DIY terrace construction

DIY terrace construction

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The terrace was originally called an outdoor area on a pre-prepared basis. This is a very ancient architectural element, whose roots go back to the time of the birth of agriculture. Over time, it lost this function (although the term agronomists has such a term as terraced farming), but has become an integral part of various architectural ensembles.

Design Options

The terrace became the basis of such elements as independent functional and design units:

  • veranda - Indoor adjacent to the house, performing the role of a vestibule in winter;
  • gazebo - a separate terrace with a roof;
  • balcony - A narrow and long structure that is left out of the house;
  • flat roof;
  • porch at home, if it fits something other than the stairs.

They vary depending on where you decide to build a terrace or one of its varieties, as well as the weight of the structure.

Terrace in its location may be:

  • directly attached to the house;
  • to be separate;
  • be part of the house itself and not have independent support (loggia and equipped roof).

Choose in advance which terrace you intend to attach to the house.

Foundation of the terrace

The need for it arises when the terrace adjoins the house. There are two possible options for the foundation: connected with the foundation of the house and a separate. The first is possible if the terrace is entered into the project in advance, and it has loads comparable to the house itself. For example, if you make an expanded porch, or if you have an entrance to the house is located above the basement, which has a ledge.

The second case is the extension of the same veranda to the finished house. The foundation in this case needs to be attached separately, and if the weight of the extension and its specific distribution is different, then there will be another type of foundation.

So, if your house is stone and stands on a recessed tape, then a wooden column building can stand on screw piles or concrete posts. The same applies to various arbors.

Sometimes private developers have a desire to save on the foundation, but this should never be done, especially if your site has unstable soils. Your extension can sit down next season, which is often observed in rural areas - just look out the window of a car or bus and see the many sloping verandas with rhombus.

If you have a wide enough terrace, it is worth thinking about intermediate columns, on which the logs of the floor will subsequently be laid to avoid sagging.

The question often arises whether wood can be used for a column foundation. Answer: it is possible. The whole snag is which one. Conventional softwood lumber is not suitable for this purpose, it will simply rot.

Two types of trees available in our country are suitable as a material for the foundation - this is oak and larch, in some regions yew. They really have good bearing capacity and, most importantly, durability (Venice stands on larch foundations). Another thing is that at their cost they will be more expensive than concrete.

In general, when designing and building a terrace, it is necessary to take into account both the features and the weight of its structure, as well as the characteristics of the soil under it.

Features of the construction of covered terraces and verandas

The roof-carrying parts in such cases are pillars - whether it be a fully enclosed veranda with windows or an unglazed annex. In any case, the wall between the pillars will have only a protecting function.

On an unglazed terrace between the posts there may be a fence of about one meter or less, and the walls of the veranda are made to the full height.

Before installing the columns, it is necessary to put a beam on the columns of the foundation and lags to it - we will later make the floor on them. Do not forget to lay waterproofing under the beam.

Bearing columns are located clearly above the columns of the foundation. Their thickness depends on the weight of the roof. So, if you have a light roof made of polypropylene or other light plastic, a beam with a cross section of 10-15 cm or metal pipes will be enough, but if the rafter system is a continuation of that from the house, or you plan to make an insulated ceiling, reinforced columns are required - from more thick timber, logs, or even made of brick (in the latter case, it is necessary to design the appropriate foundation for each pillar).

After installing the columns, you can proceed to the rafter system.

Wood processing

All wood parts need to be treated against decay, and if there is a risk, then against fire. It will not be difficult for you to do this if later the structure is hidden under paint or other exterior finish.

If you plan to leave the columns as they are, in plain sight, then pay attention to wood defects when buying: do not buy materials with sapwood mushroom stains, wormholes, various types of rot and cracks, which will cause warping as well. This approach to buying molded products is relevant in any case (because defects affect the service life), but when all this is in sight, it is also ugly.

Open structures are treated with alkyd or oil based impregnations - they combine water-repellent, decorative and protective properties.

Terrace fencing

When you build an unglazed terrace, used in the summer, the fence has two functions - security and decoration. It is appropriate to combine them. To do this, you can use a wooden balustrade (railing), forged products, which also need processing, as well as the bearing parts of the terrace.

