Freestanding deck question

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Old 09-27-04, 09:40 PM
Jst
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Freestanding deck question

I'm in the planning stages for my new deck and have noticed there are a lot of people advocating the freestanding deck vs. attached. So here's my question...

My thinking is that if a deck is not attached to a solid structure (house), it could be wobbly or somewhat less stable than if it were attached. Is there any truth to this? Another thing I've read is that the best way to mount posts is on a concrete footing with a metal post anchor. Again this seems like it would be less stable than if it were in the ground with concrete poured around it--especially if the deck were freestanding.

So far I'm thinking about building a 12' x18' deck (freestanding?) that will be approx. 3-4' off the ground. The 12' end and 7 feet of the 18' end will be situated into a corner of the house. If freestanding, I'm thinking of using 6 6x6 posts supporting 2 beams. If post anchors are used, is there a particular type or brand that works best? I live in a cold area (deep footings required).

Thanks, Jst
 
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Old 09-28-04, 01:37 PM
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"My thinking is that if a deck is not attached to a solid structure (house), it could be wobbly or somewhat less stable than if it were attached. Is there any truth to this?"

Not if you use proper bracing while framing the deck. You need to put some braces inbetween the stingers to make the deck solid. I wish i had taken some digital pics of the deck i just framed....


"Another thing I've read is that the best way to mount posts is on a concrete footing with a metal post anchor. Again this seems like it would be less stable than if it were in the ground with concrete poured around it--especially if the deck were freestanding."

You should not cement the posts in, you should dig down belowe your frost line and pour a column with either a bent piece of allthread to attach to a galv post anchor OR a piece of steel bent in a "L" with a bolt through it and the post. I usually use the "L" AND a galv post anchor since it keeps the wood from touching the cement. The weight of the deck is sitting on top of a level column, its not going to go anyplace.

I replaced deck posts recently that were in since the mid 70's, they were sitting on a concrete column with "L" brackets and a 1/2" bolt. They were still about 80-90%. The other 2 posts were cemented into the ground and were about 12 years old, they were about 50% shot. I think you are better off stoning a post into the ground before you concrete it. Thats where you level the posts and jam softball size rocks around the post with a post iron to hold it in place and gives a place for the water to drain away. I have done that on one deck i helped build about 10 years ago.
 
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Old 09-28-04, 02:20 PM
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Could you clarify the bracing part. What is a stinger? Is the bracing permanent or just while the deck is being built?
 
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Old 09-28-04, 09:53 PM
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Jst,

It sounds like hellrazor and I would have built the deck pretty much the same way.

Pour your footings, then use stand off bases to keep the posts off of the dirt and out of the concrete. Cross brace your posts every way from Sunday. The cross braces STAY!!
 
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Old 10-03-04, 12:51 AM
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Smile Using dek-blocks to build a floating deck

Jst,


I posted the following a while back. The method I explain below worked for me well as well as others. If you are thinking of doing this I have examples of my deck at http://decks.hemmingsjones.com

You a can also check out the site that got me started on this. Check out the photo gallery of people whom built floating decks not attached to the house.

http://www.deckplans.com/galleryhome.asp

Now some people say that if you live in an area where the ground freezes then you will have problems with this method. Well I have had my deck up now and have run into no problems. The deck is a solid as the day I built it. Don't take my word just check out what others have to say about using this method of building a floating deck.

Here is the Post:
FYI, if anyone is interested in building a floating deck and save time digging holes for footings then building a floating deck might work for you. I started to build a deck with footing but the deck was too large and too many holes to dig. I found that using blocks call Dek-blocks I got from a home improvement store did the job. I posted some photos at http://decks.hemmingsjones.com that show the process in building this deck. The deck I built is a deck for a pool, which worked out well for me.

If you are planning to build a deck under 60 inches then you might want to go over and look at some photos of my deck. The photos might give you some ideas. The good thing about floating decks is that you do not have to attach them to the house. No problem with ground heaves because the deck moves evenly. Just copy and past the link.

http://decks.hemmingsjones.com

When I started out everyone said to build the deck with frost footing because the deck will be uneven. Well the winter has come and gone and my deck still is as even as the day it was build. I am a true believer in this. Remember that with a floating deck you do not attached it to your house. Because the deck floats on the ground will rise during winter nor more than about 1/2 inch at the most. Remember to check with your local building codes when building a deck.

Remember it is not recommend using the dek-blocks for a post-and-beam system. It concentrates the loads. There is a greater chance of settling, sinking, and lateral movement.

Found these articles from Popular Mechanics,Beconstructive,Swimming-pools –a-us on using Dek-blocks for a freestanding pool deck. Just copy and past the link in you want more information on using these blokcs:

http://www.kfoxtv.com/homeimprovement/1619035/detail.html

http://www.beconstructive.com/consumer/weekend_deck.asp

http://www.swimming-pools-r.us.com/deck-plans.html

http://www.decorprecast.com/code/HowTo/HTDekBlock.html

http://yeungstuff.com/life/deck/

Just copy and past the links into your address bar.

