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Old 10-01-2008, 10:25 AM   #1
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Buidling code for deck and nailing schedule


I'm having a deck built and my contractor claims there is no building code that dictates the building of a deck. Some of his construction techniques concern me; they are:
- screwing rather than nailing joists where they lay on the beam.
- screwing joists directly to house but putting boxing between joists. After he bolted boxing to the house, he toe-nailed joists to boxing. No flashing between joists or boxing and siding.
- attaching stair stringer directly along posts, allegedly for lateral stability.
- deck is 9 feet tall and it sways even though there is some bracing.
- joists 24" OC with no boxing.

Is this an acceptable way to build a deck? Is there any California building code section that covers decks? Thanks for your help.


Last edited by Jozee; 10-01-2008 at 10:36 AM. Reason: change title
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:42 AM   #2
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Buidling code for deck and nailing schedule


I can't speak for California code except to say that they're among the strictest codes in the nation. Here in Kansas and the rest of the world, code absolutely applies to decks, and permits/inspections are required.

Let me guess...He didn't get a building permit did he?

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Old 10-01-2008, 10:46 AM   #3
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Buidling code for deck and nailing schedule


He's not done with the deck but our contract states he will get the necessary permits. Needless to say, there will be no payment without a signed permit but he required payment for the materials which means I'm out $2K right now if the problems with my contractor continue.
Which code section applies to decks?
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:50 AM   #4
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Buidling code for deck and nailing schedule


Joist, beam, and header span tables apply to decks. Stair code applies, as do handrail and guardrail requirements. Typically, most cities have specific deck requirements for construction methods that they adopt and enforce. There isn't a specific "decks" chapter in the code, but much of it applies.
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:55 AM   #5
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Buidling code for deck and nailing schedule


thank you; I'll call my city building department as soon as it opens.
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:07 AM   #6
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Buidling code for deck and nailing schedule


I forgot to mention, building permits are basically revenue generation where I live - our city inspectors rarely, if ever, catch the real problems. I have had many bad personal experiences with our building dept; for example, I was adding a new bathroom. After the water pipe rough-in passed inspection I found that the water was not on, or pipes pressurized for test. When I turned on the water, all the pipes leaked at the solder joints. The incompetent plumber was already paid and wouldn't fix because the pipes passed inspection so I had to find another plumber to repair.

In theory, a building permit would help but in my city a permit is meaningless.
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Old 10-01-2008, 01:08 PM   #7
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Buidling code for deck and nailing schedule


i had a similar experience with our plumbing inspector. real nice guy, came in, looked behind the tub. that was it. didn't look under sinks, check toilet, drains, nothing. just asked me if i did a good job. i said yes and he left. go figure..... at least "I" know i did it right. at least the elec. insp. did HIS job and checked everything and passed me.

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Old 10-01-2008, 01:46 PM   #8
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Buidling code for deck and nailing schedule


If you are not fortunate to have a permit and code, you have no one to protect you from yourself and the contractor that says there is no standard.

As you have heard previously, it is rare that there is no control to keep the wood butchers and nail benders in line. Deck failures and problem are one of the most common problem areas, especially when you go to sell. - The contractor can be good or bad, but when one sys there is to minimum standard, you should be concerned.

What you have mentioned seems very wrong:

1. Screwing has a much lower shear strength than nailing. Joist hangers should be used.

2. A ledger should be through-bolted.

3. There must be flashing under the moisture barrier and probably a second flashing depending on the details. Water pentration and rotting is a common source of failures, not to mention mold.

4. 24" on center joists sounds minimal or unacceptable unless you have an unusual situation and very thick decking.

Was the contractor the low bidder?

Do you think an internet net opinion from someone that has never seen what you are building or knows the conditions is more qualified on the standras, you have a problem. All you can get here, based on the information given.

Dick

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