Decking for "play house" Advice

Discussion in 'Landscaping and Outdoors' started by AndyDOHD, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. AndyDOHD

    AndyDOHD New Member

    Newbie here. I wondered whether anyone could advise on building a platform for a kid's playhouse? I have an orchard and my kids want me to build a tree house so I decided to build a raised deck type of structure right beside an old apple tree to give the illusion of a tree house without having to damage the tree in any way - to build a kid's playhouse upon. The land is sloping so one end is 1/2m off the ground whilst, due to the slope, the opposite end is 2m off the ground.

    I wondered whether anyone could advise which:
    (i) coach screws to use to hold the "floor joists" (the joist wood I have is 14cmx4cmx350cm;
    (ii) drill bit to use to drill into the joist for fixing to the perimeter boards of the structure?

    Cheers in advance.
  2. Phil the Paver

    Phil the Paver Screwfix Select

    I wouldn't use coach screws, I would bolt them through the uprights.

    Not sure what you mean drill bit to use.?
  3. AndyDOHD

    AndyDOHD New Member

    I've put up the perimeter of the structure using some coach screws (one each of M8x125mm and 1cm x 10cm).
    But for the joists I would need to use a couple of long coach screws (you can't add a nut to the end of the bolt if it's inside the joist), to pre-drill the hole for the coach screw I'd need a longer drill bit than the standard. Iwas in B&Q today but could not see any long wood drill bits. The coach screws I was thinking for the joists would be 1cm by 20cm, or should I use something different?
  4. Phil the Paver

    Phil the Paver Screwfix Select

    So you have screwed a timber around the edge and now want to fix the joists inbetween, if so I wouldn't be fixing a coach screw through and into the end grain of the joists, you will not get a good fixing that way, I would be looking along the lines of fixing joist hangers onto you edging timber and fixing the joist into those.

    Something like this.

  5. AndyDOHD

    AndyDOHD New Member

    Hi Phil,
    That's right. I watched a number of YouTube videos on deck building and they seem to uselong coach bolts, that's why I bought some. But, as you say, on a few others guys have indeed used joist hangers. If using hangers which would you recommend?

    I have a couple of decks which someone built for a couple of sheds I have and they haven't used joist hangers, I can't see what they have actually used as the deck is lined on the outside with decking boards.

    On the *whisper* B&Q website they use coach screws in their "guide".

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  6. Andy, sounds like a nice project - very envious :).

    Keep it simple, tho'. Either use joist hangers as Phil suggests, or - even easier - sit the joists on top of your two 'stringers' (is that the right term?!) In the latter case, all you'd then need is a skewed screw to keep them in place and stop them moving.

    But, joist hangers are great. They make such a job a complete doddle. And you won't see them after the project is completed.

    Have a look at the ones SF sells, or have a look around your nearest shed. Don't be alarmed when you look at how thin and light they are, using metal that you can bend in your fingers! They are very strong - they hold up the floors and ceiling of houses...

    They often come with the correct nails too, with short 'squared', twisted shanks. Thump thump - job's done. Couldn't be easier.
  7. Phil the Paver

    Phil the Paver Screwfix Select

    I know what you are saying, re: coach screws, but the deck they are building is only just off the ground, yours is going to be 2 metres off the ground, at that height I wouldn't feel comfortable knowing that the joist's are only held in with coach screws into end grain., if you think about it the bearing on the joist is only from the coach screw upwards, so if your joists are say 150mm you would set the coach screw at 50mm center's this in effect mean only the 50mm of the joists above the top screw is supporting it's weight, where as in a hanger the whole joist is supported.
  8. AndyDOHD

    AndyDOHD New Member

    Many thanks for your advice folks. All VERY convincing. Mmmm, I do hate it when I try to be smart, but I do agree with those comments you have offered. Looks like I had better return the coach screws I have and get some joist hangers. I am also going to place a few extra posts underneath the structure and a few extra cross supports, just in an attempt to "overengineer" it...
    Any recommendations of hangers to use? My joists are 14cm by 4cm by 350cm? I am looking through the SF range at the moment.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  9. AndyDOHD

    AndyDOHD New Member

    I tried emailing ScrewFix for advice on which hangers to get for my size of joist and they said they could not offer such advice and to consult a tradesman. Well I think I'll go to B&Q for the advice and the hangers. But if you guys have any comments/advice then I would be very grateful...

    I went to B&Q but they don't have the size I need, oh what a journey, lol. And they wont be able to supply any.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  10. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    For hangers too wide cut up some suitable sized ply sheet to fill the void(in the above suggestion-6mm ply), and bang nails straight through.

    Mr. HandyAndy - Really
  11. AndyDOHD

    AndyDOHD New Member

    I presume with the taller one, it is a matter of simply bening the long span to bend over the support as its height is 248mm and my joist is 140mm? The advice on here is brilliant, and thanks so much. I did see this one too, a bit cheaper but the price really isn't important to me, a good final job is; it was recommended in one of the product reviews as a cheaper alternative.
    I do get concerned when I see "light duty", "medium duty", "heavy duty", not knowing what each duty type represents in terms of load bearing capacity. This is all very interesting stuff, perhaps I should read up a bit about my late 40s, a bit late to change career,or maybe...
  12. That's fine too. Yes, nail the main part in place (it might have a sticky-out lug on the bottom which you place tightly against the string's bottom - that lines them up. Then gently hammer the straps over the top and a couple more nails.

    You certainly won't need 'heavy duty' - most of the ones we're looking at are 'medium' if mentioned at all - that'll be absolutely fine.

    The narrowest ones I can find (on SF at least) are these: but you'd need to buy 'squaretwist' nails separately (also cheap).

    But Mr Ha's advice on packing the gap is the best by far - I was trying to keep things simple by suggesting a few mm gap wouldn't be a problem.So go for the 47mm wide ones you've been looking at yourself.

    (What would happen with my lazy get-out is that the hung joists would drop by 2 or 3mm before settling as the lower hanger 'corners' were stretched out under the joist's weight. You would 'get away' with it, but for the sake of a proper job buy a small panel of 6mm exterior ply (cheap in places like Wickes) cut into strips and pack against one side of the joist.)

    Don't be worried about how thin these hangers are - they are designed for the job. I used them to lay the upstairs floor of my kid's barely-used play house, and it's completely solid.

    Enjoy the project - and I hope your tykes uses your more than mine used mine... :(
  13. AndyDOHD

    AndyDOHD New Member

    Thanks for the astounding advice guys. Brilliant!

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