Good Luck

Iceman
 

Last edited by Icemancomth; 10-24-04 at 03:04 AM.
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Old 10-03-04, 10:32 AM
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Deck Blocks

Exept perhaps for a deck that will stand alone next to a pool or a stand alone deck in a yard not attached to a house in away, deck blocks are not legal under building codes where frost depth is of any issue.

For decks attached to homes, or even free standing where the deck will act as a source of egress from the house, the deck footings must be below frost level and cannot be placed directly on the soil.

So please be careful when using deck blocks and check with your local code office to see if they are legal for your jurisdiction or application.

They generally cannot be used as icemancometh suggests.
 
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Old 10-03-04, 01:20 PM
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I wouldn't try that either, do it right the first time. Will save you hassles down the road.
 
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Old 10-03-04, 09:13 PM
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I'm chiming in with Hellrazor and homebild. Check with your local bldg. dept., pull the necessary permit, and build it to code!! If frost is an issue, yes, you will have to dig footings that go below the frost line. Freestanding or attached, if the deck is adjacent to the house, it will have to have proper footings since it is the LANDING outside of the door. And if the deck is more that 30" above grade at any point, it will have to have legal railings and handrails. Do it right the FIRST time, and it won't come around and bite you in a hip pocket later!
 
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Old 10-04-04, 08:32 PM
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It works for me...

Could either of you two gentlemen tell me where you have seen or read where these blocks failed? I am curious to know this. I live in upstate New York where frost is an issue. I have no problems with my deck. We had winds gust during this past summer of 65 to 75 mph. Many fences failed. My deck remains standing. It is a very heave deck and the weight is well distributed. Gentleman, have you seen a deck built this way? I know the arguments against deck built this way but I haven’t come across anyone that has seen one up close. Different ideas I guess. Oh yes freestanding means freestanding not attached to a house.

Again I suggest anyone interested in this method to visit www.deckplans.com and read for yourself.There are always a different opinion…that’s my opinion.

Iceman
 
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Old 10-05-04, 07:13 AM
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IRC Code

New York State uses the IRC International Residential Code and under the IRC using deck blocks for a deck is illegal.

I'm in Pennsylvania where it is also illegal to use deck blocks.

The issue is chronic movement and raisng of the deck from frost heaving and the fact that soils also move with time.

This can and does make improperly footed structures unstable.

Building any structure without footings in any area of frost concern is extremely bad building practice and can actually be dangerous.

The bottom line for deck-blocks in frost regions is that they may be good at holding up a yard sale sign, but little more and should never be considered for a permanent floor structure.

Deck structures must also be able to meet wind loads for any region and decks not properly footed cannot meet those loads without being positively anchored.

Deck blocks in most instances is the wrong way to do the job and provides no benefit whatever.
 
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Old 10-05-04, 03:12 PM
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Opinions are wonderfull, but your views are illegal under the building codes in most areas regarding proper footings for deck posts. Floating a 200square foot cement pad for a shed or garage is one thing, floating a deck post on something that is 1square foot which can bear thousands of pounds under load is another. If one post fails and the deck collapses, its your butt in a sling. Every year you read about deck collapses because of improper fastening methods or inferior framing and things like this are one of the reasons. People cutting corners is the reason lawyers have such a good business.
 
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Old 10-06-04, 03:50 PM
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Ok, thanks for all the info. back to the 'cross braces'...

What are these made of? 2x4? 2x6? And how exactly should they be attached to the post and the deck? Screws, lag bolts, nails? Do they go from post to beam or joist? or both? Lefty, does 'every way from Sunday' mean 4 braces per post? Thanks.
 
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Old 10-06-04, 06:33 PM
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I have never used DekBlocks to construct a deck -- I use pier blocks. Always set the pier blocks on a proper footing -- 15" to 16" square and 6" of concrete under the bottom of the pier block, the block is set in the wet concrete, and concrete is then poured around all 4 sides of the blo9ck so that it can't shift or lift. (This part of CA doesn't have frost, so heave is never an issue. If it was, the footing would have to be deeper.) I have never had a bldg. dept. deny me a permit for doing a deck this way -- it's legal (as well as the accepted method for building a deck) under the UBC.

Cross-bracing on a deck less than 4' high is done with 1X4's. Decks above 4' require 2X4's for the bracing, and usually decks above 8' require 2X6's. You spell out exactly what you will be using in the plans you submit with the permit application, and if the bldg. dept. requires some larger than what you call for, they will tell you. Brace from the bottom of one post up to the girder, a second brace running the opposite direction. If that happens to be north and south, then you put in additional bracing in both the east and west direction, from the bottom of the posts to the top of whatever you can get to (a joist or a girder). I always use long enough bracing so that I start at the bottom of one post, hit the next 2 or even 3 posts with the brace, and end it on the girder or joist. Some of the bracing will run north and south and some will run east and west. It is what is going to keep the deck from wobbling in any direction.
 
