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Discussion Starter #1
Just tore off the original deck (built 1903). It was supported by two posts in the front and apparently just leaning against the house. As far as I can tell, there is no rim joist. Were rim joists not used in Victorian style home construction?

How do I attached a ledger to the house if there is no rim joist? If I cannot, what other way is there to attach the deck?
 

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Your house may have been built with balloon framing - no rim joist at 2nd floor
Can you determine where the wall studs are located?
Attaching to those is one option

Another option is to dig & put additional posts close to the house for support
The deck would be maybe an inch away from the house, allowing water to drain
Is the house siding intact where the deck was located against the house?
Where are you located - frost/snow freezing area?
 

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You could install a free standing deck using concrete pier footings along the house, instead of attaching a ledger.
 

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As someone else noted, your house may be "balloon framed":



There is no "prescriptive" method of attaching a deck ledger to a balloon framed wall, each specific case needs to be engineered.

Take a look here: http://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=158322&page=5 for a discussion of some of the factors that have to be considered.

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As MT just said. If you did attach to the studs on that early a house, it would compromise the studs' ability to hold up the roof. They are probably 24" on center and 2x4 at that. Most ledgers need closer fastener attachments than that. Granted the wood was stronger/thicker then but to put holes in- would weaken them.

The piers/posts near the house may need the dig as deep as the house foundation, if within 5', ask your local Building Department when you go for the permit. The Structural Engineer would take the design liability from you to satisfy your Homeowners Insurance Company, so the deck would be covered if a claim ever arose. Be safe, G
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The house is indeed balloon framed. The wall studs are 2x5 16 oc. I, too, am hesitant of attaching the ledger to the studs.

Can additional posts be used about 3/4 of the way towards the rear of the deck as opposed to very near the foundation? Digging even near the depth of the foundation would be 8' - an impossible job for a deck that's no more than 8' x 5'.
 

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Can additional posts be used about 3/4 of the way towards the rear of the deck as opposed to very near the foundation? Digging even near the depth of the foundation would be 8' - an impossible job for a deck that's no more than 8' x 5'.
Sorry - digging down to the foundation is not exactly what I meant
Digging down to below the frost lineis what is needed
That way the deck won't heave/move
As Gbar said, check with your building inspector on required dpth for your area/circumstance
 

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The house is indeed balloon framed. The wall studs are 2x5 16 oc. I, too, am hesitant of attaching the ledger to the studs.

Can additional posts be used about 3/4 of the way towards the rear of the deck as opposed to very near the foundation? Digging even near the depth of the foundation would be 8' - an impossible job for a deck that's no more than 8' x 5'.
A freestanding deck can be cantilevered back toward the house providing it meets code requirements for cantilevered deck construction (this is for the 2006 IRC, check with you local building department to determine their requirements)



in fact it's sometimes recommended that it be done this way when there is difficulty finding "undisturbed soil" close to the foundation of a recently constructed structure.
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Sorry people, I quoted that 5' to house rule, which I got from this: http://www.awc.org/Publications/DCA/DCA6/DCA6.pdf

I found it of interest also that all posts are required to be 6 x 6's, the tight variable ledger bolt/lag spacing, and the pier diameters and thicknesses even called out. I imagine all the building departments will use this, hopefully, as we will only have one code to memorize!

That was stated on the pier page. Jr, I think you may have to open up the wall to install blocking to meet the ledger fasteners requirement that your engineer will specify to satisfy your local Building Department. Be safe, G
 

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That doesn't make total sense - not that all codes do
I've seen houses with a deck on the front, house built into a hill, and the front footing is 16' down

And the 8' mentioned is very common with a full basement
I can't see anyone digging down 8' to support a deck

And what about houses like my last house - pier supports on cement blocks
That means I wouldn't need to dig down at all
Seems to be poorly worded
 
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