NEED HELP with a large free-standing multi-level deck!

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Old 07-30-13, 09:04 AM
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NEED HELP with a large free-standing multi-level deck!

Well, this is my first post here, but I've already managed to find a wealth of informtion here. I'm sorry if this gets a little lengthy but I might as well explain myself now in case there are questions later.

Here is my dilemma. I volunteered my time to rebuild my City's archery range, and everything has gone great up until now. I'm nearly finished with the project but I've got one last thing standing in front of me, a 16ft tall shooting platform. Now I've never built a deck, but I am pretty handy, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I've planned and designed the entire thing, and am overbuilding it so that it can withstand years of abuse.

Because of its height, I decided to build a landing platform at 8ft (4x8 dimensions) to use two stair runs instead of one really really long run. The main platform will be supported by new power poles that I purchased from a local utility company. They have already set the posts for me, which made my life much easier. With that said, here is my question.

What is the best way to support the the landing platform? I live in North Dakota, so the frost line is a big factor. I would love the stability that a 4x4 post would provide if it were set 4ft down in concrete, but I'm concerned about the durability and rotting that will occur over time. I decided to pour 4ft footings and use a bracket to attach the post to the footings, but now my question is how sturdy will that be? Is it going to be stable on those brackets at that height?

Thanks,

Ryan
 
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Old 07-30-13, 09:47 AM
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Not very sturdy at all. The bracket is designed to hold the post to the concrete in that spot. The rest is up to you. Those 4x4s will most likely be there when we are all dead and gone but you will need some cross bracing from post to post in order to keep it square and stable. On one side, where the stairs rise up to the platform, the stringers will help stabilize the platform if they are attached firmly to the ground (more brackets & concrete). You could also run a beam from the 4x4 to the utility post to help tie that together.
Do you have a drawing of what you plan to do? Let's see.
 
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Old 07-30-13, 10:03 AM
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Name:  deck.JPG
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This is basically what I'll be building. The only differences are that I'll be using utility poles for the main platform, 4x4 supports under the steps, and four 4x4 posts to support the landing platform.
 
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Old 07-30-13, 10:44 AM
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I'm getting a little concerned about what kind of liability you would be opening yourself up to on this....

I know, not what you asked.
 
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Old 07-30-13, 10:54 AM
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I appreciate the concern, but I'll have a few experienced people assisting with this part of the project. I have experience in the general construction of decks, but not enough on the technical side. What is the best way to secure the 4x4 posts to the ground? Am I better off just putting them 4ft down in concrete and hope that they last?
 
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Old 07-30-13, 11:19 AM
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Now you guys got me worried. The "professionals" at Lowes thought the footings would be the best option to extend the life of the stand, but it's clearly not the safest. Like I said before, the main platform will be supported by four 12in power poles (the deck is only 10x8). What should I use to support the 8ft (4x8 dimensions) landing platform? All I really need to know is what to use for this part of the deck. The rest of it is designed to last.
 
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Old 07-30-13, 01:27 PM
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After researching this topic quite extensively, I've decided to use 6x6 posts set on footings for the landing. What are everyone's thoughts on the use of knee braces to prevent sway, versus "X" braces?
 
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Old 07-31-13, 06:39 AM
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The knee brace will give you support but would still leave a lot of post area free to sway. I'd go with X's for better stability. Ever see how they build one of those fire towers out in the forest?
 
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