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Old 10-07-04, 08:05 PM
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OK thanks. That's starting to make sense now. Can cross braces be from the bottom of one post to the top of the next or does the top always have to attach to a girder/joist?
 
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Old 10-07-04, 10:21 PM
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The cross brace needs to attach to a post at one end and either a girder (beam) or a joist at it's other end to be most effective. If it passes by one or two posts on the way and gets attached to them as well, that's even better.

The cross brace piece is probably going to be a 16' or 20' board -- the posts are going to be spaced about 5' apart. The height of the deck will determine the angle that the cross brace runs, but usually starting at the bottom of one post and running it up to the girder or joist will have it cross at least one other post.
 
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Old 10-08-04, 02:54 AM
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They are within code in my town.

I do not know about your town but in each town in NYS has it own codes and in my town it is allowed. However, in some states it is not allowed like NJ. But in NY you can uses these blocks. So many people have used this method and have had no problems. I used it becasue it was fast and save me lost of MONEY. Enjoy building your deck.


Below is a post I go off of www.deckplans.com

"looking at the DekBlocks in reference to frost heave, the deck moves uniformly up and down. As the ground freezes and expands, the whole deck moves up. When the ground thaws, the deck moves down. Frost heave is not eliminated, as this is impossible to do with a floating foundation, but it is correctly accounted for by using this method. Many building codes allow for this use and others are adding this into their new editions."

For more read go to http://www.deckplans.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000211.html
 

Last edited by Icemancomth; 10-09-04 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 10-10-04, 08:03 AM
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[QUOTE=Icemancomth]I do not know about your town but in each town in NYS has it own codes and in my town it is allowed. However, in some states it is not allowed like NJ. But in NY you can uses these blocks. So many people have used this method and have had no problems. I used it becasue it was fast and save me lost of MONEY. Enjoy building your deck.
------------------------

Icemancometh is making up stories.

New York State has a Uniform Building Code that applies to ALL cities, towns and villages in the State and New York has adopted the 2003 International Residential Building Code which PROHIBITS the use of deck blocks...

http://www.dos.state.ny.us/code/Title19.htm
 
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Old 10-10-04, 11:49 PM
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Read and LEARN my last words on this

The following is a response to a letter about using Dek-Block for a floating deck. I hope this satisfy the skeptics. Again I had no problem with my town code enforcer. For those of you who do not know NYS well, the Finger Lakes region is between Rochester and Syracuse NY. Know as Central New York. I got a building permit for my deck. Do not know what else to tell you on that.

You can find this letter at http://www.flboa.com/html/code_update-32.html

June 11, 2003

RE: Exterior floor systems RCNYS Section 501.2

This is in response to your questions regarding the acceptability of a floating foundation deck system as proposed by DEKBRANDS, DEK-BLOCK, or other similar product in a residential application. Since your letter identifies multiple questions, I have answered them separately.

The first question is if a floating deck system, detached from a residence, is acceptable. You also identify that there are no headers or beams included in the system. First, it is our opinion that all decks constructed on the premises of a one- or two-family dwelling are regulated by the Residential Code of New York State (RCNYS). Furthermore, it is our opinion that this type of floating deck system can be acceptable.

RCNYS Section 202 defines a deck as "an exterior floor system supported on at least two opposing sides by an adjoining structure and/or posts, piers, or other independent supports." RCNYS Section R501.2 requires floor construction to be capable of accommodating all loads according to Section R301 and of transmitting the resulting loads to the supporting structural elements, including the foundation. RCNYS Section 502.2.1 contains specific requirements for decks which are anchored to the primary structure, independently supported, or cantilevered.

The attachments provided with your letter contain evidence that the deck system is constructed of 2x6 dimension lumber. RCNYS section R301.1.2, entitled "Engineered design," allows the structural elements of an otherwise RCNYS compliant structure to comply with the BCNYS as follows:

When a building of otherwise conventional light-frame construction contains structural elements not conforming to this code, these elements shall be designed in accordance with accepted engineering practice. The extent of such design need only demonstrate compliance of nonconventional elements with other applicable provisions and shall be compatible with the performance of the conventional framed system. Engineered design in accordance with the Building Code of New York State is permitted for all buildings and structures, and parts thereof, included in the scope of this code.

The second question was with regard to the acceptability of a floating deck attached to a residence when the deck is not supported on footings below the frost line. In the attachments provided with your letter, it appears that the deck system is founded on DEK-BLOCK Brand Piers set at grade. It is our opinion that a deck is not required to be supported by footings below the frost line and that the type of pier identified in your letter is not prohibited by the RCNYS.

First, the RCNYS, Section R403.1, requires all exterior walls to be supported on continuous solid or fully grouted masonry or concrete footings, or wood foundations to frost. It appears that this situation does not involve the construction of exterior walls, thus not triggering a requirement for footings. Secondly, as described above, alternative foundation designs (engineered design) in accordance with the Building Code of New York State (BCNYS) can be constructed. The BCNYS, Section 1805.2.1, requires foundation walls, piers, and other permanent supports of buildings and structures larger than 400 square feet or 10 feet in height to extend below the frost line except if constructed on solid rock or otherwise protected from frost.