The execution of the walls of the winter veranda depends on how you use it. Building a summer terrace on a summer house yourself is probably the most favorite pastime of our citizens. The only trouble is that people rarely think about why it is needed, turning it gradually into a shovel for a shovel, and at best into a summer kitchen.

And she can have many functions. So, if it carries only the function of a vestibule, you can restrict yourself to a simple frame without internal filling. But if you plan to place a winter garden or even a room there (although in this case it will not work out as a terrace anymore), you should think about warming this room.

In part, this problem can be solved by building a veranda in the form of continuous glazing of both walls and ceilings (the ceiling can also be glass, yes), but if this option seems to be inappropriate for you, then the walls can be made using standard construction technology for frame buildings. The “pie” of such walls is as follows (we start from the outside):

  • external enclosing layer (boards or OSB);
  • bars of 1-2 cm, providing a ventilation gap;
  • diffusion membrane;
  • insulation, the thickness of which depends on the weather conditions in your area;
  • vapor barrier film;
  • inner lining.

In the same way, it will be necessary to insulate the ceiling.

The floor of the veranda, which is operated in the winter, must also be insulated. For this, it is first necessary to close the gap between the foundation and the veranda trim so that cold air does not penetrate there. After that, we pin the draft floor in the form of an edged board to the existing lags. It is better to leave ventilation gaps between the boards.

Then we mount the second row of lags perpendicular to the original ones. Between the lags the stele is a waterproofing film, on which we put the insulation. We cover the insulation with vapor barrier, on which we lay the flooring.

As the latter, a genital groove is best suited. Other types of floors require a different foundation. so, if you want to lay parquet or laminate, under them you will need to put plywood and bedding on top of the vapor barrier.

As for the additional options, for example, temperature, then everything again depends on the goals. For example, if you want to place plants on the veranda, you need to know the conditions in which they grow in the wild. So, for thermophilic equatorial plants, it is necessary to maintain a temperature of at least 20 degrees, and you need to think about heating, but people from the subtropics prefer seasonality: if in the summer they are normal at 25 and 35 degrees, then in winter they need 10-15 .

If you constantly live in the house, then the ventilation of the veranda becomes an urgent problem. The inflow of fresh air can be solved by simple ventilation, and the removal of exhaust air by exhaust hood, natural or forced. This is true for both a heated and an unheated veranda: condensation can accumulate on the walls, which complicates the finish and leads to mold growth. By the way, it is for prevention of the growth of the latter that one should not forget about vapor barrier: the inside of the walls should not get wet neither from outside precipitation, nor from water vapor from the inside.

Features of arranging outdoor terraces

If our annexe does not have a roof, and also if the terrace is located on the roof of the house, the installation of flooring requires compliance with special rules. Rain and snow with improper floor installation can not only spoil the floor itself, but also render the underlying structures unusable.

Thus, the “pie” of the coating will depend on what is below the terrace, the functional purpose of the terrace (one thing if you dine there, and another when there is a swing, barbecue or lawn). We will consider the features of the device of three types of terraces: an open extension with wooden logs, an expanded porch and an exploited roof.

Material selection

The best floor option for that would be a deck board. It is distinguished by the fact that it is made of moisture-resistant wood or composite materials (decking) and is mounted not in the lock, like a regular sheet pile, but with a gap: it is necessary for water drainage and ventilation.

Of the natural materials for the deck board, oak, larch, cedar, exotic plants such as Australian walnut, wenge, etc. are used. Sometimes you can also find pine, but saving on the board is not worth it: despite the fact that pine will cost you close perspective, in the end it will have to change more often, and will come out much more expensive. Therefore, it is better not to save, but to do it once, but for a long time.

Despite the fact that the terrace board is subjected to special processing and impregnation in the manufacturing process, care for it is necessary. Once a couple of years it must be treated with protective compounds.

A board made of composite materials is more resistant to external influences, but less flexible. So, if you can make an overhang from a natural board, then a wood-polymer one is better mounted end-to-end.

Logs under the floor need to be installed the more often, the thinner the board. The optimal distance between them is from 60 to 100 cm.

How to make porch

We are talking about those cases when the porch is located above the basement or taken to a height of more than a meter, that is, it is on the foundation. Typically, these terraces are covered with tiles - tiled or paving.

