To Level or Not Level my Deck

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Old 05-06-13, 02:22 PM
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To Level or Not Level my Deck

Hello,

I have a deck that is very nice, but was not maintained very well prior to my ownership. I have decided at a minimum to replace all the boards on it. But I have had 2 contractors out, and they both give me different advice.

Contractor #1:
He said that my deck is not level and is pitched towards the house. So when it rains, the water will go towards the house and could damage my foundation. His recommendation is to level the deck so it no longer pitches towards the house. He said I should have it leveled, replace all the boards and re-stain (power wash, staining).

Contractor #2:
He says that the deck is not level, but it is not a major concern. If this was a patio, it would be a different story since all the water would come towards the house, but a deck has seams so water will simply go through the seams. His recommendation is to simply replace the boards and get it re-stained (power wash, staining).

I don't know who to trust. There is around $1000 difference in getting the deck leveled or not. I checked with a level myself, and the deck is slightly pitched towards the house. I have not had any leaking in the basement from the backyard, BUT I have had water leak through rod holes in the front of the house.

So my question is:
Should I spend the extra money and have the deck leveled (trust contractor #1) or not (contractor #2)?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 05-06-13, 02:30 PM
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Contractor #2 is correct that it probably isn't a big concern as the water has plenty of places to escape before it reaches the house ....... but the more water goes away from the house the better. What does the contractor #1 intend to do to correct the level issue? Can he verify the deck was built out of level from the get go or that the footers are insufficient and frost heave caused the issue? If I spent the extra money I'd want to know that this issue wouldn't come back!
 
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Old 05-06-13, 02:38 PM
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My thoughts were the same as Mark's given that you are deep into frost country. If the supports have lifted, they will continue to lift unless something is done. At a minimum, while all of the boards are off, I would install a 4' x 4' layer of 2" rigid foam board around each support. A little digging to get them below grade is fine. That would help reduce the frost depth. Of course digging them up and installing them correctly is also a consideration. $$

Bud
 
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Old 05-06-13, 02:50 PM
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Contractor #1 said he will put the deck on jacks and slowly lower the deck so that its level again. I think he would install new posts but I can't remember if that's exactly what he said.

How does living in a cold climate effect the level of a deck?
 
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Old 05-06-13, 02:56 PM
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The ground freezes, aka frost, and lifts the posts. Usually it is a small amount each year. Since decks are either attached to the house or the posts next to the house are protected by the heat in the basement or the ground below the house, it is the outside posts that go up. There are a variety of ways to prevent this, can you see if the posts go directly into the soil, or do they rest on barckets on top of concrete posts?

Bud
 
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Old 05-06-13, 02:57 PM
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[HR]Can he verify the deck was built out of level from the get go or that the footers are insufficient and frost heave caused the issue?
[/HR]

He never mentioned frost, he did said the deck was not installed correctly. He said the distance between the rails in the railing were too wide and not up to city code. He said kids can get their heads stuck in between them. He actually insisted that I get it all done from scratch so that its done right.
 
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Old 05-06-13, 03:00 PM
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I'll take a look when i get home tonight. I'll also post some pictures. Thank you all for all the help!
 
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Old 05-06-13, 10:00 PM
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can you see if the posts go directly into the soil, or do they rest on barckets on top of concrete posts?
The posts go directly into the soil, no concrete in sight. I took a picture of 1 of the posts if need be, I can upload it.

So I guess I don't need to get my deck leveled?
 
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