Lastly, in response to both questions asked, it is our opinion that the codes of New York State do not prohibit the use of any alternative materials, design and methods of construction and equipment. This is a provision of both the RCNYS and the BCNYS and is given below:

(RCNYS 104.11 & BCNYS 104.11) Alternative materials, design and methods of construction and equipment. The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or to prohibit any design or method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code, provided that any such alternative has been approved. An alternative material, design or method of construction shall be approved where the State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this code and that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in this code.

The first sentence allows the code enforcement official to approve alternative materials, design and methods of construction and equipment. The second sentence allows the Code Council to approve them, by means of the ICC ES reports (similar to the old Certificates of Acceptability). Thus, engineered design of an exterior floor system must be compatible with the design standards set forth in the codes of New York State and could be accepted by the code enforcement official.

Please be advised that this is not a product evaluation. Therefore, this letter is not intended to imply approval by our office but rather to provide guidance. This advisory opinion is rendered based upon the information provided. Administration and enforcement of the code are within the jurisdiction of the local authority. If you have questions regarding this advisory, please call me at (518) 474-4073.

Sincerely,
Brian S. Tollisen, P.E.
Sr. Building Construction Engineer
Al03-126 Codes Division
Finger Lakes Building Officials Association, Inc.
3100 Atlantic Ave.
Penfield, NY 14526
[email protected]

Just a foot note about the Finger Lakes Building Officials Association and who they are:

FLBOA is comprised of over 200 county and municipal code enforcement officials from the Finger Lakes region of New York and beyond. Geographically we represent 7 counties. Our mission is to promote professionalism and consistency in the application and enforcement of building codes throughout our area. We achieve these goals through education, development, practice and enforcement of building codes utilizing our combined resources.

I have posted photos of the deck built with these blocks. Go to http://decks.hemmingsjones.com
 

Last edited by Icemancomth; 10-11-04 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 10-11-04, 07:26 AM
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Several Comments

Several Comments:

1)NEW YORK STATE BUILDING CODE:

That the engineer in the letter cites RCNYS codes in all of his opinions indicates without doubt that New York State DOES have a Uniform State residential building code that applies to all "cities, towns, and villages" in the state. Local communities in New York do NOT get to make up their own codes, but rather, must enforce New York State's mandatory code. The engineering report merely confirms that fact.

2)DETACHED DECKS:

Your specific deck use was for a quote "a floating deck system,detached from a residence.."

As I mentioned in a previous post in this thread:

"Exept perhaps for a deck that will stand alone next to a pool or a stand alone deck in a yard not attached to a house in away, deck blocks are not legal under building codes where frost depth is of any issue.

For decks attached to homes, or even free standing where the deck will act as a source of egress from the house, the deck footings must be below frost level and cannot be placed directly on the soil.

So please be careful when using deck blocks and check with your local code office to see if they are legal for your jurisdiction or application.

They generally cannot be used as icemancometh suggests."

The engineering report fully confirms what I earlier stated.

3)ALTERNATE MATERIALS:

That alternate materials CAN be used WHEN approved by site inspection and by a certified engineer is ALWAYS and option under the International Residential Code upon which RCNYS is based.

My OBJECTION to icemancomth's position is that he has consistently suggested (erroneously) that Dek-Blok's are somewhat 'automatically' an option to placing footings below frost depth when clearly from the Building Code and the Engineer's letter they are not.

Only where an engineer can determine and approved their use should they be used or can they be approved as an alternate design.

IT IS A GRAVE ERROR TO SUGGEST OR IMPLY THAT DEK-BLOKS OR SIMILAR CAN BE USED OR BE DETERMINED FOR ACCEPTABLE USE BY AN OWNER ALONE, OR THAT THEY WILL BE APPROVED IN EVERY AND ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. THEY WILL NOT.

4)NOT A DESIGN APPROVAL:

The engineer's letter also specifically states:

"Please be advised that this is not a product evaluation. Therefore, this letter is not intended to imply approval by our office but rather to provide guidance."

The letter from the engineer DID NOT and DOES NOT approve the use of DEK-BLOKS for Icemancmth's specific deck nor for any deck in New York or any other State.

The letter from the engineer simply reiterates general principals of the IRC and NYS Building Code that DOES allow for alternate designs and building materials PROVIDING they can be proven to meet at least the same basic criteria of the Code after site observation, specified testing, and approval by a certified engineer.

5)SUMMARY:

The letter is NOT approval for the use of Dek-Bloks nor a stamp of approval for their use with Icemancmth's specific deck nor any other deck, and it does a serious misjustice to any reader to keep implying that simply because in ICEMANCMTH's specific case and application that Dek-Blokscan be used by any homeowner at any time.

They cannot.

The bottom line remains as I clearly stated previously, that Dek-Bloks can only be used when approved under certain circumstances as determined by one's specific circumstances and deck design and with the approval of one's code office.

