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Old 05-25-2014, 03:56 PM   #1
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Deck rebuild


So my father in law has a 10 year old wooden deck attached to the house. It's a sloping lot so one side of the deck is ground level, the other side is about 6' off the ground. He had 3 steps down from the house to the deck, but wanted to put in a new composite deck/rails and raise the height of the deck so there aren't as many steps down from the house. His contractor is raising the new deck base by nailing small 4x4 pillars to the joists. The 4x4's aren't sitting on the old joists or posts anywhere, just on the old decking material, which I think is weird. He also didn't sink the new 4x4 railing posts into any of the old structure, he's just boxing them in and nailing them to the new joists. He said he's not putting in any cross members either because the new decking will stop any side to side movement.

My father in law doesn't do anything cheap, or half a$$. I know he wants a quality job and is more than willing to pay for it, but I don't think the contractor is doing a very good job. What do you think? Shouldn't he be tying into the actual structure somewhere?
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Old 05-25-2014, 04:02 PM   #2
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Never seen anything like that.......

close though:
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Old 05-25-2014, 05:11 PM   #3
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Totally unique "design". Is there any code where you live?
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Old 05-25-2014, 05:32 PM   #4
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I would have torn down the whole old deck and started over.
Most composite needs no more then 16" O/C joist. What's the spacing on those?
Where not allowed to attach 4 X 4's to the side of joist here.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:00 PM   #5
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We do have codes here, and they are pretty stringent. I forgot to ask if he got a permit, but from the look of things, I'd say he didn't, but I'm going to check. I have no idea what's allowed for a deck compared to a house. I thought since it was attached to the house, the same codes would apply, but I'm not sure why I have that stuck in my head!

So Daniel, by "unique" design, if it was your deck, would you let it go or tell the contractor you want it done differently?

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Old 05-25-2014, 07:13 PM   #6
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If it was my deck, I would have asked what the plan was, before I hired this contractor.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:17 PM   #7
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Yeah, I agree, but some people who don't know that much about construction have to trust their contractor. It just so happened we went over there this weekend and he was showing me what was happening, and asked what I thought. I told him it's probably fine, but not the way I would do it. I think at this point he should tell the contractor on Tuesday when he comes back, that he wants the old decking removed. That would pretty much force him to tie the new stuff into the structure instead of just floating it on top.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:22 PM   #8
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No way would except it like that.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:35 PM   #9
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... you do realize that when you suggest that he rip it all out and start over, on his own dime, he may not like the idea?

I guess step one is to talk it over honestly with the guy.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:35 PM   #10
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By unique I meant that in 37 years of engineering practice I have never seen anything like it. I asked about codes because the "design" does not meet the Prescriptive Residential Guide to Deck Construction, which is the code in my area. But I have no idea what the code is in your area. Presumably your builder obtained a permit, and a typical part of getting a permit is to show your plans to the building inspector. At least that is how it works where I live.

I don't have the time or energy to describe all the deviations from the Prescriptive Guide that the deck shows, and it may be totally irrelevant, if your town operates on a different code. But that is where I would start, check with the building inspector.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:39 PM   #11
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Total Fail...Fire the Guy Now!

(I wonder how long he's been waiting for a chance to use up those old painted 4x4's)?
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:52 PM   #12
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You guys don't appreciate cost efficient and creative construction....

Couple of 25 cent wind clips, a good liability policy, and that'll be good for another year.
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Old 05-25-2014, 08:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwikfishron View Post
Total Fail...Fire the Guy Now!

(I wonder how long he's been waiting for a chance to use up those old painted 4x4's)?
Actually, the painted 4x4's were the old railing posts on the existing deck.
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Old 05-25-2014, 08:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
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... you do realize that when you suggest that he rip it all out and start over, on his own dime, he may not like the idea?

I guess step one is to talk it over honestly with the guy.
He's not the kind of guy that would want him to do it all on his dime. He has no problem paying for work, he just wants it done right, and I wanted some opinions on whether it's "right"
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Old 05-25-2014, 08:32 PM   #15
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Ok. Then he should find someone who will do it right. Because what was proved is crapola around where I live. Ron

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