Free standing deck - or ledger board?

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  #1  
Old 11-18-05, 05:17 AM
deckgrasshopper
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Free standing deck - or ledger board?

I just read a thread in which Lefty professes a preference for a free standing deck.

The advantage here - is that you don't have to drill into your house, and there will be no risk of water getting into your house frame from improper attachment.

The disadvantage would seem to be adding another set of footings and beam. Also - the freestanding deck would seem to me to be less stable relying completely on the 4x4 (or 6x6's) and their connections for sway strength.... seems like more work, doesn't it?

Will anyone eloborate further on this key design decision? Your preference?
 
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Old 11-18-05, 09:29 AM
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Free standing deck - or ledger board?

You are correct about the stability of a free standing deck. A free standing deck is not as stable, but for reasonable heights the stability is not a problem. Codes really do not know how to address stability too well.

If you have a high deck, you can use bracing to make more stable.

One common method is to put diagonal bracing in the plane of the posts in one or more directions. The cute little 45 degree braces at the corners help, but are not as effective as full diagonal braces. If you have a rigid top deck surface, you only need to brace one bay in each direction. Bracing only one bay (it can be next to the house) minimizes the ugliness.

Horizontal bracing can be used to make the top deck surface rigid in both free standing and to decks attached with a ledger. This would be diagonal 2xs nailed to the underside of the joists. This is not a replacement for blocking, which does a different job. This bracing is usually not noticed because of the location. This is one of the reasons diagonal deck boards help stability.

In case of high large decks both methods may be used. If the deck is not too hign, but is large then just the second method could be used.

Dick
 
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Old 11-18-05, 06:19 PM
woodpecker
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ask yourself this?

why are you comparing the two options? do you have a means of fastening it to a fixed building? are you prepared/capable to properly flash a leger board? i only ask because i would say that a deck that is properly fixed/flashed to a "solid" building will have far more strength than a free stander. if the ledger board can't be properly fastened and flashed then i would consider a freestander but other than that i like to "fix" em to something solid.
 
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Old 11-22-05, 08:46 AM
deckguy
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Either way, the deck is only as safe as you build it. I reccomended DeckLok Brackets in an earlier thread on a very similar subject, and I'll continue to do so, since they work great for me. www.deck-lok.com
Those will secure the deck to the house, but you still need to design a properly stable and safe deck, be it freestanding, or ledger.

-deckguy
 
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Old 01-13-06, 09:54 AM
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Talking pro's and con's

I have a stucco house and want to build a very simple cover over a patio. Right now, the patio is simply dirt, but I plan to pave it in the near future. I need the patio cover on before I pour any cement for obvious reasons.

Not sure what I'll use for a cover - probably something fairly cheap and inexpensive. I MIGHT use some sunscreen "mesh" that I used to cover our playground set - Hot here in Phoenix in the summer. It was very easy to build a wood "frame" over the playground and then tightly drape and use these simple "staple plates" to attach the green mesh to the frame. Used pressure-treated wood so it'll hopefully last in the hot sun. The mesh would be nice over the patio because it would let the hot air (and BBQ fumes) out but keeps the hot sun out. The disadvantage is that it lets the rain in. Thought about doing half the patio cover using some simple roofing material and the other half in the mesh.

So - the Pro's and Con's of each option - attach to house versus free-standing. I am NOT an expert carpenter, so digging, cutting, etc. is easy. Cutting through Stucco is NOT my idea of fun nor is fixing the stucco when I'm done. A little is ok - I did install a little A/C through a stucco wall in my garage, but that stucco repair was easy compared to what this might be.

Option A: Attach a roof to the stucco house.
PROs: Stronger long term.
No "gap" between roof and wall.
No posts need to be dug near house wall.
Cons: Ugh - must cut through or drill into stucco to attach ledger/flashing. Concerned about water eventually seeping into walls.

Option B: Free-standing - but built close to the wall of house.
PROs: No drilling or cutting into stucco!
CONs: Must dig four holes rather than two - TOUGH digging.
Four posts rather than two. Ugly?
Small gap between edge of patio cover and house - some rain will slip between.

