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Old 09-03-2014, 06:55 PM  
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Second-floor deck on piers


Be honest: is this safe?



I swear they put posts in piers for this. You all know what I'm talking about:



I just bought a side lot. I'm not allowed to build anything permanent; I'm considering wrapping the whole house with a deck. The porch stands about 6 feet (basement is ~2 feet below grade?), so a first-floor deck would be 6 feet raised from the ground. I, however, am interested in a second-floor deck or a two-story deck.

A deck is not a permanent structure. Posts can be removed readily. Likewise, a shed on pier blocks can be pulled off by a truck, allowing removal of the piers and gravel. A poured foundation and brick building is not legal for the first 10 years.

On one hand, I like this idealized 6x6 or 8x8 post foundation footed into gravel (shouldn't that provide frost resistance, due to gravel motility?) holding up a second floor or two-story deck. On the other, could you imagine the supports shifting? A deck collapse can cost thousands in property damage, and lead to injury or death.
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:09 PM  
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I have seen a lot of decks built with just the piers in Tahoe. I don't know if they are safe but if your frost level is not deep it might be okay.
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:19 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robpo View Post
I have seen a lot of decks built with just the piers in Tahoe. I don't know if they are safe but if your frost level is not deep it might be okay.
Tahoe? You mean the lake?

Is this like pahoehoe?

I'm trying to maximize available space, but don't want to build something unsafe.
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:24 PM  
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Yes, The Lake in the Sky.(meaning of Tahoe)
Don't know what pahoehoe is.
Never heard of one falling but I would keep an eye on it.

Last edited by Robpo; 09-03-2014 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:30 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robpo View Post
Yes, The Lake in the Sky.(meaning of Tahoe)
Don't know what pahoehoe is.
Was a joke. Pahoehoe is a type of basalt lava. I thought you were indicating a material gravel to seat piers in.

Methinks I can't freestand this anyway. It would be too top-heavy. So much leverage without screwing it to a wall (the wall there is concrete) would allow for ripping the posts out, unless piled deep in the ground. Deep-set lumber will rot (water table), and stress will break wood anyway. I would need to fasten the deck to the building, or buttress it (which is unreasonable).

Fasteners provide opportunity for water ingress and freezing.
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:41 PM  
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I agree there would have to be a ledger lagged to the wall. I assumed that.
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