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doublecheck 04-30-2012 02:27 PM

Deck Help
6 Attachment(s)
Hi everyone! This is my first post. As a first time home owner, I've read the advice posted here, and found it to be very helpful.

So, here's my issue. My deck was looking pretty bad, so I cleaned it to get a better look at it. I noticed the posts were splitting and twisting, some of the joist hangers were missing nails, and the only connection from the deck to the posts is through what looks like decorative bracing.

I got nails and hammered in the missing nails for the joist hangers. Then found a deck contractor to look at the deck and tell me what he thought needed to be done. He seemed to think only the rails needed work and fixed the rails.

I'm just want to make sure before I use it, and allow others to use it, that it's safe.

Thanks in advance for your help!

woodworkbykirk 04-30-2012 02:48 PM

a few missing joist hanger nails is a easy fix. pressure treated twists and splits but as long as the splits arent all the way through its not a big deal its the nature of the product. teh brace on the underside is there for the framing process. it gets nailed up to keep the frame square until hte decking goes down, more often than not it gets left in place after the deck is done though by some crews

doublecheck 04-30-2012 03:28 PM

Hi Kirk! Thank you for your reply!

Should I be concerned that without the brace there's nothing holding the deck to the post?

Daniel Holzman 04-30-2012 04:50 PM

The deck as built is well short of International Residential Code (IRC) requirements for a newly constructed deck. This may not be of concern to you. Areas that appear to be short of code standard includes the use of toenailing on the sway bracing, and the method of connection of the posts to the beams. Without a careful, hands on examination, I can't tell how many other code shortfalls there may be, but common issues I have seen include improper flashing, improper connection of post to foundation, improper staircase design and installation, inadequate railing.

However, you had a deck specialist or similar look at the deck, so if they did a thorough review and only found an issue with the railing, maybe that's it. Your building inspector may be willing to look at the deck and give you a list of code shortfalls. Note that just because a particular element of your deck does not meet current code does not automatically make it unsafe, it just means it does not meet current standards. Codes change all the time, so what is considered adequate today may not be adequate next year from a code standpoint. Whether or not it is safe is a much more difficult question, that requires an on site inspection by a knowledgeable person.

doublecheck 04-30-2012 05:24 PM

Hi Daniel!

Thank you for your help!

Even though I had the contractor out, I think he was more concerned about the look of the deck.

I was considering using retro fitted post caps to connect the deck to the posts, but I'm not sure if that would be slapping lipstick on a pig.

hand drive 04-30-2012 05:24 PM

from the pics I am unable to see how the deck attaches to the house but the rest looks safe. the deck sits on the posts, I assume it is the same way at the house. the rail picket design is not an accepted way of doing them anymore but if they are nailed to the deck band and top part of rail really well then it holds the railing up no problem.

doublecheck 04-30-2012 06:05 PM

Hi Hand Drive!

The deck attaches to the house with bolts.

Thanks for the heads up on the rail design!

Thank all of you for your help!

robertcdf 04-30-2012 07:08 PM

I don't think you spoke to a deck professional, I see a number of things (as Daniel said) just in pictures, I'm sure there is a number of other things too. Knowing where you live would be helpful too. Take a look at for a professional that might be able to help you out better.

doublecheck 05-01-2012 11:52 AM

Hi Robert!

Thank you for the link, it had plenty of contractors in my area.:thumbup:

I'm in the burbs of Atlanta, GA.

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