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jdoerz 07-01-2009 04:41 PM

Repair collapsed deck
In the middle of dinner on the deck, the ledger board gave way. No one was hurt, but one side of the deck dipped about 5 feet. It is about 14'x10' deck. I have jacked it up, and placed a temp. brick column under the corner.

The problem is that the ledger board has pulled away from the house an inch or so on two sides of the deck. Also, the ledger board was placed over top of a decorative board that runs around the house where the brick and the siding meet. I think this board is supposed to be part of the house's weatherprofing. I can reach my hand up and feel insulation between the decorative board and the house.

My original plan was to put lag screws in and reattach the ledger, or just convert the deck to free standing, but now I'm not sure how to get the ledger board back in place. I am also concerned about the pulled out decorative board allowing weather in.

My current plan (I think plan G) is to take the whole thing apart and start over, but I would appreciate any help.

I had trouble getting pic files small enough to post on this site, so I put some here.

kemp 07-01-2009 05:25 PM

Post some photos and have a look at the structure and condition of you deck as a whole.

It may be like you said: Someone didn't securely fasten the ledger in the first place. Or, it could be something more involved. Maybe the foundation of the deck itself is slipping and pulling the deck away from the house.

What I am saying is, make sure the ledger is the ONLY problem before you try and fix it.

Scuba_Dave 07-01-2009 05:29 PM

Ledger board was attached to the decorative board
Not fully attached to the rim joist
If the decorative board is all that is between the outside & inside of the house that is a problem
There should be a rim joist that you can bolt into
How old is the house?

Wildie 07-01-2009 07:01 PM

Here's a link to Simpson Strong Tie that I posted elsewhere and I would strongly advise you to read this carefully!

jdoerz 07-02-2009 12:11 PM

See pics here
I had trouble getting my pics file size small enough to post, so I put them here Thanks for all the help.

Clutchcargo 07-02-2009 12:51 PM

63 Attachment(s)
Some older houses don't have rim a joist, mine being one.
Is the ledger bolted or nailed to the house? My guess would be nailed.
Another thing How is the beam attached to the posts... It looks like not bearing on the post. Is it nailed or bolted to the post?
I think I would tear it down and rebuild properly.

jdoerz 07-02-2009 01:25 PM

update info
The house does have a rim joist, but I don't tink any of the nails or bolts (there are both) penetrated that far. The house is around 25 years old, I'm not sure about the deck.
The beam is bolted to the posts, but , at least now, some of the joists are not touching the beam and are held by nails. I will plan on pounding them back in (or replacing them) if I keep the deck, as well as add some metal support.

If I could move the whole thing so the ledger boards were back in place, I think I could attach it firmly. A job for a big hammer? There was significant movement, so I'm starting to lean to starting over and doing it properly.

Scuba_Dave 07-02-2009 01:35 PM

Hard to tell from the pics, sometimes have to see it in person
But it looks like the ledger board is only a 1x board?
Or is that juts the decorative board
It should be a 2x for strength
This pic makes me think you do not have a ledger board
Unless those nails are in a ledger board & the other thin board is the decorative board you mentioned?

If I looked it over & thought it would hold
I would put up flashing against the house
Then I would drill holes all the way thru the ledger & the rim joist
Then get some long bolts & bolt it in & tighten it together
Bolts are required every 16" - each joist bay
If the joist do not have metal hangers then install them
Are the joists 16" OC?
What size are they spanning the 10' distance?

jdoerz 07-02-2009 03:13 PM

You are correct, the gray board is the decorative board, there is a 2x6 ledger board not visible in this photo. The rest of the deck (aside from the ledger board attachment ) seems to be OK. The joist are 2x6 hung on metal hangers on the ledgerboard side, and nailed to a rim joist on the other(as well as resting on a bolted on beam).
The nails here are into the ledgerboard.

The joists are 16"OC, and the do span 10'.

The 2x4 is the top of my temp post.

Do you thin the bolts could pull everything back in place? Would lag screws work? It would couse less interior destruction if they would.

Thanks for your expertise.

Scuba_Dave 07-02-2009 03:24 PM

Lag bolts may work, but may strip out
Thru bolts with large washers are your best bet for long term success
You don't want this deck to fall down ever again

You need to tighten each one little by little to draw the ledger board in
Any weight you could add to the outside edge of the deck pushing in would help
Say 2x's leaning against the deck & people leaning on the 2x's

PaliBob 07-02-2009 04:32 PM

1 Attachment(s)

Forget about the Ledger Board and if you can get an Engineer to OK it, bolt a 4x8 against the bricks and into the Concrete block wall behind the bricks.

Check me on this as it is an assumption on my part that the house foundation is block and not just piers with a brick facade.

Whatever you do at the minimum get an Engineer to buy off on any action. There are a lot of ways for a deck to fail. You were really lucky that no one was on the deck when it failed due to its own weight.

The deck was really weak. It is just not making it strong enough to hold twenty family and friends there are natural hazards to consider like earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes, and the deck has to last through seasonal changes.

Your responsibility on this DIY deck will never end. If you sell the house in ten years and later the new owners have a deck failure, you can be held liable. Lawyers love these kind of cases.

Excuse the speech but I have a personal interest in deck safety. My wife's boss was killed when his deck collapsed. Luckily he was the only person on the deck.

Be safe
EDIT Note:
A 4x8 would probably be overkill and it would be difficult to tie to the 2x ledger for uplift loads.
So a 2x8 would permit strapping every 16" to the ledger.

jdoerz 07-02-2009 04:56 PM

I do have blocks behind the bricks, but they are hollow. I've read some bad reports about drilling into them. Comments?

Thanks for the input!

PaliBob 07-02-2009 05:21 PM

I thought of that possibility, that is why I said BOLT and not LAG, but you still need to see an Engineer.

jaros bros. 07-02-2009 05:33 PM

Looks like you are going to have to redo everything as there are a number of concerns. There is no flashing behind siding overlapping over the brick, there doesn't appear to be any flashing running behind the siding and over lapping on top of the decking or decking joists. There is no spacing between the deck framing and house...I noticed lots of green vegetation growing on the next next to the house. There is nothing to prevent horizontal movement, as in through bolts, carriage bolts, or simpson hold downs. You don't necessarily need to start over, but you need to get the deck out of the way so you can do the work of straightening things out. Set up some cribbing and drop the deck down a couple of feet. Borrow a few jacks if you have to. Then you will be in much better shape. Get flashing installed and make sure the rim joist is securely attached to the house. Use some simpson anchors if you need to. Then space a ledger off the rim joist so that water will not transfer between the two piece of lumber. Think like a rain drop and make sure every path leads back to the outside. You can use some ripped pieces of treated 2x or buy special deck spacers or even used hockey pucks cut in half for spacing the ledger and the rim joist. Make sure you have joist hangers where necessary. It would be a good idea to upgrade to some 6x6 posts on the outside to make it look a little more visually appealing as well. Good luck.

Aggie67 07-02-2009 05:47 PM

My suggestion is to start over. It's a small enough deck. There's just too much wrong with it, and from the look of the damage, I'd bet half the joists had at least some nail pulls. Insufficient ledger connection. Insufficient posts (should be 6x6 min). No rail caps. Is the far left corner resting on the retaining wall, or is there a post with a footing? Also, there's only one beam in there that I can see. And the wire mesh across the balusters screams "deck builder didn't know the code minimums, but luckily someone else did". It looks like a home made job. You can do better. Do a Google search for "Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide". That'll show you properly designed and sized deck features. If you're in the NJ, PA, DE area, I'll even come help.

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