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Discussion Starter #1
I need help with a deck project.

I have an 8' x 8' deck off an upstairs room. I want to re-frame it so I can use composite decking.

The existing deck is secured to the house with lag screws. I haven't removed one yet but I suspect at least 3/8". I'm being told that code requires through-bolts with nut for attaching the ledger (?) to the house.

How do I work around code to allow the use of lag screws? I want to use 5/8" lags and have no issues with doubling the number of attaching points required.

As an example, if code required 1/2" through bolts every 18 inches, could I satisfy the inspectors by using 5/8" lag screws every 12 inches?

I need some options before I talk to the county building department.

Thanks.
 

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Framing Contractor
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I need help with a deck project.

I have an 8' x 8' deck off an upstairs room. I want to re-frame it so I can use composite decking.

Why does the ledger have to come off? Why are you re-framing it to use composite decking? Is the framing in bad shape? Are the joists centers to wide?
 

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Civil Engineer
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I don't know what code you are referring to that prohibits use of lag screws. In my town, we operate under the International Residential Code (URC). We use the 2006 code. On page 10 of the Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide (the design book for this code), there is a full discussion about allowable techniques for fastening a ledger to the house. Figure 14 specifically shows use of 1/2 inch diameter lag screws or through bolts with washers.

Either you use a different code, or the individuals who told you no lag bolts were mistaken, or your local code enforcement official takes a different view. In my town, our building inspector encourages use of Ledger Lok lag screws, which are not even half inch lag screws, but are apparently as strong in shear and tension.

I suggest you talk face to face with your building inspector. The only options for deck support that I am familiar with are lag bolts (or Ledger Lok equivalents), through bolts, or a free standing deck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi Joe,

Joists are 16" OC and they run parallel to the house. No joist hangers, only nails.

I was looking into doing a complete re-frame which may involve the ledger. That means a permit may be required.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I don't know what code you are referring to that prohibits use of lag screws. In my town, we operate under the International Residential Code (URC). We use the 2006 code. On page 10 of the Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide (the design book for this code), there is a full discussion about allowable techniques for fastening a ledger to the house. Figure 14 specifically shows use of 1/2 inch diameter lag screws or through bolts with washers.

Either you use a different code, or the individuals who told you no lag bolts were mistaken, or your local code enforcement official takes a different view. In my town, our building inspector encourages use of Ledger Lok lag screws, which are not even half inch lag screws, but are apparently as strong in shear and tension.

I suggest you talk face to face with your building inspector. The only options for deck support that I am familiar with are lag bolts (or Ledger Lok equivalents), through bolts, or a free standing deck.

Daniel,

I plan a meeting with the county building department. I just need some options to support my wishes.

I was aware of the free standing option but do not want to add two more support posts.

I want to stay with lags. I'll look at the Leger Loks.

Thanks.
 

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Ledger loks for me. 2 rows, 2" from top and bottom edges of ledger, 12" on center.

If you need closer joist spacing, leave the ones that are there and go to 8" oc.
 

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Framing Contractor
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Hi Joe,

Joists are 16" OC and they run parallel to the house. No joist hangers, only nails.

I was looking into doing a complete re-frame which may involve the ledger. That means a permit may be required.
Ernie,

I'm still wondering why you need to re-frame it. Are the joists and ledger rotted? Do you need the joist to be closer for some reason? Do you need the joists to run the opposite direction so that you can run the decking the opposite of what you have? If the ledger is in good shape, why change it?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Joe,

I need the closer joist spacing for composite decking support. As mentioned I could add joists for 8" OC. but .......

...... I also don't feel safe on the deck (10 ft in the air) with only two attaching points to the ledger, the two end joists (maybe called the girder?).

Let me see if I can explain better. There are two 2 x 8's that attach to the ledger with nails only. Off those 2 x 8's are the joists running parallel to the house. Don't you normally run the joists perpendicular to the ledger and support the joists with hangers?

I looked at the LedgerLok site and downloaded the install documentaion to carry with me to the building department.
 

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Framing Contractor
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Let me see if I can explain better. There are two 2 x 8's that attach to the ledger with nails only.
This is normal framing when you want the deck to run perpendicular off the house like a porch deck does. Those 2x8's are considered girders and should have hangers on them attached to the ledger. There's no problem with that. Those 2x8 joists running perpendicular to the double 2x8 girders should have hangers on them also.


Off those 2 x 8's are the joists running parallel to the house. Don't you normally run the joists perpendicular to the ledger and support the joists with hangers?
Only if you want the decking to run parallel to the house. But, yes that seems to be the norm. The way yours is framed is normal for running the decking perpendicular to the house. You said that your joists are 16" centers. Are you running the new decking at 45 degrees?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
No 45 degree, just straight run. I will re-check but I believe the 12" joist spacing was required for the composite deck boards.

If the county has no issue with lags or the LedgerLok fasteners I should be in good shape to re-built the deck as I want.

Thanks.
 

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Framing Contractor
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No 45 degree, just straight run. I will re-check but I believe the 12" joist spacing was required for the composite deck boards.

If the county has no issue with lags or the LedgerLok fasteners I should be in good shape to re-built the deck as I want.

Thanks.
You can use 16" centers for most composite decking. What brand are you using?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm looking at Azek. I will over engineer the framing with 2"x10" joists at 12" oc. Deck is 10 feet above ground level.


Spoke to the N.C. county building department. 2009 NC Residential Code, Wood Decks, requires one 5/8" hot-dipped galvanized BOLT and washer, PLUS, 12d common hot-dipped galvanized nails.

Bolt and nail spacing is dependant upon joist span.

So, lag or LedgerLok screws cannot be used.
 

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Tom,

Not cantileverd. Attaches to the house at one end and supported with two 6" x 6" cedar posts on the other.

thanks Earnie:thumbsup:,i meant maybe where the deck is attached to the house was cantilever which would need special attachment hardware
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok, thanks Tom.

Have an update. Based upon the ten foot ledger span, I would have needed 7 through bolts AND at least SIXTY 12d nails. That seemed excessive and unrealistic for a 10 foot board.

I called the code inspector and there was an update. The through bolts are now at 2'8" o.c. and the 12d nails are now 3 each at 16" o.c.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Good question. I have not asked; maybe I should.

I just suspected that since the deck was not built to current code, if it was touched structurally in any way, the re-work had to be to current code.

Curious what type craft you fly?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I could use your experience on this question.

Do all building code departments use labor costs to calculate the permit fee?

This is my first time applying for a building permit. I downloaded the application and started to fill it out. One fill-in-the-blank is Total Project Cost: $ _____ .

I call the building department. I'm told the Cost is the total cost of the project which is used to calculate the permit fee. So I ask why is labor a factor. No answer other than that is what the county commissioners decided.

I can build a box and use my labor for a total cost of say $500. My neighbor can build the same box but pay someone $300 to build the $500 box. My permeit fee would be different than my neighbors for the same box.

One example of why people dislike permits.

How does it work in your area?
 
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