Apart from that, they should NOT be used in areas where frost is an issue...and it STILL is a BETTER option to use frost depth footers for permanent structures even if they are approved.

Consult your Building Code Enforcement office attempting to use Dek-Bloks always.
 
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Old 10-11-04, 04:11 PM
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Bah i hate when people quote engineers like they are biblic in nature or something. Each one renders his own opinions just like everyone else.

Now back to the dekblocks, if you want to risk your doors not opening, thats your choice. But thats also a violation of fire code. Ignoring frost line issues is ignorant, unless you are willing to throw the materials away and redo the deck. What is the big deal adding another $300+/- to a deck? Rent an auger to make the holes (about $60), buy the tube forms and 80lb bags and do it right.

So lets see, a $2000 deck that might work or a $2300 deck that will work. You be the judge of whats reasonable. I tend to like doing things the right way and only once.
 
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Old 10-11-04, 07:24 PM
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I just thought I'd chime in that I'm in PA and I know at least 2 people off the top of my head who have used dekbloks to build their decks. Both of them got permits, as far as I know.
 
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Old 10-12-04, 06:48 AM
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IRC Inspector

I'm a trained International Residential Code /Pennsylvania Uniform Building Code Inspector and reside and build in Pennsylvania.

Blocks CAN be used under some very limited circumstances in Pennsylvania as have been previously described but they are the EXCEPTION not the rule and must be approved by the local Code Enforcement Office and backed by an engineer's alternate design plan just as in the New York State case above.

It should also be noted that since July 9, 2004, the 2003 International Residential Code became the State's ONLY uniform building code and under that code, Dek-Bloks are generally not permitted.
 
  #23  
Old 10-15-04, 01:34 PM
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Load Bearing PSF

I have an existing free standing deck that I want to put a spa on top. The spa requires 125PSF load bearing capacity with a filled weight of 4300 lbs.

My questions is how do I determine the load bearing capacity of my deck?

The deck is 11'W x 16'L, 11' at its widest point. It is 20" above ground with eight (8) 2x6 corner posts which support a lattic top. It has 2x8 stringes around the top.

The deck is 2x6 redwood planks supported by 12 supports, 8 in ground and 4 block type that I added when I took out a hot tub and added additional planking. The bottom is enclosed all around with 2x6 stringers attached to in-ground posts. Some of the planking runs east'west and some runs north/south.

Thanks for any help.
 
  #24  
Old 10-16-04, 12:30 AM
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Before building your deck with dek-blocks check with code office

Homebild is correct in stating that you have to get your plan approved. Only then can you build your deck as I did. The plans I used was from www. deckplans.com there they had the information I needed to present my plan to the code office. At the site they give you the structural analysis of a floating deck using Dek-blocks, which I used to show that the deck will do as I said it would. It has been over a year and a half since I built the deck and I have had no problems with frost heave.


For structural analysis of the Dek-Block system for floating deck can be found the link below. Just copy and past this link:

http://www.deckplans.com/Images/pdf/codepackage2003.pdf


To view my deck using Dek-Block just copy and past this link:

http://decks.hemmingsjones.com

Do building departments accept Dek-Block Floating Foundation decks?

When used according to DekBrand's recommendations, the Floating Foundation Deck System conforms to all national and regional building codes when the deck is unattached from the house.
The Floating Foundation Deck System is excepted in 49 of the 50 states. New Jersey is the only state that does not allow the system to be used. Due to the varying states build department structures, each township/county is completely different. Even though a state may have one building code, the city may choose to impose greater regulations and restrictions. Verify with your local building department before starting any construction. By Deckplans.com

This link is from an article from Popular Mechanics about Dek-block


http://www.deckplans.com/Howto/PM/PM-Deck1.htm


This link has articles about Dek-block. From National Newspapers

http://www.deckplans.com/articles.html
 
  #25  
Old 10-16-04, 07:13 AM
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Thanks

Thanks for the photo links Icemancmth.

It simply verifies what I have stated all along that these type of decks 'might' be approved for non egress structures such as a shallow pool deck (such as yours.)

But what an ODD engineering design and the extra expense to have to go thru just to avoid digging a few permanent post footings.

It would likely have been cheaper, faster, and far easier to build a conventional deck on 4 posts or so than to have to deal with this engineering nightmare....

Can't see any 'value' at all for having used deck blocks at all in this instance.

Hope you did.

Looks like a complete waste of time and money from here.
 
  #26  
Old 10-16-04, 07:16 AM
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Chief Needs and engineer

Originally Posted by Chief144
I have an existing free standing deck that I want to put a spa on top. The spa requires 125PSF load bearing capacity with a filled weight of 4300 lbs.

My questions is how do I determine the load bearing capacity of my deck?

The deck is 11'W x 16'L, 11' at its widest point. It is 20" above ground with eight (8) 2x6 corner posts which support a lattic top. It has 2x8 stringes around the top.

The deck is 2x6 redwood planks supported by 12 supports, 8 in ground and 4 block type that I added when I took out a hot tub and added additional planking. The bottom is enclosed all around with 2x6 stringers attached to in-ground posts. Some of the planking runs east'west and some runs north/south.