Cost comparison - not sure. Flashing vs. two extra posts seems to be the primary difference.

Have I presented this accurately? Any thoughts?

I searched and found a little info on this, but not tons. No real comparison of pro's and con's. Deckgrasshopper, hope you don't mind me jumping in here.

This is my first post on this forum. Be kind, folks.
 
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Old 01-13-06, 07:49 PM
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Rawhide Kid,

Welcome to DoItYourself.com and the Deck/Patio forum.

We need to have more specifics about your house and your planned cover.

Is your stucco 'foam core' (stucco over a layer of foam insulation) or is it 3 coat (solid masonary from the studs to the finished coat)? Is this cover going on a gable end of the house (under a peak of the roof), or a side wall (going under a rain gutter)? I'm assuming that your roof is tile -- 90% of them in Phoenix are.

Plan the entire cover and patio as one project, so you do things in the proper order. Once you get the permit for the cover, you'll know whether or not you'll need footings under the posts, how big they will need to be, and what type of attaching hardware you will be dealing with. That means that you will have to have a plan for the cover before you start.

Why wood? It's a little less money up front, but a lot of maintenance down the road. My prejudice is aluminum for a solid cover, and either aluminum or vinyl for a lattice type cover. Frees you from having to spend 1 or 2 weeks every couple of years having to paint it. Both of those come with factory engineering, which takes all of the guess work out of design and makes obtaining the permit a very simple thing.
 
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Old 01-13-06, 08:41 PM
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Thanks Lefty!

Thanks Lefty!

1. Foam Cover stucco
2. Side wall - but no gutter on that side.
3. Roof is tile, but the patio cover will not be.
4. Footings - I plan to dig down about 2 feet and cement the 4x4 redwood posts directly in the ground. Probably 10 foot posts so I have about 7 1/2 feet ceiling. I might do more in case I decide to do a patio fan/light.

Starting drawing and pricing the plan tonight. At about $350 total which is pretty good I think - a mix of corrugated cover (not sure exactly which one yet - a nice sedona red caught my eye at Lowes) (http://www.diydata.com/projects/cor_...or_roofing.htm) and that mesh I mentioned above. Found it at Lowe's - it's called Coolaroo. (http://www.coolaroo.com/northernupda...hadefabric.asp) $1.76 per 1 foot length - six foot wide is what they have. Different % sunblock and colors available.

Plan on putting in the 4x4 posts - then 2x4's to build a square outer frame for the roof. Then 2x2's every 3 feet to support the mesh - more often to support the corrugated section and will use 2x4's there to support a ceiling fan/light. I'll put in some 45 degree braces in a few places to enhance the support structure. In total, I think it is about 33 feet wide (across the wall of the house) and from 6 feet to 15 feet in length. Sorta difficult to describe in words.

From left to right:
six feet of Mesh; (post) corrugated cover (next to sliding glass door going in to house); mesh (six feet); post; 12 feet of mesh; brick wall (with post extension upwards of about 2 feet probably.


Hope this makes sense. Some of my ideas are pretty crazy, but I think this one makes sense if the city (and the HOA) will give me an ok on it.

The last twist on this is to make part of the mesh cover to be removeable in the winter. Not sure I'll do this, but I think it'll work. The piece between the two posts to the right and the brick wall - a 12x12 foot square of mesh.

Thanks for any suggestions/thoughts. I won't win any awards with this design, but I think it'll be quite functional, cheap, and fairly easy on the eyes.
 
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Old 01-14-06, 06:28 AM
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Start at the beginning -- get the required approvals before you start.

Dig and pour the required footings and set Simpson CBSQ's in the wet concrete. Add 2 lengths of rebar about 1' long horizontally at each side of the square. These will be about 6" into the footing and project out about 6" into the slab when it gets poured. This ties the footing to the slab. Use forms around the top of the footing so that they are square. Once that has set up, remove the forms and pour the slab. Now you have a clean surface to work off of.

