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Just spent a fortune on new deck, are the planks supposed to "give" this much?

Just spent a fortune on new deck, are the planks supposed to "give" this much?

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  #1  
Old 08-24-09, 03:31 PM
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Just spent a fortune on new deck, are the planks supposed to "give" this much?

Hi,
We had a professional come and build a deck for us. The floor boards of the deck are made out of that composite material. When I step onto the deck, I can feel individual boards bending under my weight (I weigh 140 pounds). Is this normal? The man who built it said that there is supposed to be "give" in the boards, but I've never been on a deck that has "give" like this one.

We spent nearly $9000, so this is bothering me.

Thanks
Linda
 
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  #2  
Old 08-24-09, 03:33 PM
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To give a informed answer..we need to know the spacing of the support members under the decking. The requirements for wood and composites are very different.
 
  #3  
Old 08-24-09, 03:41 PM
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They are 16 inches apart.
 
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Old 08-24-09, 05:26 PM
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I weigh a hundred pounds more......nevermind. With 16" oc for the joisting you should not be experiencing an appreciable "give" in the decking. Now, a little more investigation. How deep is your deck, or how long are your support members. What size are those support members? 2x6 2x8 2x10? Are they supported on their ends with joist hangers. Do you have a post and beam situation? You didn't fill out your profile, so we don't know where you live. Left coast decks use quite a bit of post and beam, where on the Right coast there are less of them.
 
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Old 08-24-09, 05:47 PM
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I would probably contact the composite material sales rep and get a opinion from him as to if the deck is constructed to recommended specs
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Old 08-24-09, 05:50 PM
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1. The support members are 13.5 feet long,
2. and they are 2 x 6.
3. not sure what joist hangers are or post and beam, can u tell me what they are?
4. We live in central Ohio.

Thanks
 
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Old 08-24-09, 06:41 PM
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Bingo. Maximum span for 2x6 Southern Pine in wet location is 9'9", so the deck is overspanned and should have had at least 2x8 lumber. UNLESS there is a post and beam under the deck somewhere around the middle. The beam will run the length of the deck and will be supported by posts about every 8'.
If you look under the deck, where the joists attach to the boards at the house and on the outer edge, there should be metal brackets holding the ends of the joists up. Would it be possible for you to post a couple of pictures of the underside of the deck on a site such as photobucket.com and copy/paste the HTML code to your reply post. That way we can see what you see and can make better comments.
 
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Old 08-24-09, 06:44 PM
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The joist SPACING is OK, as long as the deck boards run square to the joists. The give that you are experiencing is due to the joists being overspanned.

By all means contact a rep from the deck board mfgr. You can go to the lumberyard that the decking was purchased from and have them put you in touch with him or her.

As far as the overspanned joists, the solution is to install another beam at the midspan of the joists.

Was this deck built with a building permit? (It doesn't sound like it. The bldg. dept. would have never approved the plans with the joists being spanned that far, and the inspector would have never passed it.)

Does the contractor who built it have a license? If so, and he wants to keep it, there's your leverage for getting the additional beam installed
 
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Old 08-24-09, 06:44 PM
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yes thanks so much!

I can def. take some pics! Thanks so much! have to take them tomorrow because it's dark here.

Thanks
 
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Old 08-24-09, 06:48 PM
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We'll take flash pictures! You've got us on a roll, and Mike is on the left coast and will be asleep until noon our time tomorrow.
 
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Old 08-24-09, 07:06 PM
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Larry,

Noon your time -- 9AM here. I've got 1/2 my day in by then!! (Gotta beat the heat around during the summer.)

I've been out of touch the past week and a half -- my hard drive decided it had had enough.

Mike
 
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Old 08-24-09, 07:14 PM
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Oooh, so did TG, and my wife. Must be something in the water. And I know about beating the heat. But our summer has been quite mild comparing to other years. Our highest temp has been about 85. Sunday it was 76. Good motorcycle day after church. Took me 2 hours to drive 8 miles. Got lost in the beauty. Must be global warming.....I didn't say that.
 
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Old 08-24-09, 08:25 PM
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Linda, which brand composite? Trex, Timbertech, most all have an installation chart on their web-site. Read the lumber stamp on the wood joists, it will give the abbreviation for the species. Here is some reading so you understand the deck terms: http://www.awc.org/Publications/DCA/DCA6/DCA6.pdf Be safe, G
 
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Old 08-25-09, 12:50 PM
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pictures etc

Hi, it's Azek. I put the pics on photobucket and here's the link:

Deck Pics pictures by lindahulteen - Photobucket

Hopefully I put that link in here correctly.