Thanks for any help.

---------------------


Only way you get to determine the load capacity of the existing deck and the modifications necessary to cause this deck to be able to bear 125lbs psf is to hire an engineer or architect to do the design work for you.

You will need their design to get a building permit and won't be issued one without it.
 
  #27  
Old 10-16-04, 01:45 PM
Icemancomth
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I need more post and couldn't dig post too close to pool

Hombild, two reason I use Dek-block then to dig post. 1st it would have cost me 8 grand to have some one do it for me. The original deck was a little larger. 2nd when the pool was put in I used some fill which would have been a nightmare to dig and then re-dig if I cam across an obstacle.

You are wrong about using only four post. I had a deck designed for me and it was not just 4 post it was 15 post for a 14x21 deck.

Go to this link and check out plan if you do not believe me.

http://hemmingsjones.com/PD20011421b.htm
And yes the plan called for digging post holes 15 of them but it wasn't possible for me. The time and money Dek-block work better for me as I stated above.

You are also misinformed about the Dek-Block not allowed for an egress structures, such as a porch or a deck next to a house. They are.

But as my dear old Daddy once said," Ice that is why they make vanilla and chocolate ice cream...people have different taste." I say opinions.

" I plan to live forever, so far...so good"

Have a great day
 
  #28  
Old 10-16-04, 02:42 PM
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"But as my dear old Daddy once said," Ice that is why they make vanilla and chocolate ice cream...people have different taste." I say opinions."

Yes and as a lot of us say "Do it right the first time, it saves money in the long run."
 
  #29  
Old 10-16-04, 07:29 PM
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Icemancomth snookered on all counts

"Hombild, two reason I use Dek-block then to dig post. 1st it would have cost me 8 grand to have some one do it for me. The original deck was a little larger. 2nd when the pool was put in I used some fill which would have been a nightmare to dig and then re-dig if I cam across an obstacle.

You are wrong about using only four post. I had a deck designed for me and it was not just 4 post it was 15 post for a 14x21 deck. "


-----------------------------------------



All due respect to Icemancmth, but your obvious lack of expertise has led to you to being snookered on several counts.

The first is the need for '15 posts' to construct a 14x21 deck.
This is complete nonsense.

With as few as 6 posts, this deck could be have been built with posts set below frost level.

The 2nd is the price. $8000 for THIS deck? I hardly think so.

Only if you would have hired someone to build this deck on 15 posts at $30 per square foot, would it have been over $8000 to complete.

But this is no $8000 deck!

This is more like a one-day to build $2000 deck even if the builder rips you off.
----------------------------------
Sorry Icemancmth, but you must be employed by Dek-Blok because what you continually post has made no building, code, or economic sense yet.

Don't know who your 'designer' was but if he insisted on 15 posts he had no clue what he was doing.

AND, the COMPLETE material cost to build your deck on posts set below frost level comes to about $800 at current (as of Friday 10-15-04) rates in Pennsylvania.

So did you REALLY 'save' by using Dek-Bloks and if so by how much?


So keep telling your stories, Icemancmth and those of us who actually DO know what we are talking about will keep dismissing them as the fabrications they are...
 
  #30  
Old 10-16-04, 10:34 PM
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Homebild,

"Don't know who your 'designer' was but if he insisted on 15 posts he had no clue what he was doing."

That's not necessarily true. Why Iceman's deck was built that way, and very possibly HAD to be built that way could be due to a lot of factors -- snow load and size of the joists and girders that were used just to name two. The decks in the range of 14 X 21 that I build have 15 piers under them. (3 rows of 5.) 4X6 girders can only span 5' between the posts, and 2X6 joists can only span 5' between the girders. These are built in a 30 lb. snow load, and are how the County and all 3 City bldg. depts. around here prefer decks to be built. Yes, I could go to larger girders and larger joists, thereby saving a few posts, but that will increase the cost of the deck to the customer, plus increase the time it takes to get the plans approved and the permit pulled.
 
  #31  
Old 10-17-04, 07:29 AM
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Sorry to Disagree

In principle you may be correct, but in reality not.

Sorry to disagree, lefty,

But NY operates under the very same building code as does my state and there are no reasons to have 15 posts for this deck with snow or any other loads.

You certainly CAN put 15 posts (or more) under this deck, but a more efficient design can use as few as 6. The material cost remains at about $800 and is a one day build even for one man.

Think about it.

You certainly CAN use 2x4s to frame the floor of a home, for instance, but that will mean you might have to place them at 12" on center and increase the number of center beams and posts in the basement to get them to support a 40lb psf load....but WHY WOULD YOU?

The EASIER and less costly solution is the more conventional method utilizing a greater sized lumber like 2x10 which can span greater distances with less support on wider joist spacing.

This deck is no different.

2x10x14s can easily span the 14 foot width of this deck at 16" on center unsupported and meet a 40 lb psf load. (presuming standard Treated Yellow Pine)

These can be supported on their ends by joist hangers fastened to side beams along the 21' length of 3-4 2x10s and supported with a single post midway at the 10' 6" point and completely fall within all load design criteria.

