How to Build an Elevated Wood Walkway

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A wood walkway is more environmentally friendly than asphalt or concrete.
A wood walkway is more environmentally friendly than asphalt or concrete. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Homeowners have a wide variety of material to choose from when building a walkway, but wood is common choice. Among good lumber choices are juniper, redwood or cedar. These species act as a natural repellent to termites. Pressure-treated lumber also withstand insects and the elements. Before starting the project, check with the local building-code inspector to find out the local regulations.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-by-2-inch stakes
  • String
  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel
  • Quick-set concrete mix
  • 4-by-4-inch, pressure-treated posts
  • 6-inch bolts (one for each post foundation)
  • 12-inch-diameter cylindrical forms
  • Landscape fabric
  • Pea gravel
  • Post brackets
  • No. 8 galvanized nails
  • 2-by-6-inch boards
  • Lag bolts
  • Metal joist hangers
  • 10d galvanized nails
  • 2-by-6-inch deck boards (enough to cover the length of deck)

Drive 1-by-2-inch stakes 2 feet into the ground at each corner of the area planned for the walkway. Pull string from one stake to the other to outline the outside edge of the walkway supports. Use the measuring tape to make sure the distances between the stakes are the same.

Prepare the surface area for the location of the walkway, removing sod or vegetation, as necessary. Dig the holes for the 4-by-4 inch pressure treated posts to below the frost line. Dig the holes at 8-foot intervals. Place 12-inch-diameter cylindrical forms in the holes. Excavate at least 4 inches of soil from the area between the footings. Place landscape fabric over the ground.

Fill the area pea gravel to a depth of 4 inches. Use a tamper to compact the material. The pea gravel provides drainage. Skip this step in sites with well-drained soil. Mix quick-set concrete and use a shovel to fill the forms. Install a 6-inch bolt into the center of the concrete before it sets. Expose one-inch of the bolt above the surface of the concrete footing to secure the base for the post bracket.

Connect the brackets to the post bases. Fasten the post to the brackets with No. 8 galvanized nails. Install 2-by-6-inch pressure- treated lumber to the posts to form the perimeter or band joists. Secure the band joists to the post with lag screws. Pre-drill the holes to prevent splitting the wood when inserting the lag screws. Attach metal joist hangers 16 inches on center, which means 16 inches measured from center to center.

Cut the decking for the walkway from 2-by-6-inch deck boards to the appropriate length. Allow a maximum of one-inch overhang over the edge of the band joists. Secure the floor joists to the metal joist hangers. Space the decking 1/8 to a 1/4-inch apart, which allows for expansion of the wood and water drainage from the deck.

Secure the decking to the floor joists with 10d galvanized nails; pre-drill the holes. Install handrails as required by local codes; some building codes require handrails for any type of platform that exceeds a certain height.

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