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Old 04-13-2010, 05:45 PM   #1
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Gap between ledger and joists in hanger


Hello I have a problem, I'm rebuilding a deck. I took down everything except the ledger board and the beam across the way. It appears that the bottom of the ledger board currently in place is higher than the top of my beam. As a result no matter how well I get my new joists in the hanger there is a gap larger than 1/8th of an inch in the hanger and the joist is slanting downward towards the beam causing it not to sit completely flush on top. Is this a problem I should be concerned about? Was planning on using hurricane ties and blocking. I will upload pictures shortly.

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Old 04-13-2010, 05:58 PM   #2
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Gap between ledger and joists in hanger


shim shimminy shim shimminy shim shim sure-ee

So Mary Poppins would advise, anyway. :D fix into place non-wood shims (they make them out of different materials) and fill the gap - making it either flush or a gradual slop rather than a drop-off.

OR - you could shave off the underside of that piece so it has a bit of a 'lip' which will sit on it snugly.

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Old 04-13-2010, 06:09 PM   #3
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Gap between ledger and joists in hanger


Here are those pictures:


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Old 04-13-2010, 06:21 PM   #4
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Gap between ledger and joists in hanger


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Originally Posted by Snav View Post
shim shimminy shim shimminy shim shim sure-ee

So Mary Poppins would advise, anyway. :D fix into place non-wood shims (they make them out of different materials) and fill the gap - making it either flush or a gradual slop rather than a drop-off.

OR - you could shave off the underside of that piece so it has a bit of a 'lip' which will sit on it snugly.
Do they sell shims at different thicknesses? If so what size would you recommend?
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:52 PM   #5
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Gap between ledger and joists in hanger


That aint nothing, it looks beautiful.

I know your trying to be perfect but by the time you have it decked, rails on, and your sitting up on your new deck you’ll forget all about it and no one will ever say a thing.
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by equilibrium1736 View Post
Do they sell shims at different thicknesses? If so what size would you recommend?
Shims are long, thin triangles that are maybe 3/16" wide at one end and taper to a point - they're 5" long.

You would slide it in until it fills in the gap - if you need to you can cut the tip off - and then cut off the excess that's sticking out.

However - I imagined that you were referring to the ledger at the bottom of the deck, not the top.

So, honestly, I agree, you don't have to worry about what's overhead - you're not going to see or notice it at all.
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kwikfishron View Post
That aint nothing, it looks beautiful.

I know your trying to be perfect but by the time you have it decked, rails on, and your sitting up on your new deck you’ll forget all about it and no one will ever say a thing.
That makes me feel so much better, thanks! In case you were wondering what stain is being used it's Sikkens Rubbol Dek.

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Shims are long, thin triangles that are maybe 3/16" wide at one end and taper to a point - they're 5" long.

You would slide it in until it fills in the gap - if you need to you can cut the tip off - and then cut off the excess that's sticking out.

However - I imagined that you were referring to the ledger at the bottom of the deck, not the top.

So, honestly, I agree, you don't have to worry about what's overhead - you're not going to see or notice it at all.
Should I insert the shim in the hanger as well to fill the top or should I just leave it alone? Almost all of the bottoms of the joist are touching the ledger. Thanks for your great advice!



For the beam side should the shim be shoved in to actually raise the joist or just fill the space? I still have to block in between the boards.

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Old 04-13-2010, 08:05 PM   #8
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Gap between ledger and joists in hanger


If a shim makes you feel "better than better" then by all means shim away. Shim or no shim the deck won’t fall down.
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Old 04-13-2010, 08:22 PM   #9
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Gap between ledger and joists in hanger


If you decide to shim you can put it at the top or at the bottom. If you're worried about appearances then I'd sugget to put it on top of the beam - that way you don't have to worry about it being seen from ground level.

