Multi level decks are a beautiful addition to any home or outdoor area, and offer added entertainment area and space to the home. Multi level decks are typically separated by a set of wide stairs and are framed similarly to a single level deck. When framing a multi level deck, the framing of the upper and lower levels are near identical. However, you can ease the task by framing out the lower level of the deck first and then moving onto the upper level frame.
Step 1 - Stake out Frame
The first step is to stake out the perimeter of your deck. Insert a stake at the corners of the deck and every 10 feet in between. Start with the lower level of the deck and then move to the upper level.
Step 2 – Set Post Bases
The next step is to dig a hole for the posts at each of the stake locations. After the holes have been dug, insert the concrete forms in to the hole and then insert the post beams. Once the post beams are straight and aligned, pour concrete into the concrete form and around the post beam. Repeat this step with the remaining post locations. When setting post bases for the upper level of the deck, make certain all are properly aligned and elevated above the post beams of the lower level to create the desired height of the upper level.
Step 3 – Attach Joists
The next step is to attach the outer joists to the post beams of the lower level. The joists closest to the house should just slightly touch the house. All joists should be attached to the top of the beams. Verify as you work that the side joists which make up the left and ride outer perimeter of the deck are properly aligned and level with each other and the ground.
Step 4 – Rim Joists
Once the joists of the lower level are in place, you can attach the rim joists around the outside perimeter of the post beams and joists.
Step 5 – Joist Hangers
Install the joist hangers along the inside of the deck by attaching them to the outside of the home. The first joist hanger should start 12 inches inside the left joist. Continue placing joist hangers every 12 inches inside the perimeter of the deck frame.
Step 6 – Interior Joists
Lay the interior joists into the joist hangers and attach to the hangers and header joists. This will complete the framing of the lower level.
Step 7 – Repeat for Upper Level
Once the lower level has been framed, you need to repeat the steps of attaching joists, rim joists, joist hangers and joists for the upper level of the deck in the same manner as you did the lower level. By framing the lower level of the deck first, you give yourself more working space and maneuverability than if you framed both levels at the same time.