Use a Skilsaw with either disposable masonary blades or a diamond masonary blade to cut the stucco. The straighter the cut, the less patching you'll have to do, so take your time. With that removed, you can ledger directly to the studs. The ledger needs to be the same size that your joists will be. Do whatever stucco patching needs to be done.

Set your 4X4 posts in the CBSQ's, plumb them, and install your beam using Simpson AC's, BC's, or PC's. (Specify one in the plan, then use that.)

Install your joists, with LU joist hangers on the ledger. Install the roofing, then flash between your facia board and the roofing.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by woodpecker
why are you comparing the two options?
Ok, it looks like this thread got off track. I'm comparing the two options for my forthcoming deck project because I'm not confident in my ability to address all the forseeable ways that water can get into my house were I to tear off some of the siding to attach a ledger board.

I searched through this forum and am not sure if I have an answer to my questions. My question is not so much which method should I use, but how can I strengthen a freestanding deck considering it will only be about 20" high? I won't have the room to use diagonal braces between the vertical posts. I read somewhere about diagonal bracing under the joists. Will this do an adequate job? Should they be in more than one direction?

An alternative to using posts is setting the framework of the deck on the concrete piers I pour. (I've read the posts on Dek Blocks and I don't want to go there again) If I pour footings, then use the proper brackets that accept the beams (doubled up, I think I've seen), in theory I won't have any racking problems. Of course, the deck won't be 20" high then. Can I pour footings a few inches above grade, or is that a no-no? That would add a few inches to the deck heighth. That, combined with the 2x8's would get me to about 12". Then the options are to leave the step-up/step-down to the house, or build an oversized step up to within an inch or so of the house floor. I'm thinking that I don't really want to leave the big step-down.

I've read in other threads about not having the wood touching the concrete footings. I'm guessing there are special brackets that isolate the two materials?

Any comments on any of these thoughts would be appreciated. I'm not dead-set on a method yet, but I don't think I want top attempt a ledger board.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 07:28 PM
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A 20" high free-standing deck can be made every bit as stable as an attached deck

Make the corner footings 18" to 20" sqaure and 18" deep (or 6" below your frost line, whichever is greater). Fill that hole with concrete, then add 6" to 8" of 8" or larger sonotube, and set a PBS44 or CBSQ44 (assuming that you are using 4X4 posts) in the set mud. (This is all done as a monolithic pour -- done all at the same time.) The remainer of the footings only need to be 15" to 16" square and 12" deep -- set pier blocks in the wet mud.

Once the posts and girders are up, use 1X4's to crossbrace at the corners in both directions, and around areas where you may have a joint in the girder. Then joists, railing posts, and decking. Done
 
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Old 04-06-06, 10:08 AM
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So if I'm following this right, my corner posts will only be 10-12" long. Assuming 2x8 girders, I'll only have a few inches of post left showing. I don't see how I can put diagonal braces on them then.

By pier blocks I'm thinking you mean the precast blocks that have the square space on top for the 4x4 and slots for 2x boards?

I should have mentioned in my original post that the deck will be about 10x18'.
 
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Old 04-06-06, 03:27 PM
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If the deck is going to be that low, use CBSQ's at the corners and eliminate the cross-bracing on the side that the plate is on.

No, you are talking about Deck Blocks. I never use them. A pier block is similar, but has a square piece of 2X6 attached to the top of it.
 
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Old 04-06-06, 04:32 PM
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Ok, thanks for the info. I guess I gotta start official planning on this thing now. ; )
 
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Old 02-28-08, 03:04 PM
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dont forget the simple yet stong power of the diagonal brace, the simple gusset..... it will not move want to know more?
 
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Old 02-28-08, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by woodtwo5 View Post
dont forget the simple yet stong power of the diagonal brace, the simple gusset..... it will not move want to know more?
Thanks for the advice but it doesn't really matter any more. That deck has been built and the house is up for sale. : )

I ended up having someone frame it for me and I did the decking and railings myself. Vinyl railings with low-voltage lighting run through them. I'm sorry to have to leave that deck.
 
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