Yes, we had to get a building permit and he is licensed (according to him, he gave us a license number)

The wood that the decking is screwed to (the joists?) say "red pine", as does the post wood. I don't see a tree name on the beams, just some letters/numbers "SPIB No.2 KD19 HT 234 Westervelt" The joists are 2 x 6, while the beams are 2 x 8.

Thanks for your help!!
 

Last edited by Linda888; 08-25-09 at 01:27 PM.
  #15  
Old 08-25-09, 01:43 PM
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The problem shows well in the very first picture in the album.

Where the joists are sliced over the center beam, all of the outer joists should have been placed on the same side of the inner joists. Looking at the picture, that wasn't done, so, while the joist spacing is probably 16" in one section of the deck, it varies in the other section. There are deck boards that would actually be spanned 19" OC (assuming that the joist spacing started at 16" OC)

Azek is springy enough when it spans 16". 19" is simply not an option.

The solution is to install joists on the OTHER SIDE of where the splice occurs, reducing the span to 16".

The contractor messed up.
 
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Old 08-25-09, 02:20 PM
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I agree with the sponginess between the mislaid joists. Span is a little too much there. Only two more questionable items, that may or may not be pertinent. In picture 12, how is that post attached to the rim? I see no through bolt, and normally that is done. Next, although way too late, I would have liked to have the siding removed and the ledger attached to the rim of the house, flashed properly and the siding replaced with jchannel at the bottom. How is the ledger attached to the house. Not enough span to see if carriage bolts were used or not. If so, how were the holes secured from the weather?
 
  #17  
Old 08-25-09, 04:32 PM
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I've put down a lot of Azek, (or Pro Cell before Katrina wiped out the plant and Azek took them over), and I don't use a 16" joist spacing with it anymore. I've gone to a 14" spacing or less with it. I do that because it IS "springier" than a composite, or at least than the composites that I've used. (Trex, Ever Grain, Weather Best, when it was around, etc.)

The issues that Larry is pointing out (post and ledger bolts, flashing, etc.) are (in my eyes) more red flags about the quality of workmanship that you received from this contractor.

I realize that cost was an issue -- both for you as the homeowner and just how much you could afford to spend on the deck, and for the contractor and much he could do based on the contract price for the deck. But if he couldn't do the job properly within the contract price that you were willing to accept, he should have kept the workmanship of the framing up and sold you on a less expensive decking.

I would have him come back and correct the overspanned joist problem and install the bolts in the post-to-rim that Larry is pointing out, paying only for the material.
 
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Old 08-25-09, 04:52 PM
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1. Blocking is required at the beams, where the floor joists lap past each other, per code to prevent rotation.

2. The waste end of each joist should be cut off so it does not extend past the beam more than it is thick.... 6". I see many way more than per code.

3. Others are correct, the layout comes from both ends to the middle, the lapping changes sides, the spacing is ir-regular.

4. It appears he used sinker nails (non-galvanized) in all the shear hangers. Wrong.

5. The posts may/not be per code, unless a 6x6 is required, which you natch. Unlike yours where the shear strength of the bolts is supporting the structure. (bad design)

6. No through bolts at rim, only nails, as mentioned.

7. If the window opening is with-in 18" of the deck surface, they need to be safety glazed.

8. Next to the steps is a riser/tread/deak space that requires more framing to stop a sphere (child's head) from getting caught there.

9. Nosing minimum 3/4, max. 1-1/4" is required on closed risers when treads are >_11".

10. As mentioned, the ledger is not propely installed, it will leak as shone.

11.Red pine is rated --- single member use 825 fb. (fiber bending) If the front span between posts is 7" as it measures, carrying 4' (a guess), is is barely safely loaded. But I need the exact spacing of posts, and spans between beams to calculate.

12. The stairs need a graspable handrail if 4 or more risers.

Where is your City or under the County? Any snow load?
Be safe, G
 
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Old 08-25-09, 05:37 PM
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Linda,

You got a bldg. permit? Has the contractor ever called for a final (or any other) inspection??

Don't know where you're at, but in CA it's the CONTRACTOR'S responsibility to pull the permit and to call for the inspections, unless the permit was pulled as "owner/builder". (And there are limitations about doing that.)
 
  #20  
Old 08-25-09, 08:01 PM
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wow

Wow, thanks you guys. I'm going to call the city tomorrow and see about this final inspection that lefty mentioned.

We're in the Columbus, Ohio area, snow is usually not too bad - usu. less than 4 inches, I'd say. Once per winter it might go up to a foot.

