2nd Story Deck/Balcony

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Old 01-13-06, 11:08 AM
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2nd Story Deck/Balcony

I have a two story home, and I want to add a small deck/balcony to the back wall where my master bedroom is. I have a window in place now, that I would remove and enlarge the area so a patio type door could be installed. I want to add a small deck outside the doorway, just large enough for a small bistro type table and a couple chairs. It would be as wide as the door opening, and extend out maybe 4-5 feet. I am trying to find some plans that show how I would attach the deck to the house, and support it. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Old 01-13-06, 04:37 PM
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Supporting your deck is paramount. It must be bolted to your existing building, and the outside part will have to be supported to the ground, and since it is on the second floor, 6x6's to a proper footing, depending on where you live, could be surface level to 48" deep. Many of the big boxes have deck books that give good ideas on design. Now that you have decided to build it, don't skimp, build one larger than your eyes see now, because as soon as you put your handrails up, it will close in on you. 8x8 is not a bad size, and your lumber only has to be minimally cut, since it can be bought in that length.
 
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Old 01-17-06, 05:31 AM
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2nd story deck/balcony

Thanks for the reponse. I had tought about doing what you suggested. I was wondering if there as a way to tie into the existing joists that run between the 1 and 2nd level. If I remove the siding and the plywood sheething, I can see the floor joists. I was wondernig if I could install some additional joists that run under the floor and extend out from the house enought length for the balcony. I saw a set up just like this on a nearby house in the neighboorhood, and they did not support with a 4x4 or 6x6 because the balcony didn't extend far out from the house, and I guess the joists between the floors extended out far enough, but not enough to require support from underneath. I didn't want to have to support with posts underneath because I already have a lower deck and the supports would look strange. Any way what I am thinking of would work? Thanks.
 
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Old 01-17-06, 01:20 PM
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2nd Story Deck/Balcony

If I understand you correctly, you would like to cantilever the deck out from your existing structure and not have any posts on the outside.

This is possible, but has a very poor history of performance. There are many horror stories as people disoiver when they live with it for a few years.

1. Since you are catilevering out, the attachement of the "extensions" is critical and will require removing the ceiling of the floor below the bedroom. You just cannot nail some more joists in place. The work should be done by a professional.

2. In all likelyhood, you will have moisture entering your house at this point, no matter how conscientious you are. You wll have joints, leaks and absorption of water by the wood. This can lead to mold and structural problems.

3. The deck will be "springy" and you could possibly end up with a slight rise in your bedroom floor if you do not do the extension properly.

4. You will have to remove the window and frame in a new, wider header over the sliding door to carry the loads from above and maintain a square opening.

These are just a few of the considerations. Others may have more to offer.

To answer your question, yes you can do it, but you will have to hire a good engineer and be willing to live with the results. It is not as simple as it appears.

Dick
 
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Old 01-17-06, 05:38 PM
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I'll echo Dick's comments on cantilevering a deck. It is cute, but the damage that can result to your main residence is many-fold. I went to punch a new house which had a cantilevered deck extending into the kitchen, which had ceramic tile for flooring. I say "had" because it all cracked up prior to occupancy. We found out later the framer did not bolt all the cantilever lumber to the existing lumber as required, and did not "stick" it in the cavity far enough allowing the weight of the deck to lift the floor.
 
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Old 01-17-06, 09:19 PM
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Mikey is going to chime in and tell you just what Dick and Larry said -- you DO NOT want to go to a cantilevered deck. They are miserable when they are done as 'new construction', and a NIGHTMARE when done as a retrofit.

First, to do it "right", you would have to go in through the floor of the upper story -- NOT through the siding. You deck joists would have to be sistered to the existing floor joists 2 times the distance of the cantilever. So to cantelever 8' out, you have to sister in 16 FEET -- that's not anything you'll be able to reach by going through the siding. And in most houses, that means going under at least one interior wall as well. And dimensional lumber shouldn't be cantilevered more than 2' anyway.

Further, deck joists are exposed to the weather -- they aren't going to last more than 20 years at best. Once they start to rot, that rot is transferred to your floor joists. Then, a $2500 deck replacement job goes into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Chandler (Larry) suggested ledgering the new deck. That's your call. I would make it free-standing so there is NO WAY water, moisture and rot can get behind the siding (as long as your siding remains in tact and water tight).

Mike (aka Lefty)
 
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Old 01-18-06, 05:36 AM
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2nd story deck/balcony

Thanks to all that responded. All very good points. As much as I would like the idea of the small deck, the issues seem to outweight the benefits. I'll move onto my next great idea!
 
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Old 01-18-06, 06:36 AM
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rwilson,

Don't give up so easily! The idea of a deck is a good one. But cantilevering it isn't. That leaves you 2 other options. Either attach it via a ledger board, or make it freestanding. Each has thits own pluses and minuses.

The ledger means that you wil be penetrating the siding of the house, so proper flashing is absolutely a must. An "L" shaped flashing has to go behind the siding and run up the wall about 5" (no less than 4") and needs to run horizontally over the ledger and the first 4" or 5" of the joists. (That assumes that the joists are perpendicular to the house and that your deck boards will run parallel with the wall.)

Freestanding will involve installing more posts -- a row at the wall and a second row at the outer edge of the deck -- and will require more crossbracing under the deck.
 
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