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sore thumb 03-31-2013 08:18 AM

Surface Mounted Deck Post Problem
6 Attachment(s)
Hello, my post details a deck problem along with a possible solution. Details about the existing structure are provided. Glad to be here.

Situation -

Surface mounted deck posts allow top to sway. I have tried numerous post brackets and unsightly wood braces. The sway was greatly reduced yet looked horrid.

Proposed Solution -

My proposed solution is to install a shorter 4"x6" (cut from 6"x6") second post outside of the deck. The 4" width matches the width of the original surface mounted deck post. The deck board by the original surface mounted post is to be cut flush with the deck frame. The second post will be notched to fit flush with both the deck floor/frame and original 4"x4" surface mounted post. This new support post will be installed within a cement filled tube in the ground. The support post shall be bolted to the original 4"x4" deck post.

What is your opinion of my proposed solution? Suggestions, comments and criticisms are all welcomed.

Thank you in advance.


Below I have listed details regarding the deck and top. You will notice the lumber used for the top is not of sufficient size. Too late to correct that problem. I cannot rebuild the deck nor top. Since the deck does not connect to the house a building permit was not required. This was a DIY project.

Deck facts -
  • The deck is about 15 years old
  • Approximately 1.5' to 2' from ground to to deck surface
  • 4x4 sub-frame constructed using hanging hardware with 2x8 decking screwed in place* on top of sub-frame.*
  • All pine pressure treated wood.
  • Sub-frame sits on 12"x12" concrete squares.
  • Over the years the perimeter has been shored up with miscellaneous to keep the deck

Deck top facts -
  • Added to to the deck as a surprise construction gift by my brother who, God rest his soul, was not an accomplished carpenter.* Outstanding industrial pipe fitter though.
  • Surface mounted posts and top are about 12 years old
  • Cedar posts
  • Perimeter beams as 2"x6"
  • Top support structure are 2"x4"'s
  • Initially decking screws, bolts, lock washers, washers and nuts used to hold everything together.
  • Top - Lexan tinted corrugated panels
Photos of original deck and how it is today -

joecaption 03-31-2013 08:37 AM

Post a picture of what you have now.

sore thumb 03-31-2013 08:45 AM


Originally Posted by joecaption (Post 1149475)
Post a picture of what you have now.

Will do

sore thumb 03-31-2013 09:17 AM


Originally Posted by joecaption (Post 1149475)
Post a picture of what you have now.

Photos are at the bottom of the original post.

carpdad 03-31-2013 09:23 AM

Research a little more on decorative corner brackets made with wood. Even with treated wood, sinking wood into concrete will reduce the useful life of the posts. They will rot in the concrete.

joecaption 03-31-2013 09:58 AM

That should have been 6 X 6's not 4 X 4's for post.
There was suppost to be foorings for the post to sit on with real post bases so the post was not in direct contact.

Post should been notched so the cross beams were resting in the notches and through bolted, not screwed or laged.

Your rafters are about 1/2 the size they should have been.

GBrackins 03-31-2013 10:22 AM

some notes & questions:

the left brace shown in photo #4 should go to the post not just to the interior brace. I typically attach the lateral brace 1/3 the post height down from the top of the post and that same distance away from the post for the other end of the lateral brace. all posts receive 2 lateral braces.

are there footingsconcrete foundation under the corners of the ground level deck? if so the posts are typically attached to the concrete.

ground level decks are never a good idea as it is difficult to ventilate them to remove excess moisture. what you end up with is the bottom of the joists have a high moisture content whereas the top of the joists is dried by the sun which leads to cupping and/or twisting of the joists. photo #1 gives the impression the center of the deck is sagging, is this the situation? if so this can cause movement of the post base which in turn leads to movement at the post of the post.

if it were me I'd install a concrete patio and then my pergola attached to the concrete.

just my humble opinion

sore thumb 03-31-2013 10:31 AM

I am going to hire a contractor to set things right.

GBrackins 03-31-2013 10:32 AM

when you walk on the deck do you get movement in the pergola?

sore thumb 03-31-2013 12:59 PM


Originally Posted by GBrackins (Post 1149540)
when you walk on the deck do you get movement in the pergola?

No movement.

sore thumb 04-03-2013 08:29 AM

We are contemplating returning the deck to its original attractive design with several discreet reinforcements then in time have it totally and correctly rebuilt.

Jason34 04-06-2013 07:03 AM

There are 2 reasons for your sway. 1. The way the 4/4 posts are attached to the deck. You need to have more than one L bracket per post to help minimize sway. 2. The 2x6 scross pieces only have 2 bolts per 4x4 support post and they are above one another. Add a third bolt and have it placed so it formes a triangle. Look at picture 2. Theres 2 bolts. Those bolts should be like that BUT on the right side edge of the 4x4. Then you install one between those 2 in comparision but on the left side edge of the 4x4 to create the triangle. Since there are only 2 bolts which are ontop of eachother you still have somewhat of a pivot point because you will still have some play in the holes when you slide the bolts through. With a third bolt installed the play is cut down even further. Also need to remember that lumber will dry out thus your holes will get bigger causing even more play.

jagans 04-06-2013 08:44 AM

Completely Remove, Re-engineer, and properly reinstall. You can save a lot of what you have above the old deck. Concrete Patio makes a lot of sense.

Jason34 04-06-2013 08:55 AM

You seriously dont have to redo the entire thing though. If you look at picture 2 and look at how the 2x4's are just sitting on the 2x6's if you can get those braced to eachother instead of just sitting on there that would also help. I like the idea though and am thinking of doing that to my back patio. Only problem is mine is poured pavers with morter in between. I layed a nice deep gravel bed and poured the pavers by hand using a template one by one and everything turned out great except for the morter which for some reason the top 1/2" is busting loose. Well my patio is 16x16 and if I did this I would need posts at each corner and then between them so I split the span. Not sure how I would even support the middle.

sore thumb 04-06-2013 09:36 AM

Never heard back from the contractor. I think he just wanted to make a fast buck. Taking all of everyone's advice in while comtemplating what to do. A major expenditure on the deck was not planned so I have to be frugal. The backyard re-landscaping is taking longer than expected and has necessary over runs. :huh:

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