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Old 10-16-2011, 03:12 PM   #1
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Deck Support Beam temporary fix.


Basic data: House is 9 yrs old. Relatively dry climate (Colorado). Deck approx 27w x 15d. Deck is solid. No weakness noted. The joists are 2x12 at 12" centers. The support beam is made of 4 pieces of 2x12s nailed together plus a 2x12 fascia board. The deck has stucco posts on top so the beam is visible in three sections.
Other Info: I had a local contractor, who was doing some work for us, give us some ideas for our deck. We were planning an upgrade in a year or two with trex or have a solid deck surface. Anyway, he noticed we didn't have any flashing on the support beam which he said would most likely reduce it's life. He suggested I pull up the two deck boards over it to gain access and put some flashing on them. This would extend the life of the support beam until we did the deck work. Then he could decide if they needed to be replaced.

So, that's what I did. The outer two support beam 2x12s are solid when I hammer on them as is the fascia board. The inner two are mushy and show wood rot. One section had carpenter ants. (At least that's what I think they are.)

Question: Does it seem safe to let the beam air dry then attach the flashing as a temporary fix? Then, in a year or two re-evaluate the support beams when we have some deck work done? Again, the deck is solid feeling.

BTW. I wish I had gone here first to see the wealth of knowledge. Might have gotten some flexible flashing instead. Thank in advance for any comments.
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:22 PM   #2
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Deck Support Beam temporary fix.


Do these 2x12's go into or through the stucco'ed column?
If it were me, since the area is opened already, I'd do the repair now and cover the beam with an ice and water shield product. The water will follow the nail right through the metal, into the wood.

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Old 10-16-2011, 05:45 PM   #3
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Deck Support Beam temporary fix.


Ron,
Thanks for the reply

From the pics I took during construction they appear to be one piece all the way across.

And, you are so right about water and the screws/nails thru the flashing. That's what I meant about wishing I had gone to the web site first. I probably would have bought the flex flashing/ice and water shield stuff in the first place. I guess I could simply get some put it over the tin or pull the tin up and put it down.

As far as totally fixing it; I suspect in the long term I need to take off the stucco posts on the top of the deck and compltetly replace the support beam. The two center 2x12s are pretty rotted; at least on top. I am thinking they have to be replaced and that was goin to be the plan when we do an upgrade in a year or two.


George
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Old 10-16-2011, 11:31 PM   #4
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Deck Support Beam temporary fix.


George,

Not sure exactly where you are in Colorado, we are located in Colorado Springs and specialize in custom decks. What you have posted is very typical of what we encounter on a regular basis. Those beams are for sure rotting, I would never stake my reputation on saying something that is rotting is safe. Rot is bad, it weakens the structure drastically. We often tear down builder grade decks as little as 5 years old with considerable rot. Another problem I see is that painted framework accelerates rot, the water will find a way in through cracks and screws and once it's in the paint/stain traps the water in causing rot. Flashing the tops of doubles (or any multi-member) prolongs it's life for sure but is not bullet proof.

We have overcome the many disadvantages of wood by building all of our deck with a galvanized steel frame. Building with steel offer many advantages including never having to worry about your framework again, longer spans, dimensionally stable, etc. We can span some long distances with our beams to really open up the area under the decks.

I would also recommend staying away from trex (the brand) the product does not perform well in our environment. There are many other better quality materials available, which is why I have always felt it's critical to work with a decking professional rather than a general contractor. I have specialized in outdoor living spaces for 7 years and spend all my time dedicated to offering the highest quality projects to my customers as possible, I spend lot's of time testing and researching products and methods rather than just listening to salesman at the lumber yard. Even a quick search on this forum will return a lot of negative opinions on the trex brand.
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:39 PM   #5
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Deck Support Beam temporary fix.


Robertcdf,

Thanks for the info. I didn't know about the painting issue and moisture. One would have thought the builder should have known better. Actually, there are several things the builder did that baffeled me.

Anyway, as I said, we are only looking to get thru another year or two then have a complete make-over. I looked at your site and saw a lot of covered decks. We like that. What we would like is a covered deck with a solid floor because we a basement walkout underneith that we'd like to keep dry. I'm ot sure if composite, concrete or tile is the way to go. Do you have experience with those?

In the meantime I will ditch the flashing and add some ice and water shield for now, as was recommended in a post. Since I already have the flashing, maybe use both?

We are in your 719 area and my wife picked up one of your brochures several months back. Nice work but to be honest, I wasn't sure if our bugdet could afford you.

George
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
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Deck Support Beam temporary fix.


George,

There are a lot of things that builders should be beaten for... I would just use the I&W or window tape for the beams, since it's self healing it does a really good job of keeping the water out.

Thanks for the compliments, It's a free call and I would be happy to meet with and design a project that fits your home and needs. I've found most of our customers are surprised at what they get for the money, it really works out to a good value with the lifetime steel frame making it the last deck to buy, and a great selling point if you move on. Keep us in mind when it's time for your project.

Thanks

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