Is new deck floor built to high?

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Old 10-04-13, 03:43 PM
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Is new deck floor built to high?

Hello, I am having a master bedroom window changed out to a Andersen sliding glass patio door. My contractor went ahead and built the deck out the proposed door while waiting for the patio gliding door to come in. He built the outside decking exactly equal to the interior floor. I wanted at least a 1-1/2 inch step down like other doors in my house. We haven't opened up the wall as yet. It may be even a touch higher than the interior floor?? He said he would frame it as such and caulk the heck out of the bottom of the door jam so no water will come back into the house. Will this be enough to keep water out? He had an existing 'show and tell' deck door 10' away with the 1-1/2 step-down but built this new deck higher?? Will there be future trouble having both floors the same height? I live in a very snowy area of the USA. This is a single story home and the orignal deck off my main living room doors is about 26" off the ground. It is block foundation. Could it be the contractor did not want to fight the concrete block with his lags when placing his ledger board? I doubt this since he had hydraulics. Everything put in with hydraulic guns. He used a heavy duty nail gun to secure the header and then he used a hydraulic drill gun to put his 1/2"x 6" lag bolts in to the header. He put the ledger header board into the wood. Should I have him lower the deck?
 
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Old 10-04-13, 03:49 PM
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In areas of significant winter weather, it is recommended that the deck be 6" below the threshold of the door. At 26" why didn't he build it free standing? Holes in your house can equate to leaks later on.
 
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Old 10-04-13, 04:29 PM
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Your right to be very concerned.
It's not even code any more to build a deck that high and will 100 % of the time cause moisture issues.
Hydraulic Gun's? Guess you mean hammer drills.
I 100% agree, this should have been free standing and at least 6" below the threshold.
 
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Old 10-04-13, 06:48 PM
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Thank you both for answering. What is the height for handicapped and wheelchairs? Is there any kind of step-down or code for a wheelchair? It can't be 6" for a wheelchair, it depth is too far. I actually challenged the contractor on the height about half way through the deck build. It seemed to me that it was higher than the interior floor and I would have to step-down into my house. I could feel this just by standing on one side and looking at the floor through the exisiting window. I have mentioned this difference 4 or 5 times and told him if any water runs back into my house, I am really going to be mad! He said he would goop it really good with caulking. I think he may walk on me if I absolutely tell him it must to lowered. Then I am stuck with a bad deck. He nailed everything with (hammer drills with a portable compressor as power plugged into 110 outside power outlet) those long nails that have the glue on them and he said are near impossible to get out of any piece of wood. I told him I wanted everything screwed with deck screws but he insisted on his nail guns. I am planning to have a wood trellis(open-air) roof placed over this decking next spring. I was going to cover the first 3' or 4' foot out with those fiberglass corigated S roof panels just for a place to tuck my patio chairs out of the weather and such in the winter. This would keep much of the snow and ice away from the opening, hopefully. I am just not sure what to do about this. There really isn't much I can do, can't even begin disassembling it because of the way it's nailed together. This new decking is 12' long down the wall and 8' deep. He king-studded the outside frame(2x8x12 long)+(2x8x8 deep). He used joist hangers on the ledger wall board but nailed the front deck frame board to the joist boards on the front of deck(he snapped a plum line so he would know where to cut them flush all the way across and then nailed his first 2x8x12 board to the joist boards. He then put the second 2x8x12 board as the facade board. Totally king-studded all the way around. To me, for what it's for, a small private deck off a master bedroom, it is waayyyyy, waaaayyyyy over built. I kind of already knew it couldn't be moved so I personally have already put up privacy fence on it. If I can get a photo through Photobucket I will post.
 
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Old 10-05-13, 01:25 AM
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Sorry, my pic won't post from Photobucket.
 
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Old 10-05-13, 03:37 AM
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Try this. You may have to try twice, as the program on this site is a little boogery. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
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Old 10-05-13, 03:59 PM
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I will try again to add photos this evening. Need to get my steps stained and some grip tape on them.
 
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Old 10-05-13, 04:31 PM
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I would have booted him off the job if I saw a single nail in a deck board.
ACQ approved screws only on my job sites.
Caulking is a last line of defense a should never be counted on. It will fail at some point.
Proper flashing and or a sill pan and building that deck below that threshold would be the right way. Not some hacked up blobs of caulking.

Jamsill Guard Door & Window Sill Pan Flashing
 
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Old 10-06-13, 12:14 AM
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Old 10-06-13, 12:39 AM
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Here are some pics. The new door is here and he will place it on Tuesday. No way to dismantle this and take it down being nailed and all? He said he always builds his decks even to the interior sub floor. Had I known he was going to use pier blocks, I would have waited to build deck after door. I, at least, wanted to get the foundation(sona tubes but he used pier blocks) in before ground freezes. If the deck level is, at all, higher than the subfloor by the smallest enth, I will refuse to pay him. If you notice, we had to put a board, 2x8, under the stair risers. If he had brought his level down 1-1/2", we wouldn't have had to give more height on the riser. What a mess. I don't know what else to do? I almost didn't have him back for the door install but I wanted him to see it is off when we opens up the wall. I didn't want another contractor to half come up on this and the height difference, so I kept him around. I used the old stairs on the new deck. The old stairs were where the juniper tree in the pot is now.

