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Need advice on adding (reinstalling) plexiglass half wall on upper deck.

Need advice on adding (reinstalling) plexiglass half wall on upper deck.

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  #1  
Old 09-13-13, 12:47 AM
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Need advice on adding (reinstalling) plexiglass half wall on upper deck.

I'm hoping someone can give us some idea's about a project we are beginning. We recently purchased a foreclosure property that features a large (430square foot) balcony on our second story. This balcony is over our living space. As shown in photos, when we made an offer on the property there was a solid half wall with large plexiglass on top of that. We loved this feature, but unfortunately the bank tore the plexiglass down. They left the plexiglass for us to put back up and it's currently in good condition. Now the problem, after removing the 2x6 railing currently installed, we found that the contractors had cut off the 4x4 posts (hidden in T1-11 wall) and placed a running 2x4 the length of the walls, inside. We would like to put the plexiglass back up but we aren't quite sure how to connect new 4x4 pieces onto existing 4x4's hidden behind the wall. We cannot get to the bottom of it, as it's anchored into the "floor" below with no access. We can't "sister" another 4x4 to the existing post, because that will throw off our measurement's for the plexiglass lengths, as they are already done to measure from post placement to post placement. Currently, they have installed a 2x6 railing on top of the T1-11 half wall. We thought the easiest way to do this was to mount new 4x4 posts (about 3 1/2 feet) to the 2x6 with some type of mounting brackets, base posts or something. Could anyone give some advice about the best way to join some 4x4 posts to this 2x6 railing, or if there is a better way? I've included a few photos....one of the photo's is the balcony BEFORE they tore the plexiglass part off. The other photo is AFTER it's off. We would like to put it back on, but would like to find out our options for easiest (and safest) way to do so. Thank you!!

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  #2  
Old 09-13-13, 03:15 AM
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Welcome to the forums! It will take a little deconstruction, but you can join the 4x4's back together by making a lap joint on them and bolting them together. This joint can be below the wall line, so when you replace the wall covering, it won't show. This will maintain the spacing you need for your panels.

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Old 09-13-13, 06:35 AM
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Another option, though not as attractive, is to use 4 x 4 or steel "splints" on the outside lag bolted to the existing 4 x 4. It would save the complex cutting of the 4 x 4's in the wall which will be very difficult to do accurately. Wood splints are the easiest but biggest and most noticeable while you could have steel bars cut/made at a local steel or welding shop and would be a much lower profile.
 
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Old 09-13-13, 10:09 AM
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I wouldn't lap-joint (and through-bolt) the 4 x 4s for your application. Reason being that a high wind load, blowing at right angles to the plexiglass, could well cause some of the posts to fracture, at the re-entrant corners of the top notches. Notching is never a good idea for members subject to bending, which your longer posts certainly will be.

Unless the wind stops blowing in California.

As an aside, it sounds like the bank chose to alter the condition of the property after it was shown to you and your offer made--there's something seriously wrong with that picture. Read the fine print in the real estate purchase contract. The bank may owe you a completely new wall, done at their cost and built to replicate exactly what was there when you made your offer.
 
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Old 09-13-13, 10:44 AM
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Thanks for the advice everyone! It seemed like a "not so complicated" project, but now we are kind of stuck with what to do. I'm attaching a photo of the inside wall so you can get a better understanding. Here is the real problem. Since is balcony is over a living space, the flooring has waterproofing membranes (about 4 layers) and tile on top of that. When we took the baseboard off of the wall, we can't really take off the T1-11 because the tile grout and waterproofing is up against it, almost like a shower pan. If we remove this T1-11 to get into the wall, we are going to compromise the tiles AND the waterproofing system which we definitely do not want to do, lol.

A few folks we know seem to think it's ok for us to mount/bolt the 4x4 posts onto this 2x6 railing and then attach the 2x6 railing back onto the top of wall. I want to make sure it's safe, and I'm not sure if that option is safe. It would be the EASIEST, but is it safe?

Could we mount or bolt the 4x4 posts (they would need to be about 40" tall) onto this 2x6 railing and then screw that railing back into the wall?

As far as the bank, we had a war about this. The house was "as-is" as most foreclosures are. This house had a lot of issues and the bank had put in 70K to fix it up, new furnace, new roof, another freestanding second story deck had to be rebolted into the flooring, so they had to tear up a bunch of floors to bolt it back in, etc. The problems were numerous, busted pipe had caused mold, mold remediation, termite damage on another deck they replaced, etc. After 70K, they refused to fix anything else. We were lucky they did as much as they did so we decided to leave it. I was in and out of the house while the contractors were working and we were still under contract. I came in one day and they had the plexiglass part down and I was furious. The bank refused to fix it but agreed to leave us the plexiglass sheets and gave us a $500 credit for materials to replace. Now I'm wishing we would have fought harder to get it put back up.
 
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Old 09-13-13, 11:13 AM
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I've always had trouble walking away from a fight, and if I were you, the bank would be getting a letter from my attorney, telling them in no uncertain terms that they radically changed the condition of the property that I had been shown and subsequently purchased. Doing so is illegal, plain and simple. The bank will then have the option of either restoring the deck railing to its former condition, or spending many times more on attorneys' fees (theirs and yours) and a court fight. Which they will lose, by the way. And they know it.

The foregoing is null and void, however, if local building code people had determined that the former plexiglass railing did not meet local codes and therefore had to be removed. Had that been the case, you should have been informed of it, and told by the bank that they were required by the AHJ to remove the railing.
 
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Old 09-13-13, 04:11 PM
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I understand the problems you will open up with the removal of the wall covering, and although lap joining the 4x4's in a proper way will give adequate support, your problem supercedes that solution. Directly to your second proposal, I think it would be worse to just mount the framing members and plexiglas to the top of your wall. You would have absolutely no way of fending off the wind and the wall will certainly fail.

Pursue the avenues like Bridgeman suggested, as it seems a little odd that a bank would do anything to a house under foreclosure, much less something that would detract from it. If it was a code issue, then you will be faced with the same problem should you try to rebuild them, so check that out, too.
 
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Old 09-13-13, 08:07 PM
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It must never rain there. No way would T111 hold up sitting that close to a deck around here.
Any company I know of that makes it stated it needs to be at least 6" above any grade.
How is that deck suppose to drain built like that?
 
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Old 09-13-13, 09:23 PM
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It's not just a deck, Joe. It's a combination deck and swimming pool. Deck in dry weather, and a nice pool when the rainy season hits.

Seriously speaking, though, some means of natural drainage should be provided at the exterior walls. Even in an area of very low rainfall, the occasional rainstorm would be a pain to deal with--I guess that's what wet-dry shop vacs are for.
 
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