How To Build The Perfect Front Deck

Ready to soak up some rays from the front deck of your off grid cabin?

Imagine relaxing in your favorite Adirondack chair on the front deck of your off grid cabin. The sun shines and a warm breeze slides over your arms while you breathe in the the sweet fresh scent of pine. Birds are singing as you gaze out through the trees to the glistening lake just beyond. This is how we built the front deck for our off grid cabin.

Today we cover the step-by-step “how to” of our 8ft x 20ft pressure treated covered deck. You can fine tune our method or copy it to the inch. Either way, you’ll end up with a rock solid front deck that will stand the test of time in any weather and in any climate. It’s fast and easy to build and took us only one day. 

In the last cabin build post we showed you how to build the best foundation for an off grid cabin. We finished up the concrete block footings, the three main floor support beams and the floor joists.

As a refresher, we designed our cabin foundation for a multitude of reasons…

  • It’s the least expensive design
  • Can be built in a singe day with just two people
  • Requires no heavy equipment
  • No digging post holes
  • No pouring cement
  • Only requires a level and some basic hand-tools
  • Provides the ability to level the cabin easily during the build and in the future
  • Affords an excellent thermal break for colder climates like ours

This is where we finished off with the foundation last time.

Floor joist for off grid cabin done

Remember to always separate regular lumber from directly touching concrete with a piece of pressure treated wood to prevent rot.

The Front Deck Plan

Today we’re putting in three 6″ x 6″ pressure treated (PT) posts, framing the front deck with PT dimensional lumber and installing PT deck boards.

The front deck with be covered by the steel roof and measures 20ft x 8ft. The space above the deck, covered with the steel roof, will provide a weather proof crawl space/storage space inside. The pitch of the roof will aid in snow removal in winter and rain collection in the spring, summer, fall. The space above is not insulated but can be if you choose.

FYI: The pitch changes from 6/12 pitch (22.5 degrees) over the deck to 12/12 pitch (45 degrees) near the top of the roof . This pitch change (for the top 6′) matches our latitude exactly and is the required angle for our solar panels.

We’ll also install two 7 Watt LED pot lights above the deck inside the crawl space.

Front Deck Footings

Like the main cabin floor foundation, we’ve built the footings for the three front deck posts on 24″ x 24″ concrete pads leveled with crusher dust, (in some areas), 8″ cinder blocks topped with PT deck boards and finally a cement deck post block to secure the base of the deck post in place.

We leveled the concrete pads with one of our favorite pocket tools the string level which we picked up on Amazon for a just couple of bucks.

The three footings for the front deck are all built similar.

cabin front deck post on sand

cabin front deck post on undistrubed soil

Framing of the Front Deck

Once we finished leveling the front deck footings we installed the first two of three 6″ X 6″ deck posts using the exiting pressure treated runners we installed the day before. 

cabin front deck first two posts

After installing the two end posts we can now find the center of the deck and level the ground for the middle post.

cabin front deck with three posts installed

Middle deck post installed and leveled.

cabin front deck middle post

Securing the front of the deck joist with galvanized lag screws and washers.

We used this Hitachi cordless drill and impact driver. This is definitely a must have tool for the project. You can drive all the lag-bolts using a wrench or socket set but I can’t imagine how much more time and energy that would take! We found the Hitachi lightweight, powerful and the charged lasted all day. Plus it recharges extremely quick.


Cabin front deck subfloor framing

We used PT 2 x 8s doubled up as the support for the deck joist runners.

Cabin front deck subfloor framing with joist hangars 2

The support beams are secured using joist hangars.

Cabin front deck subfloor framing 2

Placing the first 2×8 floor joist.

Cabin front deck subfloor framing with joist hangars

Cabin front deck subfloor framing post corner

Cabin front deck subfloor framing 3

We overlapped the 14ft PT 2x8s.

Cabin front deck subfloor framing 4

Making some cross bracing pieces for the front deck floor joist.

Cabin front deck subfloor framing cross bracing

This was made incredibly fast and easy thanks to the DeWalt cordless framing nailer.

Main Cabin Sub-floor

We then decided to throw on a few sheets of 3/4″ T&G OSB onto the main floor joist as a work platform and get a head start on tomorrow.

off grid cabin subfloor first sheets being installed

Laying down the main cabin sub-floor.

off grid cabin subfloor sheets being installed

Cabin front deck measuring for decking

The FIRST layer of the main cabin sub-floor complete.


Front Deck PT Deck Boards

We designed our front deck so that the 8ft PT deck boards would run front to back and perpendicular to the joist.

TIP: If the lumber store your dealing with does not have the exact size of lumber you’ve ordered they will often times substitute it with boards of greater length.

This was the case with our requested 8ft PT Deck Boards and we ended up with 10ft deck boards instead.

Cabin front deck pressure treated decking install 2 Cabin front deck pressure treated decking install

For absolute precision the entire build we cut all our lumber using a DeWalt 12″ double bevel sliding compound miter saw.

Finished PT Front Deck and Sub-floor

Cabin front deck pressure treated decking install complete

PT front deck complete.

Cabin front deck pressure treated decking install complete 3

Cabin front deck pressure treated decking install complete 2

Time to trim some trees to see that lake!

Cabin front deck pressure treated decking finished


There’s something incredible satisfying about no longer having to sit on the ground, working in the mud and finally having a large work surface to… well to work on.


Next Time…

In the next phase of the cabin build we’ll be raising the walls so get ready for some framing action and this this platform to start coming to life.

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Your Turn…

If you’ve enjoyed the progress so far please let us know below and share our build with your friends, family and all over your social media.

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We’d love to hear from you so drop us a question, query or comment below and we promise to get back with you ASAP.

If you have any advice, tips or tricks then go ahead and share your knowledge with all our readers below. We love hearing your previous build stories or what you have planned for your cabin.

Come see our most popular posts or head back to the cabin build section to see more of the off grid cabin build.

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