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Old 07-07-2011, 10:00 PM   #1
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


Hi all,

I had to remove a deck that was on my house - the wood was absolutely rotten and carpenter ants were a big issue.

Now that I am in the mood to rebuild, I wondered if I could reuse the existing posts (assuming that they are deep enough). Let me list out the things that are on my mind.

1. Can I reuse the posts like the one shown in the first image. If so ...

2. The original deck just sat on top of the concrete - is there a way for me to make a better fixing?

3. There are a few metal pipes sticking up like the one in the second image - what are they??? Additional supports?

4. I realize that it will be different depending on where a person lives, but if I hold the deck off of the house by a couple of inches, does this generally change the landscape as far as building permits are concerned?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you!

Hugh




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Old 07-07-2011, 10:10 PM   #2
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


you can use this


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Old 07-07-2011, 10:42 PM   #3
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


I would guess that the pipe that you see was substituted for rebar. I've done this myself.

While you have access, I would suggest that you would dig down beside the pier and see how deep it goes. It should rest on a footing that is deeper than what frost would penetrate.

As for permits, codes vary from place to place. You should check with your local building department.
Where I live the building department has a web site where this type of info is available.

Last edited by Wildie; 07-07-2011 at 10:43 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:31 AM   #4
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


Really hard to tell how big that pier is. Generally 12" dia and at least as deep as frost line is required.
One thing you could do is ask your building dept. if permits had been pulled for the deck originally. If so then they are likely of the correct size.

I use simpson standoff post bases to anchor post to concrete. Drill 5/8" hole in concrete, install 1/2" wedge type anchor and tighten the nut.

As for the pipe, hard to tell how big that is as well. If it comes out of the ground then I would say it has nothing to do with the deck.
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:10 AM   #5
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


Guys, thank you for the replies, I really appreciate it.

I never thought about asking if there is a permit for the original deck - not sure if it was built with the house or not.

I have a question that is bugging me - when is it a new deck and when is a repair? Where I am originally from (Scotland) if you constructed something on the original foundation then no permit was required.

Since I want to use the original posts, and the deck was ripped out due to extreme rot, am I not just repairing it?

Actually, another question if that's ok. Supposing I just plow ahead and rebuild this thing, what action could be taken against me if the local authority discover that the wood is new? I bought the house with a deck, and would end up selling it with pretty much the same deck, just upgraded.

Can they force me to take it down?

Thanks!

Hugh
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:13 AM   #6
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


Quote:
Originally Posted by 12penny View Post
As for the pipe, hard to tell how big that is as well. If it comes out of the ground then I would say it has nothing to do with the deck.
There are several of them dotted around - looks like they are at the same heights as the concrete. When I took the deck out I noticed that there had been a major repair - beams bolted to beams.
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:51 AM   #7
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hugh71158 View Post
Guys, thank you for the replies, I really appreciate it.

I never thought about asking if there is a permit for the original deck - not sure if it was built with the house or not.

I have a question that is bugging me - when is it a new deck and when is a repair? Where I am originally from (Scotland) if you constructed something on the original foundation then no permit was required.

Since I want to use the original posts, and the deck was ripped out due to extreme rot, am I not just repairing it?

Actually, another question if that's ok. Supposing I just plow ahead and rebuild this thing, what action could be taken against me if the local authority discover that the wood is new? I bought the house with a deck, and would end up selling it with pretty much the same deck, just upgraded.

Can they force me to take it down?

Thanks!

Hugh
It really depends on the jurisdiction you live in so you should check to see what the local codes and rules are in your area. In my town, it's considered new construction if you change ANY dimensions of the previous structure.

It's generally a good idea to get the proper permits and it's typically a pretty nominal expense. I'm not sure if they can make you take it down or not but I know in my area, if you haven't built the deck to code, ie: proper spacing between joists, proper beam size, posts, etc. they most definitely can make you take it down or at least rebuild it to code. If you don't have a permit where I live, you can apply for a variance to get it permitted after the fact but it costs a lot more money than getting the proper permits in the first place.

In regards to the cement, again, you'll need to check what is suitable for your area if you have to deal with frost heave. Some areas are 36" deep but in my town you need to go at least 42" to be safe. Do you know how deep the existing concrete is? You're probably ok with the existing footings but personally I'd be digging new footings if I wasn't sure. Just because they are there in the ground doesn't mean they were done right unfortunately.

Cheers!

