Beam or not to beam

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Old 07-31-08, 02:04 PM
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Beam or not to beam

Hi all,

I have been reading a lot on decking and flipping through books with pictures. Sometimes I see were the joist is on top of the beam other times the joist is attached to the beam with a hanger. Is one way better than the other?

thanks for any insight
 
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Old 07-31-08, 02:22 PM
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I always put the beam under the joist and let them cantileaver over by two feet or so. I think it looks nicer and it takes less time to do.
 
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Old 07-31-08, 02:44 PM
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It's USUALLY a difference in what you have to work with as far as the height of the deck above grade.

When there is enough height, I set the joists on top of the beam and let them cantilever, like Bill62 said.

But sometimes there simply isn't enough height to get the beam below the joists, so they get installed with hangers between the ledger and the beam.
 
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Old 07-31-08, 04:29 PM
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We actually have a section on a page in our website dedicated to your exact question. We recommend "Frame in Post" construction versus "Cantilevering or Post and Beam" construction. It describes several reason why. http://dwdecks.com/building_guidelines.htm

Hope this helps,
Dan Milford (DW Elite Decks)
http://www.dwdecks.com/blog
 
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Old 07-31-08, 05:23 PM
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Post and beam decks are probably more prevalent on the left coast, as opposed to the right coast. We very seldom ever have a call to install a p&b design, although they are neat looking. I did mine on my own house just so I would know how to do it for others.
 
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Old 07-31-08, 06:05 PM
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DW Elite Decks & chandler,

Obviously there is a HUGE difference in the way you guys on the right coast and us on the left coast build a deck. Mostly, it comes down to the size of lumber available to us.

2X is available everywhere. That's a given. It might be a different species, which means it can span different lengths, but it's still a 2X.

But you guys on the right coast have probably never seen anything larger than a 4X6, when you are even lucky enough to see that. It's a geography thing -- you guys can't grow a tree large enough to get a 6X18 out of!! We do it all the time -- or at least used to be able to until the 'tree huggers' arrived on the scene!!

Larry, you & I have had this discussion several times. There is simply a different way to build a deck on the left coast that what's done on the right coast. Free standing vs. attached, siae of the posts and beams, etc.

DW Elite Decks -- you hang around here long enough and you'll start to see the difference in a left coast deck and a right coast deck as well. It's not a question of "who's is better" -- it's simply a matter of what material is available where your're at as opposed to where I'm at, and what conditions we have to build to. Out here, it's earthquakes. The right coast has pretty much never had one. You guys deal with hurricaines -- I've never seen one and don't want to!!

Of course frost becomes another issue. There are places where frost means the footings for anything have to be 42" or more deeper. For me, frost means I have to break out the ice scraper and get it off of the windshield of the truck or the wife's car at 6AM!!
 
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Old 08-03-08, 07:24 AM
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I really like the look of the P&B deck system. I wish it were more prevalent here. Mike, you're right, our lumber is limited to PT southern pine. Last time I was at my daughter's in Denver, I literally drooled on the clear redwood in stock at the orange big box no less. And the 4x6 does limit us on beam length without support. I think I'll start pushing the design a little more. May start a trend, who knows? And as far as frost/freeze goes, there is a large difference even up the eastern seaboard. Dek blocks in Florida, and 48" deep footings in Massachusetts.
 
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