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Old 05-03-2013, 05:55 PM   #1
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Help building a deck gate


Hello! I need to build a gate for the staircase on my back deck to keep my two toddlers from falling, but I've run into a couple issues. We didn't build the deck, and, the previous owners seem to have done a "less-than-perfect" job on it.

Here is a photo of the opening. It's a second floor deck, with the stairs going in a straight shot down to the lawn. (Don't mind the multi-colors; we're in the middle of staining it).


Link: http://imgur.com/mK7VAqj

My problem is that there are no support posts on which to mount the gate. The pieces you see are simply 2x2 spindles. Also, the handrails protrude into the opening and run flush with the interior surface of the deckrails. How can I safely mount a gate, and how heavy can I make it? How would you construct a basic safety gate?

Any advice would be appreciated!


Last edited by DalaiMama; 05-03-2013 at 05:56 PM. Reason: Picture link
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:30 PM   #2
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Help building a deck gate


Quote:
Originally Posted by DalaiMama View Post
Hello! I need to build a gate for the staircase on my back deck to keep my two toddlers from falling, but I've run into a couple issues. We didn't build the deck, and, the previous owners seem to have done a "less-than-perfect" job on it.

Here is a photo of the opening. It's a second floor deck, with the stairs going in a straight shot down to the lawn. (Don't mind the multi-colors; we're in the middle of staining it).


Link: http://imgur.com/mK7VAqj

My problem is that there are no support posts on which to mount the gate. The pieces you see are simply 2x2 spindles. Also, the handrails protrude into the opening and run flush with the interior surface of the deckrails. How can I safely mount a gate, and how heavy can I make it? How would you construct a basic safety gate?

Any advice would be appreciated!
Hi DalaiMama,
The sides of the staircase have 2-2x2's on each side. screw/nail them together. Mount the new gate and supports to the inside (on the deck) of those 2x2's. Make the gate lower than the rail and cap so it fits clear of obstructions. Make the gate swing onto the deck and as a precautionary measure, I'd add a spring to ensure that gate always stays closed and latched.
Last, the gap between the existing rail is way big and your kiddies can easily slip between them. Code requires no 4" sphere object can pass through any opening in the rail. I would suggest some sort of a permanent mesh to prevent this from happening.
Good Luck!

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Old 05-03-2013, 06:34 PM   #3
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Help building a deck gate


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Hi DalaiMama,
The sides of the staircase have 2-2x2's on each side. screw/nail them together. Mount the new gate and supports to the inside (on the deck) of those 2x2's. Make the gate lower than the rail and cap so it fits clear of obstructions. Make the gate swing onto the deck and as a precautionary measure, I'd add a spring to ensure that gate always stays closed and latched.
Last, the gap between the existing rail is way big and your kiddies can easily slip between them. Code requires no 4" sphere object can pass through any opening in the rail. I would suggest some sort of a permanent mesh to prevent this from happening.
Good Luck!
Thanks for the help. I forgot to mention we're taking care of those gaps, too. Haven't decided yet between just doubling up the balusters, or adding lattice inside. Whoever made this deck definitely took some shortcuts...
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Old 05-03-2013, 06:41 PM   #4
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Help building a deck gate


Unfortunately, that happens very often with pertinent structures. They are not given the same consideration as a dwelling. Nonetheless, you did and that is all that matters.
Good Luck!
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:34 PM   #5
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Help building a deck gate


From what I can see, this deck is extremely dangerous. You cannot use 2 x 2 ballusters to support a hand rail. Code dictates that the top rail has to be able to resist a 200 pound load anywhere along its length. It also dictates that there is to be no space larger than 4 inches so a toddler cannot get his/her head caught and basically strangle themselves. You need to do more than stain this deck IMHO. I am not trying to alarm you, just prevent a tragedy. People that do crap work like this is the reason you need a permit today to wipe your you know what. G Brackins has posted a prescriptive method for building decks. Look in his past posts, and download it or PM me and I will email it to you. Please. Considering how the person that built this did the ballusters, I would hate to see the support structure. You may want to post a bunch of pictures of the ledger, the joists, the girder, and the vertical supports so we can take a look. Read my signature and heed what it says.
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Last edited by jagans; 05-03-2013 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:03 PM   #6
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Help building a deck gate