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Old 07-08-2011, 12:59 PM   #8
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


hugh...life would be soooo much easier for you if you'd contact your local building dept. In about two minutes they can answer all these questions.

if it was permitted and inspected then you can build on the existing footers.

if it wasnt permitted then now would be a good time to do it right and do it legal.

why would you want to worry about them knocking on your door one day?
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Old 07-09-2011, 12:27 AM   #9
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


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Originally Posted by 12penny View Post
hugh...life would be soooo much easier for you if you'd contact your local building dept. In about two minutes they can answer all these questions.

if it was permitted and inspected then you can build on the existing footers.

if it wasnt permitted then now would be a good time to do it right and do it legal.

why would you want to worry about them knocking on your door one day?
I called this morning - turns out they are not open on Fridays!!! I was a bit surprised to hear a message tell me that.

I also didn't want to call and ask them if I would have an issue if I didn't get a warrant.

I have a friend who is a realtor, she actually found the house for us. She was telling me that here in Michigan, when selling, if you disclose that you have had work done to your house without a permit, the sale can still go through without any issues. I thought that was weird.

Her view was that I bought the house with a deck, I would be selling with a deck in the same position, the footing were there, so crack on with it. She did also say that I should build to code (I would) and photograph the process extensively.

I'll sleep on that.

Thank you again gentleman.

Hugh
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:14 AM   #10
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


"Her view was that I bought the house with a deck, I would be selling with a deck in the same position, the footing were there, so crack on with it. She did also say that I should build to code (I would) and photograph the process extensively "
Real estate people talk out of their rearends so often, they wouldn't know reality if it bit them there.
You can't "repair" a deck that does not exist.
In many locales, if you do work without a permit, you will get fined.
And in some locales you can build a house without paperwork what so ever.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:47 AM   #11
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hugh71158 View Post

I have a question that is bugging me - when is it a new deck and when is a repair?



Hugh
Since you ripped the existing deck off, it's a new deck.
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Last edited by Joe Carola; 07-09-2011 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:01 AM   #12
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


One issue with building a deck without a permit is that it is a highly visible project, unlike say replacing your water heater in the basement. So all of your neighbors are going to be aware that you are building a deck, since it is likely to be noisy. All it takes is one unhappy neighbor complaining to the building department, then you will find out very quickly exactly what the consequences are of building without a permit. As noted, depending on jurisdiction, consequences may include a fine, forced removal of the structure, and a pissed off building inspector, which can have really dire long term consequences, especially if they decide to investigate what other unpermitted activities have occurred in your house.

I am all for DIY, rugged individual, go your own way, whatever cliche you like, but when I did my deck, I pulled the appropriate permit ($275 in my town), and consulted with the building inspector the whole way whenever there was any kind of issue, and there were several. For example, the handrail for my steps is interrupted in the middle by a post. Strict interpretation of the code would require no interruption, but because I discussed this issue in advance with the building inspector, he waived that requirement, which saved me the headache of installing a handrail separate from the top rail supporting the balusters.

Another issue that came up was the required depth of the footings. In MA, code requires the footings to go below frost, which means four feet in my town. I hit some boulders at 3 feet on several posts, and the building inspector allowed me to stop there. If I had not pulled a permit, he could have required me to remove the footing and replace it with a four foot deep one. How I would remove the rock would have been my problem.

In short, my suggestion is prepare plans for the deck, take them to the building inspector, pull the permit, pay the fee, and make use of the building inspector's expertise. If they are part of the process, it will go much smoother for you than if they think you cut them out.
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:02 PM   #13
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


Hi all,

well, after a period of time doing other stuff, I finally applied for a permit.

Some concrete posts were there, some I added.

It turns out that a deck cannot be bolted to a brick wall any more - mine is. But, if you took the bolts out nothing would fall, as it's petty much on ground lever, and there are posts near the house. Does that make sense? I mean, it's not just the house fixing and front posts that support it.

Anyway, they charged me $120 today to issue a permit. My concern is, if I continue to work to a finish, are they going to come along and start questioning things, asking me to reveal post depths etc.

Any help appreciated. Thanks.

Hugh

Last edited by hugh71158; 12-08-2014 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:30 AM   #14
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Can I reuse these concrete deck posts?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hugh71158 View Post
Hi all,

well, after a period of time doing other stuff, I finally applied for a permit.

Some concrete posts were there, some I added.

It turns out that a deck cannot be bolted to a brick wall any more - mine is. But, if you took the bolts out nothing would fall, as it's petty much on ground lever, and there are posts near the house. Does that make sense? I mean, it's not just the house fixing and front posts that support it.

Anyway, they charged me $120 today to issue a permit. My concern is, if I continue to work to a finish, are they going to come along and start questioning things, asking me to reveal post depths etc.

Any help appreciated. Thanks.

Hugh


"In short, my suggestion is prepare plans for the deck, take them to the building inspector, pull the permit, pay the fee, and make use of the building inspector's expertise. If they are part of the process, it will go much smoother for you than if they think you cut them out. "


Take Daniel's advice and you'll be okay, like he says a pissed inspector can be a nightmare, some things need to be inspected before continuing, like pouring footings.

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