Can I still fall foul of this deck permit?

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  #1  
Old 12-08-14, 06:41 PM
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Can I still fall foul of this deck permit?

Hi all,

I ripped out a rotten deck, started to build a new one, and in the process, changed some concrete posts. The deck is 6 inches above the ground at the house end, 18 inched at the opposite end.

So, after a neighbor caused an issue, it came to light that I needed a permit, even though I was replacing what was there - my ignorance. I applied for a permit (my first) with some pretty rudimentary plans, and waited. I was asked for some additional info, like post depth, fastener type etc.

Earlier, I had been advised that the deck should not be fastened to the house with bolts, a new regulation. Mine is - though there isn't any weight on the bolds, the concrete posts that start 3 feet out support the structure.

Today I got a call saying the permit was approved, and I should call around to get it with $120 in hand.

My concern is this - as you will see from the pic, there is still work to be done. At this stage, I expected to be asked to prove the post depth, and have a site visit, stuff like that. Will I have to do that later?

Are the building dept people going to ask to see things that would be easier to show them now, or is this so straightforward that it just sailed through? I was told that I had 6 months to arrange an inspection.

Any thought would be appreciated.

Hugh

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  #2  
Old 12-08-14, 07:27 PM
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All good questions for your local building inspector before you get to far ahead of yourself.
A whole lot easier to ask now then to have to start over.
Can not see in that picture, you are using joist hangers, right?
 
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Old 12-08-14, 09:23 PM
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I'm wondering if they looked at/for any footing info from the previous deck that they had on record.
 
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Old 12-09-14, 03:32 AM
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It looks as if you are incorporating dek blocks. Is that temporary? Your footing in Michigan may need to be close to 3 or possibly 4' deep. You don't bury posts. You dig footings, insert a sonotube in the hole and pour concrete, incorporating a Simpson Strongtie type post base in the pour to set your post into and fasten it. As mentioned, your permit department will be able to better advise you as to the footing depth. Don't step in the deer poop
 
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Old 12-09-14, 07:44 PM
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Hi guys,

@chandler a little more info - I'm not using deck blocks, I have poured concrete into tubes, four feet deep. See the image for the tie used.

@pjMax no records - the original is too old, they only keep records for 15 years. Is that weird? I'm from a place that keeps them forever, (Edinburgh) and was even able to source house plans that were over 100 years old. Either way, 15 years seems a very short time.

@joecaption1 Yes, hangers. Lots of blocking, double up some joists, I would go as far as to say I have over engineered if for what it is.

Right now, all that remains is a few joists and the top boards on the second section. It just seems like they would not be telling me to proceed if they were unhappy with anything - and someone has been around I was told.

If they were going to have me reveal details, wouldn't it be now? I'm making sense, right?

Hugh


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Old 12-10-14, 02:59 AM
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I just couldn't tell from the picture, and can't enlarge it. Looks good and solid. If they are saying to proceed and you follow their protocols, I don't see a problem.
 
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Old 12-10-14, 03:27 AM
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Generally if something major is wrong they will attach a red 'tag' to the job/permit instructing you to stop! If they came out for an inspection they should have initialed the permit indicating whether or not it passed inspection. You can always contact the permit office for clarification.
 
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Old 12-10-14, 03:37 AM
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Here are guidelines that your building department will most likely be following when they come to inspect. http://www.awc.org/Publications/DCA/DCA6/DCA6-09.pdf

On brief review from what I am seeing, you may have issues with the size of the footings. Looks like you have 8" tubes, and for footers that is undersized. Depth is correct, but the footprint of the footer is what I refer. You also have used 4x4 posts where minimum 6x6 are called for and beams and load carrying members need to be notched onto the posts and through bolted with 1/2" carriage bolts.

Is that poly or landscape fabric?
 
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Old 05-03-15, 01:20 PM
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How to finish this damn deck!

