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Would you call this?

Robert Jones

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Home built in 1991. Deck is obviously not installed to a ledger board. My recommendation was to add a beam and 2-3 more posts to the section nearest the home to make it a bit more secure. I didn't think to get a shot of the entire deck to post on here, but, it is the basic deck setup with one main beam across the front of the deck and 2 posts supporting. My concern is where the deck is attached to the home. Bank repo, so being sold as is. I thought you guys might enjoy the attempt to keep the stairs from shaking side to side.(it didn't work)

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My recommendation was to add a beam and 2-3 more posts to the section nearest the home to make it a bit more secure.

Right now the deck is only secured to the home with nails through the joist hangers. Who knows how far they penetrated the sheathing into something more solid or if those penetrations are already weak from moisture and rot. What you are recommending will help the vertical load at the house but that's not the main concern. It's the lateral attachment and the chances of it pulling away, especially with a load of inebriated people on it, and then collapsing out and down. I could imagine a failure at one corner sequentially "unzipping" the joists from the house

Robert, with all due respect, it don't mean a damn thang if the house is as is or a repo. We are supposed to tell them it's wrong and then either how to do it completely right, or, tell them to find an expert who can. You are entering dangerous territory with a "bit more secure".

Would I call this? You Betcha! I might try to soften the blow by telling them "Bad news is that the deck needs to be rebuilt for safety. Good new...at least you can design your own deck after tearing this one down."

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Wouldn't a well installed nailer supporting the underside of the joists work, and be code compliant if done right......?

How will that prevent the deck pulling away from the house? From what I read that is the by far the single most cause of catastrophic deck failure. For a second story deck like this the options (if we ignore a massive free-standing deck) are extended floor joists or a a properly secured ledger board. As it doesn't appear that we have the former, we need a ledger board. I would be very surprised to see any modern code say different.

http://ezinearticles.com/?Deck-Safety-- ... id=4333542


A nailer would not have helped that second one.

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How will that prevent the deck pulling away from the house?

Hi Richard,

I only skimmed that second article, which I have seen in the past.

Assuming there is adequate lateral support, do you feel that a deck will pull straight out of the house wall when hangers are nailed through the siding? If so, under what conditions (besides an earthquake I guess).

Couldn't you just toe nail the joists to the nailer below, or add some type of clip or mechanical fastener?

I'm just trying to thinks up a bare min. , code allowed repair here.....

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I think "straight out" is a misnomer. Although I haven't seen any videos of actual collapses, I would bet that they usually start at one end of the house attachment, due to twist or sway, and then progress rapidly along the ledger (or where the ledger should be). It was my "zipper" analogy is a previous post. I'm also not sure this is the greatest analogy but, think about prying up nailed down floorboards. You would never attempt to just pry a board as a whole straight up but, once you get a bar under one end, it takes relatively little effort to work the whole thing loose "sequentially".

Good diagonal bracing will reduce some forces but but will it be enough for that crowd of yahoos who all suddenly rush to the railing when someone in the back yard yells "Titties"? (can I say that?)

In answer to your "do you feel that a deck will pull straight out of the house wall when hangers are nailed through the siding?"

I'm not saying "will", but I would say more likely, yes.

"Couldn't you just toe nail the joists to the nailer below, or add some type of clip or mechanical fastener?

I'm just trying to thinks up a bare min. , code allowed repair here....."

I'm sure it would all help...a bit(?). But, as for "code allowed"????

I guess what it comes down to for me is that there would be no way I would build a deck that way, with or without added pieces later. Recommend adding diagonal or knee braces, fine, but I'm not about to tell a client to start throwing odds and ends at a ledger area to try to get it as safe as if it had been built properly in the first place. It would be stupid for me to say it can't be done, no way, no how, but I do know I'm not going to be the one to design or bless it.

There is one interesting point that doesn't seem to come up much but, in my mind, is also an important feature. In a previous existence I have built a good number of decks. I always carefully planned the width so I would need only full width decking, allowing for spacing. The full width deck board against the house gets screwed not only into the joists but also to the ledger through the flashing. This further ties the joists to the ledger which, of course, should be properly secured to the house. Robert's deck is also missing that.

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If I understood Robert correctly, that deck is nailed through the T1-11 directly into the rim board of the main floor platform (Assuming this is box sill construction and not plank-on-frame). If that's the case, I think Robert's idea of a supporting beam and posts close to the house will work as long as the beam and posts are anchored through the siding to the framing of that lower level and the joists are solidly tied to the top of the beam. If it were me, I'd add blocking between the joists on top of the beam to stiffen up that house side connection and resist rotational force.

Some more info for the client here, Robert.

That, combined with diagonal bracing on all three sides, will probably keep it on the house until it rots completely away, which brings up the question of rot at that house side connection. This being T1-11, I'm guessing that there isn't any kind of flashing or cant board above that house side connection and they're relying on the grooves in the T1-11 to keep that dry. If it's on the east or north side of the house and they have the typical roof overhang that most splits have here, it'll take a friggin hurricane to wet that area, but if it's on the south or west side, they've probably already got rot in that rim from punching all of those nails through there and giving water a way in.



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Yes, call it. Lack of structural support and lack of proper flashings. Along with the shaky stairs, it's a "Hire a licensed deck contractor to inspect and repair if possible, but complete replacement will probably be needed/recommended. There may be additional water damage under the siding that cannot be seen until the deck is removed."

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Thanks for the replies.

All I meant by the bank repo comment was that there was no seller to go after for money to make the deck correct, so I thought, that at a minimum, the could add the needed support to the area nearest the home to help prevent the "collapsing" aspect. I did tell them it was completely incorrect and to not have much weight on it. I remember the wife asking me if that meant she couldn't have a gas grill on there. So I think my message got through. I was just thinking of something "in the mean time", until they could afford to replace the deck.

Thanks again guys.

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I see decks installed like this all the time. There is a deck at the end of my street where they put the joist hangers over vinyl siding, made worse by the fact that the vinyl is the fourth or fifth layer of siding on the building[:-bigeyes I have pictures somewhere of a deck done like this by an engineer, I've posted them here before, he had me over to look at it because he couldn't figure out how to flash it after he built it[:-banghea

Rob, you were there. If the deck can be made servicable and your clients are really strapped then tell them how to fix it, but be certain that they understand it's a bandaid and not a permanent repair. If it's relatively new and not too terribly screwed up, then a competent carpenter should be able to prop it up and install a properly flashed and anchored ledger along with some diagonals to stiffen it and the stair. If it's old and in need of lots of work beyond that they will be further ahead to replace it. I think it's a bad idea to put new work on an old deck, there's very little cost savings and the hard to fix stuff is still old.

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