free standing deck

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Old 10-09-07, 11:30 AM
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free standing deck

Hi,

I put a small addition on my house and need to build a small deck. I am thinking about building it as a free standing deck for a couple of reasons.

The new deck will run along a prvious deck and by building it free standing I can run the deck boards in the same direction as the old deck. If I use a ledger they will have to run in the opposite direction.

I don't really want to cut up the siding to install a ledger and a free standing deck will prevent any possible contact with water on the addtion.

The deck will be low only about 33" to the deck boards..

Any advice about free standing decks in general. I will use 2 beams sized appropiately for the size of the deck, very small 12' x 12' and cantilelver some over the beams.

Also the last deck I made I was allowed to use 4 x 4 posts now code requires 6 x 6. Any tips on cutting and then notching this size post for the beams? I just have a skill saw and a hand saw. It seems to me that cutting these post accurately will be difficult.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 
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Old 10-09-07, 07:36 PM
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I wasn't aware that 6x6 posts were required for all decks. Beyond that, on a free standing deck you will need some lateral bracing, from bottom of post up to the deck framing.

Cut all around the 6x6 and finish the small amount left with the handsaw. Or you can rent saws that will cut all of the way through. We have a 16" Makita beam saw for those cuts.

Mark
 
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Old 10-09-07, 08:15 PM
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Building codes and requirements tend to vary from area to area. You can Google for free-standing deck building. Here's a helpful link: http://www.bestdecksite.com/introLedgerPg1.htm

If you live in an area where building codes are enforced, your deck plans will need to be presented to local Building Code office and a permit required. If not, neighbors will report you.
 
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Old 10-09-07, 09:51 PM
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Codes vary form one place to the next. We've been saying that all along.

But 6X6 posts on a deck that is less than 48" above grade??

That is rediculous -- some plan checker has simply been given WAY TOO MUCH POWER!!

After I went over his head to the Chief Bldg. Official, I would be calling an engineer (at my own expense!!) and make 'em prove it!!

Not sure where you're at 55 chevy, but even in CA, the land of earthquakes, I'm allowed to use 4X4 for posts up to 8', AS LONG AS THEY ARE PROPERLY BRACED. There is simply no ryhme or reason for a 6X6 post in your application!!
 
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Old 10-09-07, 09:59 PM
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Thanks Lefty, I thought that I had missed something with those 6x6 posts.

Mark
 
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Old 10-10-07, 05:29 AM
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55chevy,

Once you hae the post issue resolved, a freestanding deck is very doable. Most of the decks that I build are freestanding.

It means one extra beam and line of footings, but, like you said, it can't be a source for a water leak in the wall.

A couple of points to be aware of are that the corner footings may have to be larger than the rest. Even if the permit doesn't call for it, I make mine 2" wider and 2" to 4" deeper than the rest of them. (Frost isn't an issue here, so deck footings are only 12" deep.) And proper crossbracing between the posts and beams is a must. You'll need to use 2X4's for the crossbracing, not 1X's. And it'll have to be braced in both directions.
 
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Old 10-12-07, 08:08 AM
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free standing deck

Thanks for all the responses. I live in loudoun county, VA this is a link to the deck code page and if you want to see the basic requirements as a sketch click n vie
w deck detail

http://www.loudoun.gov/b&d/decks.htm

I already have my final inspection so I can build it without worrying about inspections and I live on acreage so no one can see my house. But I think it would be best to try to build it so it could pass inspection should it ever become an issue.

Any advice on cutting the notches in the posts to handle a double 2x beam?
 
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Old 10-12-07, 12:50 PM
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Notches

Set the notch depth you want(1 1/2 in ?) on your circular saw as the blade depth of cut. Make a cut at each end of the notch and in between these two cuts at intervals of 1/2 inches. Trim out with sharp chisel. Good luck with your project.
 
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Old 10-12-07, 03:16 PM
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There's no need to notch the posts. Simply attach a Simpson BCS2-3/6 to the top of each one one you have them cut to height. A double 2X beam will sit in them just fine as long as you add a 2X filler (about 8" to a foot long) in the top of each cap to fill the void. (A BCS2-3/6 is designed for a triple 2X beam.) It'll sure save a lot of time cutting all those notchs that you aren't going to get perfect anyway, and the joints will be stronger.

Whether you pull the required permit or not is your call. (Nobody in here can make you, but we can certainly encourage you to!) The permit you had that was finalled was for the addition. The deck wasn't part of that. Just be aware of all of the liability you are accepting, and the possible consequences if you choose to not pull the permit.
 
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Old 10-13-07, 06:18 PM
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free standing deck

Thanks for the tip on the Simpson brackets and confirming that the notches arenít easy to cut. I had thought about using them but my county wonít allow it and you canít bolt the beam to the sides of the post either, notches only. This is true for ledger decks as well.

One reason for not getting the permit is in my county if you build a free standing deck you have to submit an engineering study for approval before a permit will be issued. That is a major deterrent. I think Iím just going to build it a close to their requirements as I can and if I get caught hope that it will pass. But I will probably use the brackets.

Several people mentioned bracing, one thing my county does allow is buried posts and this is what I intend to do. I canít imagine I would need braces on a 33 inch high deck with 6 x 6 buried posts. Overall deck size about 12 ft x 12 ft.

Thanks once again to all that responded it has been very helpful
 
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Old 10-14-07, 10:07 PM
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55chevy,

I sure am glad I don't build decks in your county.
 
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Old 10-15-07, 04:54 PM
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Build a free standing deck and run one bolt into your house. Now it is attached. Letter of the law, or something like that. Burying posts is a disaster waiting to happen, sooner than later. Where do you live?
 
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Old 10-16-07, 08:28 PM
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55chevy,

If you have searched baked through any of my posts, either here or in the Fence forum, you'll know that I would NEVER suggest burying wood in either dirt or concrete.

THAT part of your plan, like Larry said, is simply a disaster waiting to happen!!

I don't know where you're at -- you haven't told us -- but your local jurisdiction says that notching the post is prefeable to using a Simpson BC??? Have those guys landed on the 3rd rock yet??????
 
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Old 10-17-07, 07:48 PM
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free standing deck

Thanks for all the additional responses. I have heard that it isnít a good idea to bury the posts but I did it on my first deck 25 years ago and no problems to this point. For an amateur like me I see it as easier to bury the posts as it gives you just a bit of wiggle room in terms of footing location.

I live in Loudoun county, VA the fastest growing county in America Iím sorry to say and also the second wealthiest Iím also sorry to say. Below is a link to their ďtypical deck detailĒ if any of you are interested in seeing where all this is coming from

http://inetdocs.loudoun.gov/b&d/docs...1/smrtsite.htm


I like the idea of using one bolt into the house as a way of it not being quite a free standing deck and thereby avoiding the engineering study required by the county for free standing decks.

So thanks to all of you guys I have some good ideas as to how to proceed and will do so in the next week or so but in the meantime I need to be enjoying the nice weather in my 55 Chevy.
 
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