Hi all,

sorry, I never answered the last question. A family death (my son) took over absolutely everything as you might imagine.

The stamped permit is in my hands, with a time to complete date. I am assuming that it's based on my approved plans and their inspection - so I'm proceeding.

Tell you what though, the 5/4 cedar from Home depot, the Premium one. is not faring too well. I know - big box quality, but had hoped paying for their top product would be ok. It's this: 5/4 in. x 6 in. x 8 ft. Premium Kiln-Dried Cedar Lumber-MR0510508 - The Home Depot

This sun over one summer has totally made it look like crap. Should I sand and leave bare? Coat it in some way other than my previous sealer?

Thanks!

Hugh

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Old 05-03-15, 02:50 PM
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Are you using hidden fasteners? I just don't see any in the wood. I should think it would have fared better, but you have had a harsh winter. Was it covered? I am not too sure sanding it will erase the checking. The short checking in itself won't hurt the wood, it just looks ugly. Did the end gaps on the last picture show up after winter? I would question the kiln drying process at some point with HD.

Truly sorry for your loss. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. Lost mine in 2013, so I know the stresses you are going through.
 
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Old 05-03-15, 06:05 PM
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Hey Chandler,

I too am sorry for what you had to endure, and your loss - It's not something you can comprehend until you live it.

The boards were fastened using the Kreg jig - I wanted hidden fasteners. Spaces were set using the spacer supplied - and yes, it looks like there has been some shrinkage.

I am considering biting the bullet, ripping it up and redoing with thicker boards. Worth it do you think?

Hugh
 
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Old 05-03-15, 06:17 PM
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Sounds as if it may be the best answer. Never used a Kreg for decking, but it must work. Here in the South we don't use spacers as the wood will have a certain shrinkage that we plan on. In more moist areas, like New England and Washington state, I can see using them.
 
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Old 05-03-15, 08:29 PM
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What I have found is that a lot of woods that do well for siding is not good for decking. Cedar and Cypress are excellent choices for siding but in my experience, do not do well horizontally. They need to drain the water fast.

I have used the 5/4" pine decking from HD with some good luck. I had a couple of boards warp enough that they broke the deck screws from the joists in a 4 foot section. Other than that, it's been a good choice.
 
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Old 05-04-15, 03:56 AM
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The kiln dried cedar would have fared better if it had been coated promptly. That would have stopped or slowed down the absorption of moisture followed by drying out which contributed to the cracks.

.... just reread your post - what type of sealer did you use? The wood doesn't appear to have any protection

Also sorry for your loss. I know several families that have went thru that and can't even imagine how hard that has to be.
 
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Old 05-04-15, 09:31 AM
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Hi guys,

@marksr - I coated it in my garage before fitting, using Flood Advanced Waterproofing (see pic)

And thank you for the kind words. :-)

@Piddler I'll look at that. I assume you mean the pressure treated stuff? Ripping up the 18' x 14' section is not inspiring me, but I don't want to lay a second section for exactly the same issues. What a pain.

Thanks.

Hugh
 
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Old 05-04-15, 11:27 AM
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I'm not familiar with that particular coating although I have used a lot of their CWF. It looks like maybe the coating wasn't applied heavy enough as there doesn't seem to be much on the wood. Does it bead up water?
 
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Old 05-04-15, 05:26 PM
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@marksr

no, it's just soaking in. I guess the treatment was not too good. :-(

Hugh
 
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Old 05-12-15, 01:20 PM
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Hmm, had Home Depot on the phone.

They said that the mill said that the cedar didn't need to be treated, but if it was, it should be on all sides. I sent them images showing all sides treated.

Then they told me that the Flood product was definitely not one that they would recommend, and it's not available any more. They have better apparently. I said that four years ago I would have recommended an iPhone 3 - but not today. Of course it's better now, but what they were selling two years ago was what I purchased, and what I applied as per the instructions.