I also put in a call to Azek (left a message) that some of u suggested.

I am not looking forward to talking to the contractor. He's an extremely nice man, and I dont like confrontation with anyone, but esp. not someone so nice.

Is $9000 not very much for a 364 square foot deck w/composite decking? The railings are cedar. Or is that a pretty average price?

We contacted 3 people for the job, and believe it or not, he seemed the most knowledgable. He was also rated quite high on Angie's List!

Anyway, thanks! You guys are awesome! I really appreciate you taking the time to help! Beer 4U2

Linda
 
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Old 08-25-09, 08:27 PM
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Very often span tables for decking, joist and beams are based on strength and deflection is usually not a factor, especially is advertising and claims are involved.

For interior finished spaces, deflection has more importance because of possible cracking, but not an issue when uncovered and exposed to the weather.

Deflect is really measured by feel and not by a table or micrometer.
 
  #22  
Old 08-25-09, 09:51 PM
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$9000 for 364 sq. ft. of Azek deck with railing (that's a bit under $25/sq.ft.) is a lot less than what I would charge for it. But take that with a grain of salt.

First, CA and OH are going to have very different labor costs. While labor rates in this part of CA are among the lowest in the state, I have to pay the same rate that every other contractor in the state does for taxes and worker' comp. coverage. So if I pay a guy $15/hr., it costs me a little over $25/hr. to have him on the job.

Also, I ONLY use ACQ treated lumber for framing the decks that I build, and that is for EVERY stick of wood in the framing -- posts, beams, joists, blocking, ...) And using ACQ means all of the Simpson hardware has to be their Z-Maxx line, as much as possible. (Some items they simply don't make Z-Maxx.)

Railing costs vary a lot as well, with wood (around here) being more expensive than vinyl but less than composite. This deck has cedar railing. Those parts aren't available around here in cedar because we use redwood, and redwood is more expensive than cedar.

Dick, what you are saying about the span tables may be true where you're at, but that's not how the bldg. depts. around here see it. If the table says that Doug Fir 2X6's at 16" OC can span 10', I can't install them spanning any more than that. And then I go the other way BECAUSE they are outdoors, exposed to the elements. I set my beams at 6' or less, because I don't want joist sag or bounce to become an issue in 5 or 6 years.

My Azek decks start at about $20/sq.ft. without railing, and go up from there, depending on how creative the customer wants me to become. A perimeter done in contrasting colors is going to add to it because of the extra framing involved. Using Fasten Master Cortex screws and plugs adds more because of their higher cost and the additional labor. (They haven't perfected those for a standup screw gun yet, so it's all hand screwed with a cordless driver, and then you have to spend hours installing all those plugs!) Add some sort of a design in the field of the deck, and you guessed it -- CACHING!!!
 
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Old 08-26-09, 12:09 PM
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well here's an interesting development

So I just called the city to ask about the final inspection. They said that the permit they issued was a zoning permit, not a building permit. They said that the building permit is supposed to be pulled with the county. I called the county to find out if they did a final inspection. Turns out no building permit was pulled, even though the contractor told me several times that he does 100% of the permit pulling and I didn't have to worry about a thing. Me being naive, I said "sounds good" because I know nothing about permits. I knew that the city I live in is particular about permits, which is why I definitely checked to see if they had issued a permit (before any building began). Silly me assumed it was the only permit required, and no one said otherwise. The guy at the county said that it is the homeowner's responsibility to get the permit, and if we didn't ensure that was done, then it's all on us. The county guy said that if I filed a complaint then they would have to come out and dig everything up to make sure things were done correctly. And he also said that it would all fall back onto us. Not sure if he meant that we'd be penalized or something. I'm guessing yes. He also said that contractors do this sometimes (tell the homeowners that they'll take care of the permits, and then don't do it or don't do it right).

So...you live you learn I guess. That's what I get for assuming the guy was telling the truth. But he really is such a nice, genuine guy who really impressed us with his references, experience, and knowledge!! Geez louise!

I guess now I'm going to contact him again and ask him to come out to see just how "springy" these boards are. Not looking forward to that. Any ideas on how I should broach the issue with him?

Thanks again for all of your help
Linda
 
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Old 08-26-09, 01:17 PM
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Start out by being polite and courteous but remember what makes a con man successfully is how nice, polite, and reasonable he sounds.

The no permit is worrisome. Sometime the AHJ has the authority to order the removal of a structure built with out permit. Don't know what the law is where you are.
 