This leaves a properly designed deck for load and support using only 6 (SIX)supports total rather than the engineering monstrosity his design apparantly required.

There is no reason or incentive to use smaller dimension lumber if it means more posts and more labor and all the engineering nonsense that Icemancmths' Dek-Blok design has.

No matter how you slice this, Icemancmth's arguments here for the use of Dek-Bloks have been specious at best.

He's been wrong with every allegation he has posted from his erroneous statements about building codes to his wrong conclusions about the engineer's report to the cost of the deck to the necessary design criteria.

CAN you use Dek-Bloks to construct a deck? No doubt and no one here disagrees.

The question remains SHOULD you? And that answer still remains PROBABLY NOT since there is little incentive either structurally or economically to do so.

The BEST and SIMPLEST and most PERMANENT approach still remains to build free standing decks properly footed below frost level...
 

Last edited by homebild; 10-17-04 at 08:08 AM.
  #32  
Old 10-17-04, 10:46 AM
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Homebild,

I understand what you are saying, and agree that using larger framing members will reduce the number of footings needed in a deck. However, I understand the logic of the local bldg. officials that I deal with when they want to see MORE footings, too. It allows me more opportunities to crossbrace a freestanding deck, and that crossbracing is what is going to keep the deck upright. In addition to a 30 lb. or greater snow load that I have to meet, I also have to meet a 90 mph wind load, and we ARE in a seismic 3 zone. Therefore, because of the seismic and wind loads I have to build to, they require more cross bracing, which means there have to be more posts and girders to crossbrace. That allows me to use smaller lumber at smaller spans and disperse the dead weight over more (and smaller) footings. It also reduces the dead weight of the deck somewhat, which is an important factor in an earthquake.

THOSE are the reasons for using more footings under a small deck -- but not everybody reading this forum has to build to the conditions that I do. (But then too, frost is not an issue for me, so there are some tradeoffs.)

As far as using Dek Blocks, I haven't yet. They cost about 3 times what a standard pier block costs, and they give me no way to attach the post to the block. Whether local bldg. officials would allow them or not, I don't know -- I've never asked!
 
  #33  
Old 10-17-04, 01:07 PM
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Apples and Oranges

Lefty,
All due respect but you are comparing apples and oranges when comparing a deck built in California and a deck built in New York State, and the footing and bracing requirements needed by your code are not at all what is required by the code here.

The reason is as you mentioned: Seismic zone.

California structures need to withstand earthquakes and here in Pennsylvania and Iceman's location in New York, they do not. Wind loading for our locations is similar to yours....but even in THAT there remain open questions just as you state and I have mentioned before. Since decks built with Dek-Bloks do not offer any positive anchorage to the ground, they are really not designed to resist wind loads at all and can be one major reason why they are not approved even here.

So while I have no dispute with your points because of your local conditions, I am still in full dispute with Iceman's because they are simply not factual by any account.
 
  #34  
Old 10-17-04, 07:25 PM
Icemancomth
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Question Here are the plans for 15 post http://hemmingsjones.com/deck/PD20011421b.htm

FYI,

Cut and past this link

http://hemmingsjones.com/deck/PD20011421b.htm

I omited the deck directory in the link of the past post. That is why the link failed

But if you do go to this link ( cut and past) you will see the plans for the pool deck.

And as for the $8,000 it is true. I got a quote to build a 16x22 pool deck. I told him that he was crazzy if he thougth that I would pay that amount. Some people...


Again the link speaks for itself about the 15 post.

http://hemmingsjones.com/deck/PD20011421b.htm
 
  #35  
Old 10-17-04, 10:14 PM
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Homebild--

You are right. The seismic zone differences between CA and NY will make all the difference in the way we build our decks.

(That's why I chose not to get offended with your comment about "Don't know who your 'designer' was but if he insisted on 15 posts he had no clue what he was doing."!!)

Iceman -- I won't go to your links. IE loads my computer up with too much Big Stuff when I try that. (That's my computer and a DSL connection that hates IE.) No doubt in my mind about the $8K. If you are contracting out the deck (as opposed to DoingItYourself), it's not really that unreasonable. In CA, with the workers comp. situation and the cost of liability insurance, that is pretty much the quote I would have come in with too, assuming that you were talking a composite or vinyl deck. A redwood deck would have only been about $7K. But again, that's CA, where if I'm paying a member of the crew $10 an hour, his worker's comp. cost to me is about $9 per hour. Go figure!! I have my own opinion as to why, but don't get me on THAT soapbox!!!
 
  #36  
Old 10-17-04, 11:46 PM
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Not reasonable

But an $8000 pricetag in New York State or Pennsylvania is NOT 'reasonable' by any stretch for a deck of this nature...and any 'designer' in this region claiming otherwise needs to be strung up, tarred and feathered, and run out of town as the complete 'rip-off' he is.

