Homeowners have a wide variety of choice when considering adding benches to a deck. There are many styles and there are different ways of attaching them either to the deck frame or to the deck surface. In most cases it is a good design idea to use the same materials on the deck benches that are used on the deck. This goes a long with helping the 2 structures blend in with one another.
Bench supports can have a massive look with front and back legs made of 4x4 or 6x6 lumber. But it is also possible to build benches with dimensional lumber such as 2x10s cut into a shape that allows one piece to serve as the seat and back support. A supporting front leg and a brace to securely fix these wood pieces to the deck are still required. However, much strength is generated by the long 2x4s that form the seat and back. These wood pieces are able to span several of the reinforced uprights and tie them together into 1 unit.
Planning is required for extended posts that rise up through the deck and become the anchors for a bench attached to them. This can be accomplished after the deck surface is completed.
If the bench choice is one with a back it is wise to create a style with a back that slopes. On a deck where individuals wish to relax and lounge it is necessary to cut an angle into the seat with a front rollover edge that will make the bench more like a comfortable chair. For a bench that will stand in for a railing it is a wise choice to set the top cap so that it does not extend past the back rails. Otherwise it could lead to a guest being poked in the back of the neck every time he or she sits down. It is worth the effort to clamp boards together in the basic shape of the bench style chosen. Brace the boards in position along the edge of the deck and actually sit down on it and test it firsthand to see whether the seat height and angles are comfortable.
A low backless deck bench is an attractive and unobtrusive way of building built-in seating. It is a simple addition for a ground level deck and has the ability to be a practical border at any level changes on a larger multilevel deck. Before installing the decking construct T-shaped supports of 4x4 uprights and 2x8 crosspieces. Make the connection with rustproof screws or lag screws and washers. Add 2x4 blocking to support the decking where needed. Locate the supports spaced every 4 feet.
Complete the decking. Attach the seat pieces to the crosspieces. Install 3 2x6 seat slats to the top of the crosspieces with 3 inch deck screws. Fix them flush with the sides of the crosspieces and the ends of the crosspieces as well. Space the seat boards with a 1/8 inch gap between them for drainage. Cut and attch 2x4 side caps and end caps to cover the ends of the seat slats.
With a bench on framing method, the bench supports are built after the deck frame is complete but the decking is not. If the bench being built is replacing a railing, standard code regulations apply. There are 2 design options that can work well. Both of them tilt the seat back at a 15 degree angle that is quite comfortable.
For the first option cut a 2x6 piece of lumber 36 inches long plus the width of the joist with parallel 75 degree cuts on each end. Cut off the back of the top. For the second option cut a piece of 2x12 to 36 inches plus the width of the joist with parallel cuts on both ends. Make a long sloping cut starting at 11 1/4 inches wide at the bottom and ending at 4 1/2 inches wide at the top. It is possible to adjust these angles and sizes to suit different tastes. Tack each rear support to a joist. Keep the bottom end flush with the bottom of the joist. Attach the front 2x6 supports and 2x4 seat supports in an identical way. Verify that the frames are parallel with each other and that the crosspieces are level. Drill pilot holes and fasten each joint with carriage bolts, washers and nuts.
Provide support wherever the decking will butt into one of the vertical pieces just installed. Run 2x4 blocking across each pair of front and rear supports with the top of the 2x4 flush with the top of the joists. After the decking is installed the bench can be finished. Attach 2x4s or 2x6s across the back supports and seat supports with rustproof screws.
The bench on decking method is a choice that allows the bench to be added after the new decking is installed or to an existing deck. The bench frame is a self-contained unit. The main attachment is a 2x4 rear brace bolted to the outermost joist. It extends past the decking and is screwed to the seat frame. Cut the 2x10 back support with a sloping back and notch where the 2x4 rear brace will rest. Every back support will require 2 2x4 seat supports to be made. The angle cut at the front of the seat supports allows the last seat slat to rollover a bit which makes the bench more comfortable.
Each support unit requires a front leg squarecut to 15 1/2 inches and a rear brace. Attach each front 2x4 leg sandwiched between the 2 seat supports with a carriage bolt, washer and nut. Use deck screws to attach each rear brace to a back support.It is easier to assemble the seat support units on the deck. Attach each evenly spaced 2x4 seat and back slats with screws. Use a 2x6 cap with the front edge flush with the surface of the back slats.
Deck benches come in a variety of possible design styles that can go far to enhance any deck surface providing functionality that will add more enjoyment to this wonderful outdoor living space for years to come.
Richard Vande Sompel is a professional deck builder of 35 years and over 850
decks built and is the author of "How to Plan, Design and Build a Deck from
Start to Finish". To Discover More About
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