If you don’t have any rooms under the terrace, then its arrangement will be quite simple. It is necessary to process the internal walls of the foundation and the house at the junction with bitumen mastic and backfill with rubble and sand, which should be well compacted. It will be better if you remove drainage from the rubble layer - this way the water will not accumulate inside and will not spoil your finish. On top you can put the same paving slabs on the pavement. If you want to lay a tile, then you need to arrange a screed.

Pay attention to the materials that you will use: they must be suitable for outdoor use. So, paving slabs are preferable to that made by the method of vibropressing, rather than vibrocasting.

In general, when laying such floors, you must be guided by the relevant instructions, which is outside our scope.

The task becomes more difficult if we have a room under the terrace, especially when it is residential. In this case, we will need to provide:

  • bias;
  • thermal insulation;
  • waterproofing;
  • warming.

The roof slope required by SNiP (and for the underlying room is the roof) is from 1 to 4 degrees. In our case, the slope is performed in the direction of the street. The porch layers will look like this:

  • cement-sand screed with a slope, thickness from 1 to 5 cm;
  • vapor barrier film to prevent the penetration of steam from the inside;
  • insulation layer (preferably solid);
  • screed (we observe a bias!);
  • bituminous mastic and surfaced waterproofing (should go on the walls);
  • topcoat in the form of the same tile.

It is important to recall that all this is done if a reinforced concrete slab is used as the main floor. Otherwise, the weight of our “pie” will simply break the ceiling.

Roof terrace

A flat roof is usually an attribute of high-rise buildings, but is also sometimes used in private housing construction. And the owners, especially if the land area is small, is tempted to make a resting place out of the roof. In general, the exploited roof is a separate big topic, but we will mention it in general terms.

The general patterns of setting up a recreation area on it will be the same as in the previous case. But there are two important differences. The first is that the slope of such a roof goes in the direction of the water collectors, pipes from which go inside the house. The second is the need for a parapet for security reasons. And if in the case of the location of the terrace below the fence often performs only a decorative role, then on the roof it is important for security reasons.

The covering of such a roof can be even smaller - that is, it does not contain vapor barrier and insulation, but only if the house has a technical floor. They do it in a private house, let’s say, infrequently.

On the roof you can arrange a lawn. In this case, the so-called inverse roof is used. Its difference is that the waterproofing is located lower, and it combines both its own purpose and the function of vapor barrier.

It is laid on a slope-forming layer, and a solid insulation is placed on top of it, which must be laid very carefully. From above, the insulation is covered with a special membrane on which a layer of geotextile is laid. It should filter out water from overlying layers. Above is sand or paving (the latter is covered if you want to cover the roof with tiles). And on the sand you can put a second layer of geotextiles and natural lawn.

Carrying out all these works, one should not forget about installing the water intake in the hole provided for this. It must be mounted very tightly to avoid getting the wall in the house wet. You should also pay attention to the junction with the pipes - there should be no gaps near them.

As options for flooring can also be considered tiles on special stands, and the same deck board - in this case, the water intake will be already under them.

There are a lot of options for the construction of such a roof - and when choosing materials it is best to follow the instructions for their use.

Design and decoration solutions

Terraces are decorated with a wide variety of equipment options and decoration techniques. Some of them are given below.


Suitable for outdoor terraces. Their installation is not difficult, you should think about fire safety, if you have a floor covering made of wood. In this case, it is appropriate to purchase products with high legs.


It is appropriate everywhere. Both seasonal plants and evergreens are used here; both in pots and in more open ground (as far as it can be open in this case). Suspended options look interesting, as well as various types of flower beds. Under the ground in the latter, it is desirable to lay a drainage layer of rubble and geotextiles. In the flower beds, you can grow not only herbaceous plants, but also small trees and shrubs - the main thing is that their root system has enough space for growth, otherwise the plant will either die or destroy the base with roots.


A very important part of the design of the terrace, especially if you like to go to bed after dark. Electrifying a closed porch is quite simple, but open areas near the house and on the roof require compliance with a number of rules.

The first of these is wiring safety. It is advisable to hide it in corrugated insulation, which will help not only protect it from external influences, but also easier to change. The second rule: buy those lighting fixtures that are designed for street lighting. Now it is not only the notorious lanterns for poles by the road, but also various types of forged lanterns, and landscape gardening lamps on the posts. Be sure you will find the model of fixtures that suits your style.

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