’s both functional and beautiful.

Choosing the Right Decking Finish

Whether timber or composite, your finish can significantly impact your deck’s look. From natural timber shades to modern greys, the palette options for composite decking boards are vast.

Adding Accessories

Consider adding planters, benches, or even a pergola. Not only do they enhance the beauty of your deck, but they also provide functionality. Having planters with native Australian plants can bring a touch of nature to your deck.

Lighting and Ambience

Incorporate some outdoor lighting. Whether solar-powered lights or string lights, they can transform the evening atmosphere of your deck, making it a perfect space for relaxation or entertainment.

Constructing a low-level deck over concrete is a rewarding endeavour that uplifts your outdoor space. While it requires careful planning and consideration, the result is a beautiful and functional addition to your home. With this comprehensive guide, you can embark on this DIY journey, bringing the Australian outdoor lifestyle to your doorstep. Remember, the deck you build reflects your creativity and style, so don’t hesitate to personalise it and make it uniquely yours.

Building a low-level deck over concrete provides a fantastic lounging area and offers an excellent platform to integrate various outdoor elements, further enhancing its utility and aesthetics.

Introducing Water Features

There’s something incredibly calming about the sound of flowing water. Adding a small fountain or a minimalist pond can turn your deck into a tranquil oasis. A wall-mounted waterfall can be a real game-changer if you have more space.

Tips for Integration

Ensure that the water feature’s base is sealed and waterproof. Position it so the water does not splash directly onto the deck, mainly if you use timber to prevent unwanted moisture accumulation.

Incorporating Fire Pits

A fire pit can be a brilliant addition to those chilly Australian nights. Whether looking for warmth or simply an ambience creator, a fire pit can be an enticing focal point.

Safety First

When installing a fire pit on a composite deck, ensure a non-combustible barrier or a fireproof mat underneath. Always maintain a safe distance from any flammable materials.

Outdoor Kitchen and Barbecue Zones

For those who love to entertain, converting a section of your deck into an outdoor kitchen or a barbecue zone can be an excellent idea.

Installation Tips

Ensure proper ventilation and consider installing a retractable awning or pergola overhead. This way, come rain or shine, the Barbie can go on!

Creating a Lush Green Boundary

Introduce planters at the edges of your deck. They add a touch of greenery and act as natural barriers. Choose from a variety of Australian native plants, which are both beautiful and resilient.

Go Vertical

If your deck space is limited, vertical gardens or green walls can be an innovative way to introduce plant life without infringing on your deck’s floor area.

Upkeep and Maintenance: Making Your Deck Last

Maintaining your low-level deck ensures longevity regardless of the decking material.

Regular Cleaning

Sweep your deck regularly to prevent the build-up of dirt and debris. Use a mild detergent and a soft brush for a deeper clean, especially for composite decking.

Inspect and Repair

Every few months, conduct a thorough inspection. Check for loose boards, corroded screws, or other potential issues. Address them promptly to prevent more significant problems down the line.

Seal and Protect

For timber decks, consider sealing them every year or two. This protects against the elements and retains the timber’s natural beauty.

Wrapping Up

Building and maintaining a low deck over concrete requires effort, but the returns – a stunning outdoor space – are well worth it. Whether enjoying a quiet evening, hosting a barbecue, or simply soaking up the Australian sun, your deck becomes the heart of your outdoor activities. Dive into the project enthusiastically, and soon you’ll have a space that resonates with comfort, beauty, and functionality.