I have built decks MYSELF, completely ALONE of Iceman's size fully meeting code and for less than $2000 in a SINGLE DAY in Pennsylvania under the same code Iceman operates under and for decks of the kind Iceman illustrated by his pictures then removed inexplicably.

$8000 is a complete fallacy for New York State and Pennsylvania under IRC code..

That is all the difference in the world between the California quotes and New York State or Pennsylvania quotes under the International Residential Codes requirements which have NOTHING to do with the other..;..And why Lefty is completely left in 'Left field' for his comments trying to equate what happens in California under a completely different and totally dissimilar building code than with what happens in NY or PA.

And you're suggestions verge on the unethical, Lefty....and not at all helpful.

As a builder and a trained IRC Residential Building Code inspector, ANYONE spending more than $1500-$2000 (labor and materials included....the material cost is less than $800 total) for the deck Iceman posted pictures of (then inexpicably removed) has to be CRAZY or STUPID or BOTH and is getting ripped off or getting what they deserve for Pennsylvania, New York or any other State where the ICC International Residential Code is law.

What applies for California applies to California only....and cannot be extrapolated to Pennsylvania nor New York where the issues are not even nearly the same nor nor applicable nor have the same building code....

And I am incensed that Lefty would even TRY to suggest what applies for HIS state codewise or pricewise should apply for Pennsylvania or New York when clearly it does not.

California does not have the same code as New York or Pennsylvania.

Bad juju.

The bottom line remains that what Iceman has stated CONTINUES to be worng on all counts and trying to justify his 'wrongness' as 'right' by applying 'wrong' building codes that do not apply is even more 'wrong' and bizarre.
 

Last edited by homebild; 10-18-04 at 12:15 AM.
  #37  
Old 10-18-04, 03:28 AM
Icemancomth
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How can I be wrong?

I am not trying to justify my rightness. My floating deck and town speeks for me. How can I be wrong, Hombid, when my town in NYS approved my plan and gave me a building permit? I guess I should tear down my pool deck because you think it was built wrong and put in SIX posts below the frost line Yea right!! Hey guess what! The world is round…it is just a deck, a floating deck, and I am not wrong. Say what you will but people if you choose to build a floating deck with Dek-Block and not DECK BLOCK have fun. Unless you live in NJ. Just take your plan, that you got from Deckplans.com, down to your town or city and have them be the judge. Not Hombid.!! Many peoplehave used Dek-Block to build their floatinig decks. They all cann't be wrong.

By the way a co-worker built his floating deck with Dek-Blocks and had no problem with the city code office. I guess they see it different then you do Hombid.

Lefty, It makes since that it is not just digging holes and nailing boards down for the true cost of a deck. It just was too much.for me. I had to settle for PT and not Red Wood. Thanks for the info.
 
  #38  
Old 10-18-04, 01:43 PM
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Hate to tell you this, either your local planning department is staffed by failed engineers or they dont know what they are doing. PA and NY area is not a frost line free area. Not putting footers on a slab is one thing, not putting footers under posts is a whole other matter. Pushing information like this that is noncompliant to the code in probably 99.9% of the whole northeast region is assinine. This is like telling people to wire the neutral and ground wires together in an outlet that isn't grounded.. unethical and downright stupid.

Lefty, we don't have the requirements for earthquake zones here regarding the number of posts. If someone here insisted that a deck that size needed 15 posts i would be rolling around laughing. A simple deck like this should not cost anything close to what has been said.

Iceman, 'many people'? I bet i can find many people who use 2x4's for joists too and a blue tarp for shingles.
 
  #39  
Old 10-18-04, 03:11 PM
Icemancomth
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Apple And Orange Comparison?

Apples and oranges, talk what you know and not what you don't about the engineering specs on these blocks’ pertaining to the use with a floating deck. I tell you what. If my floating deck fails I will post saying, “I was wrong and so was my town code office.” Until then I will enjoy my deck. You see the deck is made to move evenly when the ground heaves. Not all areas are good for these blocks. It depends on the soil condition. Also it is not recommend using the dek-blocks for a post-and-beam system. It concentrates the loads. There is a greater chance of settling, sinking, and lateral movement.

To all, again, my deck is standing and has not destroyed my pool coping by rising up 4 to 6 inches during the winter. As for wind it stood up to 75mph wind gust this summer.

Gentlemen it has been fun conversing with you all but since this site only gets a few people reading this, you have convince me that new ways are ignored and reckless. Reminds me of the people who built balloon frame houses without fire-stops. They too were stuck in they ways. Sound familiar. Anyway again thanks for your input. And Homebild what's with the anger?

Later Folks,

Icemancomth
 

Last edited by Icemancomth; 10-18-04 at 03:22 PM.
  #40  
Old 10-19-04, 11:30 AM
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Seems no one has noticed that the hemmingsjones deck may be illegal in another respect -- inadequate railings. (Sorry, on second review I see lefty mentioned a 30" requirement.) I seem to recall from building a freestanding deck of my own that railings are required for decks higher than 18". This deck looks like a lawsuit waiting to happen.
 
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