Plus I built the extra landing at the bottom. The step-down from last stair was not natural so I built that landing. Everything off because of his miss.
 
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Old 10-06-13, 12:59 AM
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How exactly do you handle something like this??? I DO NOT want another contractor to have to come behind him, how cruel to that person! How about he puts up a roof overhang on his dime?? That will keep the snow from laying right at the new door, at least. Yep, he nailed the deck boards. Kind of hard to see.
 
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Old 10-06-13, 03:05 AM
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On your last photo you say "existing deck". what existing deck? Did he build a deck over a deck? What are the two vents for? No dek blocks. Must be sonotubes with concrete to below frost line, preferably 12" diameter, and embedded post bases. What is the "cut out" for? Did he build the deck in front of the door, or just the one with the new lumber? Kinda confusing. Why a 2 1/2" rise in the new deck? It can't be that small a rise, since it constitutes a trip factor. I only count 30" to the ground, so you technically don't "need" handrails or a balustrade on the deck, but it's close.

My money would stay in my pocket. I think it would be good reading for you if you downloaded this PDF file and read through it. You will see the violations and what you can and cannot do when building a deck. It is obvious your contractor has not read it. It is current code. http://www.awc.org/Publications/DCA/DCA6/DCA6-09.pdf
 
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Old 10-06-13, 04:34 AM
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I also don't like the 2.5" height difference between the 2 portions of deck - that is asking for a place to trip!
 
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Old 10-06-13, 04:51 AM
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Oh goody all those miss steps and he built a deck over an old deck on top of that.
How does he expect the lower deck to dry out?
Why would he not install the door first, then build the deck? What to show me how he plans on flashing the area below the door with the deck in the way.
Best Practices Flashing Details for Exterior Doors

I'm sorry but that deck looks like every first time DIY's idea of how a deck should be built.
He may "always" build decks like that, but it's just not right and is going to cost someone far more at some point to repair all the future damage.
 
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Old 10-06-13, 03:18 PM
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No, no, the deck to the left in pic is new. That was all lawn and bushes under window in picture. He built that new. No other deck under there.

The 'existing deck' darker color in right of photo is the deck I personelly built myself about 15 years ago. They are two individual structures. There is a 1/2" clearance between the two decks(I said 1" above). I did not want more weight on the existing deck. I wanted each to carry themselves. So they are not touching. He said he would lay a slanted coupler there to meet the two up so no trip factor.

Not part of my problem but....
I used sona tubes (3) on the existing deck to right in photo. That deck is 16' wide x 20' long down the wall by main door. (2) sona tubes on each end settled more than an inch. I re-leveled the existing deck this year. I used a car jack and put spacers where needed.

He said that(in our many conversations) that his measurements are true. Right where they need to be.

I took a photo this morning. It is lite rain today. There is a 1-1/2 foot overhang on the main house. And the rain fall misses the first 2 boards touching the house(Amen!) For normal everyday weather here, neither rain nor snow will come right up to the door. But sometimes we have hortizontal rain and snow and it will make it to the door(wall).

I have already paid him for the deck. It's been complete for about 2 weeks.
He will be here to be the door early next week.

Problem
He nailed the deck boards down but I made him leave the first board to the wall lose. I can lift that board and take it away. I thought he would be high and when he cuts the T1-11 down the wall, cut right into the first deck board. At least, I thought that far ahead. I can 'screw' that down when finished. Through this week, I lifted that first board and tried to pound on the hangers and joist, hoping maybe I could get a small amount more depth. No way, solid as should be! When I think of more I will post.
 
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Old 10-06-13, 04:10 PM
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Those vents are old iron stairs, I took apart years ago and inset them into my existing deck by main door. I made them into 'mud grates' to kick the mud off before entering. They are completely open below the grates. God's air and dirt is below, nothing more. I did not put them right in front of door because I would have a mat there. Everybody thinks I have heat on my back deck in Alaska... hahaha! Too funny!
 
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Old 10-06-13, 04:24 PM
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I often see contributors to this forum suggesting that decks need to be 6" below, sometimes even suggesting that this is now code. There may be a city or state code somewhere that I'm not aware of, and I don't dispute that when a deck is at the exact same grade as the interior floor, that it could possibly increase the chances that the door could leak as a result. There are certainly benefits of having the deck be 6" below the finished interior floor level.

However, I know of no code anywhere that specifically says that decks cannot be at the same grade as an interior floor, period.

