Floating Deck

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Old 04-24-10, 11:13 AM
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Floating Deck

So, here I was about to call in the friends and family to assist in the new deck expansion. Ready to rent the 2-man post hole digger and get working. I have the design done well maybe 95%). I had intended to connect the new addition to the house and to the existing deck, but then I noticed that the existing deck is not attached to the house. So, I said I will just connect to the existing deck, as it is free-standing.

Today, I went out to remove some skirt boards to look at the existing supports and found 4x4 treated corner posts, sitting on pre-fab concrete post piers, that were sitting on 18" x 18" x 2" pavers. That is it. I took a shovel and dug under one paver, just to be certain that there is no footing, and there is not! Guess this explains the slightly unsteady feeling the deck has every spring.

Now I am really unsure where to go with this. I really do not want to go and put footers under all existing posts, as it will be all hand dug and we have a 50" frost depth here.

Part of me wants to scrap the idea of the deck expansion. The other is curious what would happen if I simply added on to it, using the same support design the existing deck has.

Attached is the link to the image of the existing and proposed new deck. The existing is brown.

decknewold.jpg picture by Hercontractor - Photobucket

Note: I have only looked at the corner post closest to the new stair location. Still have to look at the posts where the deck is partially covered by roof.

Any thoughts out there?
 
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Old 04-24-10, 05:39 PM
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You have a free standing deck on fake footings. You can build a free standing extension on real footings. Install the correct footings, let the posts come up through the floor & use them as part of the railing. Even if the extension touches the original deck, it won't be putting any stress on it.

Be aware that if part or none of it was ever filed with the building dept, there could be a problem if you sell the house.
 
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Old 04-24-10, 07:00 PM
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My fear

Is that if I attach a footered deck to a non-footered deck, the two will rip each other apart. The new deck would be attached to the existing deck on two sides
 
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Old 04-24-10, 10:28 PM
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You can go one of two ways. The question is how much liability are you willing to accept?

If the customer really wants the addition and I were doing it, my addition wouldn't be connected to the existing deck in any way. My addition would be done with a permit. If the inspector had a problem with the existing deck when he got the to inspect my footings, that's between him and the homeowner (and would fall back on the contractor of the original deck.) ALL of that would be explained to the homeowner and put in writing before I even signed the contract.

The other option would be to go ahead and attach your addition to the existing deck. No matter how you did your footings, you'll be accepting the liability for the entire mess when ANY part of it heaves -- the existing or what you added.

Your call!

The third option would be to do it RIGHT -- tear out the existing structure and replace it properly with the deck that homeowner really wants! THAT would be the only contract I would be comfortable signing.
 

Last edited by lefty; 04-24-10 at 10:32 PM. Reason: Add the 3rd option
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Old 04-25-10, 06:41 AM
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The two decks will not "rip each other apart". If you build the second deck the way I described, there won't be any stress on the first deck, even if you attach them.
 
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Old 04-25-10, 01:46 PM
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Pulpo,

Here is the way I would envision building this with your input. I have an existing corner, with an existing post on a pier pad. I build a new post (say 8" away), by digging a footing, pouring a pier, etc. then building the deck out from there. The question I have for you, or where I am getting lost on this, is how I attach the new to the old. OR, do I do that at all? The image below shows the existing headers / joists / post & pier, with the new post , headers, and joists to the right. Would you envision lagging or bolting the two headers together? Or just let them but up against each other.

 
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Old 04-25-10, 08:31 PM
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You can choose any of those options. The new section can be completely free standing with an inch or two between it & the old section OR some L brackets can be used to attach them OR use lag bolts, as you mentioned.

Just make sure that the posts that sit on the footings extend high enough to be part of the railing. Hang the headers between them. That's what allows the deck to be free standing. It could be built in the middle of the desert & it wouldn't fall.
 
 

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