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Old 08-26-09, 01:17 PM
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Well...it was $9K...I'd broach it as ...do this right..I'm not happy. It can't be that difficult to reinforce as required...

As to the permits..thats a whole 'nother story....

Yeah, if footings weren't inspected (if required) then they may want everything dug up.

Do many perfectly good contractors do this..yes..and sometimes there isn't a problem...but a GOOD contractor will do all the paperwork and inspections..even if it can be a PITA.

Just a DIY opinion...no Pro
 
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Old 08-26-09, 02:11 PM
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The lack of a permit is certainly worrysome. I find it a little strange (or at least it's very different from what is done in CA) that it's the homeowner's responsibility to pull the permit.

Here, one of the purposes of the permit is to verify that the contractor (assuming that there is one involved) has worker's comp. coverage on his employees. The homeowner doesn't have access to that info. unless I (as the contractor) give it to them. And for the most part the homeowner doesn't know what inspections are required and when they are needed. The contractor does. Therefore it's up to the contractor to pull the permit and to schedule the inspections. More than once I have built decks or patio covers for customers that I have never met face to face. Some of them don't even live in CA!! You think they're going to come half way across the country to pull a $200 permit?

A ZONING permit for a deck? Another difference between CA and OH. I've had to get HOA approvals, fire marshall clearances, etc., but never a ZONING permit for a deck or patio cover.

As far as dealing with the contractor, complain about the "springiness". We know it will take a little material to correct that -- additional joists to support the Azek in the areas where it's overspanned. You shouldn't have to, but be willing to pay for that extra material. Don't say anything else or complain about anything else. Your only complaint with him is the "springiness".

Beyond that, the contractor is probably going to get correction notices from the inspector for the other items that we have pointed out -- the flashing, the handrail, the opening at the side of the steps, etc. Those are code violations (the "springiness" isn't one), so correcting those is strictly on the contractor. Don't let on that you are even aware of them.

As far as having to actually tear the deck down -- that's probably not going to happen. Proving the footings will be the most difficult thing the contractor will have to deal with as far as the inspector's complaints, and the inspector doesn't want the compacted soil around them disturbed. What he will PROBABLY do is randomly select one footing and have the contractor dig down one side to show the depth and the width of the footing, and than have him refill that hole with concrete. Any other things that he may complain about are pretty readily fixable.

But those are issues between the inspector and the contractor. Linda, YOU stay out of it! (Remember, your only complaint is the "springiness".) You're the homeowner. It's not your job to know anything about building codes. Shrug your shoulders and walk away. Once you have the "springiness" corrected, you're a happy camper.

And that's how you deal with the contractor.
 
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Old 08-26-09, 03:28 PM
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thanks

I wonder if the county is going to show up to look at our deck? Now they know that we have this deck and that no permit was pulled, and they know where we live? But the county guy didn't sound like he was going to come out and make an issue of it.

So the other issues that you all pointed out, are they dangerous things? If only the springiness gets fixed, will that be enough?

Well definitely the space where a child's head could get stuck we'll do something about. Our son has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair, but other children who may be over here or if we ever sell, I can't have them getting their noggin stuck.

But are the other things imperative? I have a feeling that they are?

I did get a hold of the Azek guy, and he's coming out next week to see our deck.

Thanks!!
Linda
 
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Old 08-26-09, 04:00 PM
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The County may or may not come out and look at it. We'll cross that bridge if and when we need to.

Get the springiness fixed -- certainly. At the moment that's an issue that makes the deck just not feel "right" when you walk across those areas that are overspanned. It should all feel like it does in the areas where it's not overspanned.

The large opening at the side of the steps and the handrail are ones that you should also take up with the contractor as well. Those are safety hazards that could get somebody injured.

The rest are, at this point, are more structural issues. The blocking should be installed between the joists now, while the joists are still straight. The missing bolts should be installed before the rims joists start to pull away from the posts. And the ledger should be flashed before water has a chance to enter the wall and begin rotting things inside the wall or rotting the ledger. These are things that need to get done before the lumber starts drying and changing shape (bowing, twisting, warping, etc.)

Certainly they are important, but they don't have the same urgency that the springiness, the handrail, and the large opening do.

Keep us up to date as to how it goes with the contractor, the Azek rep., and the County.
 
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Old 09-05-09, 05:26 PM
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I had to get a zoning permit from Liberty Township (northern cincinnati) in addition to a building permit from the county in order to begin work on my deck. Both require a final inspections. The township zoning permit is pretty basic.

Zoning Department - Liberty Township, Butler County, Ohio

I see many decks in this area not built to code. Quite scary.
 
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