If you'd like an authoritative source, check out: http://www.awc.org/publications/dca/dca6/dca6-09.pdf

Their very first illustration shows a deck very much like your own, built at the exact level of the interior floor. Also, see figure 14 and figure C19, which show "code" for proper detailing of ledger attachment. Note that the top of the flooring is level with the interior subfloor. When it's done correctly, there will never be a problem with this type of installation.

Not everyone wants to step down 6" when they open their door. If the deck is level and the door leaks, its usually the fault of the door installation or the deck flashing, or both.
 
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Old 10-06-13, 04:39 PM
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Joe, Somehow, someway I was originally sold a Pella "Florida door" That's my word. It was a glider, where the sliding door was on the outside of the house, just reverse of a normal sliding glass door. The track channel was on the outside where one would normally put the burglar bar on the inside. Hope you understand what I am trying to say. That channel would fill up with ice and snow and one could not get the door opened(I am guessing. Only makes sense that the track block with leaves, dirt, ice, snow). <<That's a return reason in itself. PLUS, plus, listen to this.... Some mean person could put a block(burglar bar) in the outside channel and lock you in a burning house(if they knew to do that). What the he77!!? The guy that invented the channel track on the outside should be fired! I don't know any mean people and no mean people live on my block but just say'in! I had to return that door and order a second door. It just came in and is staged in the room now... a normal sliding glass Anderson door. It just staggered everything behind that snafu. Some young kid at Lowe's sold me that 'Florida door'(my word), with not a clue. Somehow Lowe's got a shipment of 5 or 6 'Florida'(my word) door by mistake(track on the outside). Although, some people around Anchorage know exactly which door I am talking about so they have been placing them around town. So glad I caught it while it was still sitting in my garage before the contractor could get to me. This whole darn thing has wore me out. Trying to get this done since last October.
 
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Old 10-06-13, 05:45 PM
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I agree with Brant, in that I have never heard of a "code" issue with the placement of decks in relation to door openings. Common sense, however, will take over in heavily snowed in areas. Our daughter's patio is poured about a full step (7 1/2") down from the door, but that's in Denver. Here, we always give a couple of inches, but never enough to become a trip factor. Move a ledger down too much and you will lose the rim joist of the house should you be attaching it to the house.
 
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Old 10-06-13, 06:01 PM
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I think I should go forward with the door. I don't even like the fact that it will be level with the sub-floor(doubtful) but I have to accept that. My only hope is that a future roof line will keep the snow a good distance from the door. Once door is in, I can watch it for leaks. If all else fails and I get water in my house, I will take and disassemble the new deck with a sledge hammer board by board and have it lowered by at least a couple of inches. He nailed each joist hanger on both sides too(each joist hanger has side nail holes). Not sure what else to do. I want to post about the installation of the door on another post. I am really running out of time here. I've got to stain the new trim before it goes up. It will be much easier that way instead of staining it when up on the inside wall.


Do you think I could have him cut a quarter inch off (long ways) of the lose board (at the wall) so that water finds THAT opening before that reaches the house? I know the ledger will take the water punishment and not the threshold and eventually the sub-floor. Just a thought.
 
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Old 10-06-13, 06:15 PM
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cut a quarter inch off
Nope. Let it ride. Let the door be installed. Make sure he silicones the heck out of the bottom and up the sides a few inches before he sets the door in place. THIS will be more of a barrier for you, as XSleeper mentioned.

Well, thankfully he nailed the joist hangers properly. They put a dozen holes in each hanger for a reason.....fill 'em with nails.

You can continue with this thread on your door, or start a new one in the door section, but we'll all follow you there to answer the questions, so leaving it here is no biggie.
 
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Old 10-06-13, 07:24 PM
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Thanks to all for your impeccable help here!
 
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Old 10-06-13, 08:35 PM
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To late now but this is the way the ledger should have been attached.
http://inspectapedia.com/BestPractices/Figure4-9.jpg
 
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Old 10-06-13, 08:47 PM
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Maybe it's just my tired, old eyes, but I don't see any ledger flashing in your first photo of today's posting. Also, it appears the ledger was installed butting up to and on top of the house's T-111 siding. Not a good idea, and not in compliance with the IRC DCA-6, either, if the T-111 is considered siding when there isn't any sheathing under it.

Also, simple arithmetic tells me the new deck will be 1" higher than the interior floor. That's the difference between your old deck's 1-1/2" drop and the new deck's 2-1/2" rise above the old deck. Not a good situation, regardless of how many tubes of caulking and silicone are applied--water and melting snow like to run downhill. You will have long-term performance problems.
 
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Old 10-07-13, 04:26 AM
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I've got to stain the new trim before it goes up. It will be much easier that way instead of staining it when up on the inside wall.
Be sure to apply at least 1 coat of poly/varnish too! That will protect the stain and save you a little more time
 
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