Enclosing an Obstacle

Learn how to modify framing to accommodate wraparound obstacles such as trees or boulders.

Intro

If your proposed deck site has a tree or large rock that looks like it's in the way, don't be dismayed -- incorporate it into the decking with modified framing.

The techniques used to modify joist plans to accommodate an obstacle can also be put to another use. They make properly supported holes in the decking so you also can use them to inset a small pond or fountain, sandbox, fire pit, or barbecue. You also can apply these alternate framing methods to support removable panels for access to water faucets or for storage areas under the deck.

Prestart Checklist

Time
Three to four hours, depending on the special circumstance

Tools
Framing hammer, measuring tape, framing square, speed square, cordless drill, circular saw, carpenter's level, chalk line

Skills
Measuring, cutting, fastening

Prep
Varies with circumstances

Materials
Varies with circumstances

Step 1

Install double joists in double joist hangers on both sides of the obstacle and at a sufficient distance from it (allowing room for the mature size of a tree, for example). Install a double header in hangers on both sides of the obstacle.

Step 2

Measure the spacing for the remaining joists and install them in hangers. Make sure you have at least one joist fastened at the same spacing as the rest of the deck.

Step 3

Attach the decking to the joists, cutting the boards so you leave an edge overlapping the framing by an equal amount on all sides.

What If... You want a round opening?

Step 1: Set up your framing plan in a configuration similar to that above, but add perpendicular and corner blocking to support the circumference of the circle.

Step 2:Install the decking, cutting the ends so they overhang the framing. Using a cardboard template equal to the arc of the opening, mark the circle on the decking and cut it with a jigsaw. Smooth the edges with a rasp.


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One Hour or Less

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