It is such a beautiful deck and house - California, Arizona? I love that look. A few weeks ago we took a trip out that way to visit ill family and I came home to junky Arkansas and my 1/2 remodeled house and was seriously depressed
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Old 04-13-2010, 09:30 PM   #10
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Gap between ledger and joists in hanger


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If you decide to shim you can put it at the top or at the bottom. If you're worried about appearances then I'd sugget to put it on top of the beam - that way you don't have to worry about it being seen from ground level.

It is such a beautiful deck and house - California, Arizona? I love that look. A few weeks ago we took a trip out that way to visit ill family and I came home to junky Arkansas and my 1/2 remodeled house and was seriously depressed
You guessed right, we live in Orange County with a view. I decided to go and buy some shim it at Home Depot, was only 4 bucks for 24. So guess I'll just fill in the gaps with them and cut away the excess so the joist isn't sitting on such a small point on the beam. Thanks for the compliments, this is my first attempt and I'm 23 years old so I've never done a deck before; Glad it's being done correctly cause I've been driving myself crazy researching and designing it.

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Old 04-13-2010, 10:21 PM   #11
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Gap between ledger and joists in hanger


The original deck builder knew his decks. It is pitched for water run-off for: the decking boards to drain, the joists to drain, to keep the rain water moving away from the ledger/house stucco. Judging by the gap (1/4"-3/8") at the joist tops, I would guess the beam is 1-1/2" to 2" lower than the ledger. There appears to be sticky window guard/metal flashing painted white on the top of the beam for water protection, another usually over-looked item for quality. I would NOT add any shims that would trap/hold the rain water there, leading to future rot. The H-1's will be enough with the blocking. Hold the blocking up 1/8" above the beam for drainage, ripping the blocks if needed while staying just below flush on top.
"If you decide to shim you can put it at the top or at the bottom." ---- I do not see any way to shim the top of the sloping joist over the beam (other than ON the beam, or ON the post). Never use cedar shims for exterior work.

Some info if you need it: http://www.awc.org/Publications/DCA/DCA6/DCA6-09.pdf

Be safe, Gary
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Old 04-13-2010, 10:43 PM   #12
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Gap between ledger and joists in hanger


Thanks Gary, let me clarify, so your overall stance is not to shim anywhere on the project due to trapped moisture? Are you also saying that the H1Z hurricane ties and blocking will make up for the lack of support from the gap?

Good tip about the blocking as well, I'll do what you said and prevent it from completely touching the beam on the bottom and the deck boards on top. The old deck had blocking which wasn't ripped and rested flush on the beam in between the joists, this is where major mold and fungus was growing. They also didn't stagger the spacing either for the blocking, it was in a straight line all the way across.

To prevent gaps in the hanger should I have someone help raise the end of the joist level and nail it in? All I have been doing is pushing the joist as far back as it will go in the hanger, keeping it at the natural sloped angle. I don't know how the previous deck builder did it but the joists end butted up flush against the ledger.

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Old 04-14-2010, 12:27 AM   #13
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Gap between ledger and joists in hanger


As for resting the joists on the 'corner' of the beam, it would only be an issue if the deck is overloaded with quite a bit of weight,
In that case, the knife edge will squash until the wood is compressed to the point where the bearing surface is enough to carry the excess weight.
It will compress until it is happy...

Personally, I would not shim anything. Install the clips and call it done.
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:08 AM   #14
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As for resting the joists on the 'corner' of the beam, it would only be an issue if the deck is overloaded with quite a bit of weight,
In that case, the knife edge will squash until the wood is compressed to the point where the bearing surface is enough to carry the excess weight.
It will compress until it is happy...

Personally, I would not shim anything. Install the clips and call it done.
I think the most weight we will be having on this deck is 5 people. Guess I'm just being too over cautious because the old beams were installed with the same gap and the edge wasn't squashed. The thing that truly worries me though is the gap in the hanger during an earthquake.

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Old 04-14-2010, 10:54 AM   #15
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Gap between ledger and joists in hanger


Looking at the photo, the shims won't make it any safer. If your wood is new, it is going to shrink some more.

lol@earthquake. You have more to worry about than shims. I was just like you about a year ago. Perfectionist!

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