Livin' in PA - when to get started?

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Old 01-12-06, 04:16 AM
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deckgrasshopper
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Livin' in PA - when to get started?

Any advice from the deck guys on when I should 'break ground' for a deck here in eastern PA?

Also - does the permit process take a long time/is it time limited? When should I get that started?

Thanks in advance
 
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Old 01-12-06, 04:32 AM
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Not sure about specific times in EPa, but it is generally accepted to begin after the ground thaws. You will have to be pouring footings (probably), and you don't want the concrete to freeze and crack.
Permits are time limited, and are not a difficult item to get. Have a drawing with you so you can show the inspector what you plan to do, and have information such as is it within 100' of a waterway, etc. In our local situation, we usually set the length of term of the permit, knowing how long it will take to build and how much we anticipate it to cost. But I believe it is common for them to have a total life of one year.
Post back if we can help further.
 
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Old 01-12-06, 08:49 AM
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Livin' in PA - when to get started?

If you have the permit, you could start anytime.

The downside is that in the winter it will be more costly (but not impossible) to auger for post supports and cure the concrete enough before it freezes.

You can easily thaw a small area using some rocks and charcoal for a day and cover for a day or two. This is done every day in cemeteries and buy public utilities. You could also use propane. If you use a post hole digger (auger or spade type), you don't need to thaw a large area. At most you will have to go down 48" and may find the frost level is not very deep. Here in Minnesota, today the frost is only down ablout 12-24" if the is a snow cover - much more under roads and sidewalks. Some areas with an early, heavy snow cover have virtually no frost penetration.

As soon as the hole is excavated, immediately set a Sonotube for a form with some rebar and pour it with 5000 psi Quikrete (use warm water - 140 max.). Cover immediately with an insulated blanket. Since the ground is not frozen the latent heat of the soil and the hydration of the cement coupled with the insulated blanket will allow the concrete to cure enough to be able to support the posts soon. Don't forget to embed the post attachments. Backfill as soon as possible and try to keep the gravel backfill from freezing too soon.

Once you have the posts, it is strictly a human problem when it comes to the stick construction.

dick
 
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Old 01-12-06, 02:14 PM
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Pa Permits

In Pennsylvania, the state Code requires you to apply for the permit and the code office must tell you within 15 days that your plans are approved or that they are disapproved and cite the reasons why.

You then must alter your plans if there are problems, then resubmit the plans, and start the whole 15 day process over again.

If you submit plans and apply for a permit, and you hear nothing back from the code office within the 15 day time limit, your plans are deemed approved by default and the permit is presumed to be issued and valid.

A permit becomes invalid if work does not commence within 180 days.

Decks less than 30" high and with no roofs are exempted from permits in Pennsylvania.

http://www.dli.state.pa.us/landi/cwp...=211697#403.61
 

Last edited by manhattan42; 01-12-06 at 02:16 PM. Reason: a
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Old 01-13-06, 05:25 AM
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Less than 30" high

You just caught my attention with that. I literally said WHOA!!! I can't wait to get home an measure...of course...what does one measure to? The bottom of the joists? Beams? Decking itself?

Thanks very much for your advice!
 
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Old 01-13-06, 05:26 AM
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I read it

Its the floor of the deck...so I'll measure the top of my ledger board to the ground and see what I come up with. If its 31" - you'll hear the "DOH" from here.
 
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Old 01-16-06, 04:42 AM
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Top of floor to Grade

You need to measure from the top of the finished floor (walking surface) to the grade.

If it is 30" or less you need no permits.
If it is >30" you need a permit.
 
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Old 01-16-06, 01:41 PM
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Not sure how it works in PA, but for me, I have to have the inspector come out and approve the depth of my holes before I can fill them in.
 
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Old 01-16-06, 05:23 PM
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Like manhattan42 says, it's from the surface of the deck to grade, and it cannot exceed 30" ANYWHERE around the perimeter of the deck. If it does, you need not only a permit abut a code approved railing as well. (That means one that is at least 36" above the deck, that 250 lbs. in any direction cannot move, and one that has no openings that a 4" ball can pass through.

And yes, the holes for the footings have to be inspected BEFORE you fill them, as kona pointed out.
 
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