I'm seeing a sliding gate there.
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:22 PM   #7
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From what I can see, this deck is extremely dangerous. You cannot use 2 x 2 ballusters to support a hand rail. Code dictates that the top rail has to be able to resist a 200 pound load anywhere along its length. It also dictates that there is to be no space larger than 4 inches so a toddler cannot get his/her head caught and basically strangle themselves. You need to do more than stain this deck IMHO. I am not trying to alarm you, just prevent a tragedy. People that do crap work like this is the reason you need a permit today to wipe your you know what. G Brackins has posted a prescriptive method for building decks. Look in his past posts, and download it or PM me and I will email it to you. Please. Considering how the person that built this did the ballusters, I would hate to see the support structure. You may want to post a bunch of pictures of the ledger, the joists, the girder, and the vertical supports so we can take a look. Read my signature and heed what it says.
I found his posts and downloaded the PDF you mentioned. Wow. I'm seeing a lot of issues with my deck now... It appears that the ledger, posts, and joists--the support structure--is actually okay, but there are (lots of) other minor issues I need to correct. I need to install 4x4 guard posts (there aren't any, only 2x2s!!), replace the handrails, and also correct the connection between the stairs and rim joist.

I'll take some pictures tomorrow during daylight, and post. Thank you!!

Looks like I have a much bigger project than a stain and a gate!! Thanks.

Last edited by DalaiMama; 05-03-2013 at 08:26 PM. Reason: Add
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:57 PM   #8
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Help building a deck gate


Quote:
Originally Posted by DalaiMama View Post
I found his posts and downloaded the PDF you mentioned. Wow. I'm seeing a lot of issues with my deck now... It appears that the ledger, posts, and joists--the support structure--is actually okay, but there are (lots of) other minor issues I need to correct. I need to install 4x4 guard posts (there aren't any, only 2x2s!!), replace the handrails, and also correct the connection between the stairs and rim joist.

I'll take some pictures tomorrow during daylight, and post. Thank you!!

Looks like I have a much bigger project than a stain and a gate!! Thanks.
No, Thanks to Gary B, and thank you for listening to reason.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:47 PM   #9
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Help building a deck gate


Link to my photobucket album: http://s1281.photobucket.com/user/dalaim0mma/profile/
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:20 PM   #10
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Help building a deck gate


What is holding the ledger board to the house? I do not see any 5/8 inch through bolts or large flat washers. Please dont tell me it is nailed to the T1-11
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:34 PM   #11
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What is holding the ledger board to the house? I do not see any 5/8 inch through bolts or large flat washers. Please dont tell me it is nailed to the T1-11
It looks like nails. Can't tell what size, but they're big. Two nails per joist, it looks like.
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:48 PM   #12
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Help building a deck gate


Those are nails and it looks like nails are missing in the hanger too, not a good thing.

This deck is not safe.
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Old 05-04-2013, 03:54 PM   #13
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Help building a deck gate


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Those are nails and it looks like nails are missing in the hanger too, not a good thing.

This deck is not safe.
Yeah, we covered that...
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:21 PM   #14
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Help building a deck gate


Quote:
Originally Posted by DalaiMama View Post
I found his posts and downloaded the PDF you mentioned. Wow. I'm seeing a lot of issues with my deck now... It appears that the ledger, posts, and joists--the support structure--is actually okay, but there are (lots of) other minor issues I need to correct. I need to install 4x4 guard posts (there aren't any, only 2x2s!!), replace the handrails, and also correct the connection between the stairs and rim joist.

I'll take some pictures tomorrow during daylight, and post. Thank you!!

Looks like I have a much bigger project than a stain and a gate!! Thanks.
Glad you have it all figured out.
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:38 PM   #15
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Glad you have it all figured out.
Thanks, smartie. We know it wasn't built safe. What I could use are practical solutions for retrofitting it for safety/stability.

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