I want to build a freestanding deck where the joists are supported by horizontal pressure-treated 8x8 timbers lying on a bed of compacted crushed stone, with joists toenailed to the timbers — a normal residential deck, in other words, except the support beams would rest on the ground rather than being bolted to posts. The deck surface will be about 18 inches above the ground, with two steps up to the house’s entry door. Is this feasible, and are there any code issues I should be aware of?

A.Glenn Mathewson, technical adviser to the North American Deck and Railing Association, responds: Although the approach you describe doesn’t follow any industry standard practices for deck construction, there are some model code provisions that seem to argue for it. For example, code provisions that deal with wood foundations also involve wood...

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