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a2zunknown 09-13-2012 12:08 AM

Small Deck. Need input on lumber.
I'm building a small deck which will run just outside the bedrooms sliding glass door to the hot tub. Only a distance of 64" from the door to the tub. Length is about 13'. And I am going to run the decking length wise. So walking out of the door looking down the decking will span side to side. The decking will also run down the side of the hot tub, as a walkway. This will only be aprox 2' side to side, but 12' from the room down to the "bottom" side of the tub and step down to the patio slab. I can draw a sort of schematic and scan and upload if it will help. But I am on my phone right now. Anyway, the ground is only about 8" below the bottom of the sliders threshold so it will be a low deck. My thoughts for lumber are as follows: 4x4 pressure treated posts in concrete for anchors. 4x6 beams along the perimeter, and one down the center of the 13' span. 2x6 for the joists and 2x6 for the decking.

First question is does this make sense, second is as far as lumber, am I on the right track? Being unemployed I am on a budget but I don't want anyone falling thru the deck. It will be used frequently this winter but scarcely after that. At that point it will only be used was a secondary backyard exit/entry and random hot tub use. Any input will be appreciated.

joecaption 09-13-2012 12:23 AM

I would never use a 4 X 6 or even a 6 by 6 for a beam.
There not made to be side loaded and are prone to sagging, twisting or curling.
You use ganged up 2X's instead.
I would use 5/4 decking not 2X's.
Use ceramic coated decking screws not nails for the decking.
Keep in mind that decking needs to be a min. of 4" below that door.
Build the deck as a free standing deck, not attached to the house.
Do not install the siding tight to the side of the house.
Why 13", lumber does not come 13' long, make it 12' or 14' so you do not have as much waste.

GBrackins 09-13-2012 12:44 AM

sounds like you are placing the hot tub on the deck. with that and the closeness to the ground I think you'd be better served in the long run to install a reinforced concrete slab for the hot tub and a patio instead of the deck.

Constructing a deck that close to the ground is only asking for issues as it will be difficult to ventilate moisture trapped under the deck. joists that are wet on the bottom and dried by the sun on top will wrap and twist.

just my humble thoughts,

Good luck!

oodssoo 09-13-2012 12:19 PM


a2zunknown 09-13-2012 10:55 PM

I am not putting the hot tub on the deck. The tub is already placed. And I will go with ganged 2x6's as advised. I will take pics and upload tomoro to get a better idea of what I'm doing. Thanks for all the input so far. Does pressure treated 4x4's in concrete sound ok for the piers?

SeniorSitizen 09-14-2012 08:25 AM

When building I considered 4x4 post but 4x6 looked to me like a better option for not much more money. 2x8 for all joist on 2 ft. centers with Georgia's best treated pine lumber for the decking.

As much as I like the look and feel of wood, if I were to ever do it again I would take a serious look at synthetic deck floor material. The lumber now available for decks on a budget is rather unruly to install and gets worse over time. If it decides to warp, twist or bow no ring shank nails or screws are going to hold it in place very long.

GBrackins 09-14-2012 09:11 AM


this link will provide you with the American Wood Council's "Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide." This guide is based upon the requirements of the 2009 International Residential Code, the basis for local and state building codes.

joists and beam sizing are provided in the guide based upon the species of wood to be used. It will provide construction details.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

a2zunknown 09-14-2012 12:02 PM

That guide was a huge eye opener. Thank you very much!! Much appreciated.

GBrackins 09-14-2012 12:13 PM

glad it helped!

post any questions you might have, there are a lot of experienced talented members on this forum

SeniorSitizen 09-14-2012 12:25 PM

Some good information but I would never attach a ledger board to a building. OK, possibly with one exception, if it was completely under roof where absolutely no inclement weather could reach it.

But free standing is so much easier.

GBrackins 09-14-2012 12:34 PM

Fairview, so true ....

the only added requirement is the lateral bracing at all corners of the deck since you are not using the existing dwelling to provide lateral stability.

SeniorSitizen 09-14-2012 01:20 PM

Lateral Bracing - the height the OP's deck will be I doubt if lateral bracing will be needed but I can see where it would be necessary on some of those taller decks.

My deck height ranges from about a foot in height next to the house to around 3 ft. out at 14 ft. from the house and it is solid with no lateral bracing. The 4x6 posts may help that too.

GBrackins 09-14-2012 01:39 PM

true about the OP, I was commenting on free standing vs attached decks in general ....

I myself prefer patios over deck when they are that close to the ground. the deck will not last as long when they are that close to the ground as they tend to trap moisture under the deck which causes twisting of the joists. Personal preference.

weekendwarrior9 09-14-2012 06:31 PM

One more thing to consider: how far is it from your deck to the fence line? A lot of municipalities won't let you build a deck within x feet of a property line, seen anywhere between 5ft and 15ft.

DangerMouse 09-14-2012 08:19 PM


Originally Posted by weekendwarrior9 (Post 1010014)
One more thing to consider: how far is it from your deck to the fence line? A lot of municipalities won't let you build a deck within x feet of a property line, seen anywhere between 5ft and 15ft.

Of course, since you will have this permitted and inspected, (or risk having to tear it all out when the inspector drives by and sees it, or a neighbor reports you) you could ask the inspector the answers to setback rules in your locale.


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