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Old 05-18-2011, 08:21 PM   #1
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Deck Repair Help

We moved into our house last year and one thing we had been wanting to do was replace the decking. The current decking was 2x4s and had not been properly treated, so was in pretty rough shape.

We purchased new decking and went about removing all of the old decking. When I got that removed I ran into a few other problems. What I'm looking for is some advice as to whether this can be repaired or if I should just consider scrapping the whole thing.

Some pictures should help me illustrate.

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This deck seems to be built as a free-standing deck. It does not have beams, just posts with joists bolted to them around the outside frame. The dimensions are 12x24 and there are three 6" posts on each side. There is also one post in the middle.
First question, should this deck have beams?! it doesn't seem right...

Now, while the deck is free-standing it's also bolted to the house... straight through the siding.

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There also is no flashing where the deck attaches to the house. So the siding, in at least one area, seems to be rotting... great.

Speaking of rot, I found at least 8 joists that had some level of rot. Looking at replacing these I noticed all the joist hangers were improperly installed. Each was installed with screws, usually just 4.

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Can I even correct this without removing, and moving all of the joist hangers to new locations?

Here's another fun bit. This is in the joist/ledger attached to the house. There is a vent (for what, I'm not sure) which is cut straight through the board. It looks like it's split in the bottom also.

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And finally, speaking of posts. There are three posts which support the pagoda. This is one:

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This is another:

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I'm not sure why these posts are split, or if the first one is properly rebuilt, but again it just doesn't seem right.

So my questions:

1) Do I need to remove the ledger board/joist that is attached to the house because of the siding rot? I think this could be the biggest problem, and could lead to the whole deck coming down. I don't see how to remove this board without it.

2) if the deck survives, do I replace all the joists and joist hangers?

3) I guest the biggest question, is should this deck survive?

Thanks for your help everybody, hope you enjoy the failings of others I've discovered


nevon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2011, 08:50 PM   #2
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You have a lot of issues.
The joist hangers should have been nailed, not screwed. And all the spaces in the hanger nailed, not just a few of them.
You mention that the siding has rotted due to the ledger and the lack of flashing. What siding do you have.


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Old 05-18-2011, 08:53 PM   #3
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You asked for free advice, so here is the place to get plenty of it, including my 2 worth: The ledger should not be tied directly to any structure, there should be a minimum (IMO) of at least 1 1/2" between the ledger board and any structure for rain and dirt to go through. Screws should not be used with the joist hangers, screws have very little shear strength for this application. That's why the manufacturer's of these hangers state what size, and how many nails to use. The vent is definitely in the wrong place. I appears to be a clothes dryer or bath vent application. The board is split, therefore it's structural integrity has gone. NO WAY would I ever build a deck and put one board on top of another--PERIOD. There is no shear strength there either. The weight of one part of the deck is resting on another part of the deck, in a vertical plane. You're not going to like this part, but here it is: Tear the complete deck down, salvage what good boards there are for the new deck to be built, build a new deck designed properly.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:00 PM   #4
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Ron, the siding is hardboard. It seems to have rotted in a couple spots where the ledger is attached to the house. I plan on getting a siding guy out here to look at it, since I've only had experience with vinyl before and I think there may be a few other problems.

Thurman, thanks for the honest advice. When we got the house we thought the deck needed a little work, these issues were hidden by the lattice and bushes around it. Looks like we got a lemon. The more I've poked around in it, I really agree with you that the deck needs to come down. I just needed the confirmation from some people who have more experience with decks than I do.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:56 PM   #5
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Additional errors; need closed risers, guardrail sections elevated too far, picket spacing not to current code if you re-build, no graspable handrail, all wood needs to be pressure treated, posts require 2- 1/2" galv. bolts to rim, not house, decking level with inside floor (appears), etc....

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17,000 dryer fires a year, when did you last clean the inside of the dryer near motor or the exhaust ducting?
Gary in WA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2011, 10:11 PM   #6
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Thanks GBR. I'm sure there are plenty more errors not shown in the photos. I haven't even checked into code for decks, what I mentioned was just what I jumped to mind immediately from my limited experience. My neighbor is a contractor, I'm going to see if he does any deck work or can recommend somebody who does. It's a bit disappointing when what I had hoped would be a simple decking repair turned up so much.


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