They then said that the low UV afforded by the Flood Waterproofing product was probably why the boards are splitting so badly, the sun is the cause. I said "... but didn't you just say that the man at the mill said it didn't have to be treated?"

If it should be ok untreated, how can a waterproofing treatment be bad? I'm confused. :-)

And still I have no idea what the hell to do - rip it up and start again, or sink more money into cedar. Damn.

Hugh
 
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Old 05-12-15, 01:28 PM
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I'm not so sure I agree with coating deck boards on all sides as the coating on the top will deteriorate over time [quicker than the bottom] and could trap moisture in the wood [or take it longer to dry out] Hard to say from here if the coating wasn't good enough or if it just wasn't applied liberally enough.

I fail to see how any coating will cause the wood to fail! I do agree the sun played a big part in the wood drying/splitting.
 
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Old 05-12-15, 07:24 PM
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Agreed.

The guy from HD was offering to give me the phone number for Flood to talk to them about warranties, and why their product had caused the problem, in his opinion.

He went on and on about weather, climate, and a series of things that could cause problems with the wood. My point was always - yes, I do expect some boards to require attention, even changing, but big open splits is not what I expect from your Premium, most expensive, product. If so, why not just buy the cheap stuff.

To say that the coating had caused the splits - I cannot go with that.

Hugh
 
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Old 05-12-15, 09:56 PM
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My condolences to you Hugh. I also understand. My son died April 2nd this year and I'm not over it yet.

To your question about my deck, yes, I used their pressure treated "Deck Planks" and when I bought them I thought they had Thompson Water Seal on them too. I can't find out now if that's true or not. I know that stain won't stick to them so maybe it's there. They still shrank and warped. I replaced the ones that warped so bad they broke the screws holding them down. I wound up using the Rustoleum Deck Restore to cover the cracks and it looks a lot better now. I didn't pay for the good looking wood though so I don't recommend this option for you.

What I saw in your picture is that you are doing wonderful work and not cutting any corners so craftsmanship is not in question here. My suggestion on your deck is to have them give you enough lumber and other supplies to replace your entire deck flooring because their materials are not up to advertised specifications.

On another view, I would not seal all sides. These kinds of wood need to breath. Bugs don't usually bother Cedar so they are not a problem. Laying them flat will also let them drain water off if they aren't sealed on all sides.

Good luck on what looks like a great addition. Love the deer in the back yard too.

Lonnie
 
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Old 05-13-15, 04:16 AM
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As a painter, I've run into various coating warranty issues throughout the years. Whenever possible the coating manufacture will lay the blame on the way it was applied. I've seen many instances where a big painting company will get satisfaction under warranty but a small company or individual won't even though everything else is the same. There are exceptions.

While I've never used that particular coating [best I can remember] I have used a lot of Flood's CWF. It's never been the best coating for holding up to the elements but it sure does look great when applied! The newer waterborne UV formula holds up a LOT better than their old oil base CWF [not sure if they still make the oil formula]

Your pics look like not enough coating was applied but hard to say for sure without having seen it shortly after application. While it's common place for wood to crack as it dries I would not expect that from kiln dried wood. Wood that isn't sufficiently protected by a coating will expand/contract with moisture changes but I wouldn't think it would crack to that extent.


Piddler, TWS is generally short lived. Stains don't like to adhere to any fresh TWS and many stains have a recoat window and coatings applied past that window won't adhere correctly [unless the weather has worn that coating down] Often pressure washing will remove TWS allowing you to stain the wood.
 
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Old 05-13-15, 09:45 PM
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Thank you marksr, you are right. I did pressure wash the deck before I put on the Deck Restore. It's been a year now since my wife painted it on and it still looks great.
 
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Old 05-14-15, 09:04 AM
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@ Piddler - I am so sorry. April is so close. For me it was December, and I still can't get through a day without falling apart. I wonder if that will ever change.

Thanks for the reply, and the kind words. :-)

@ Marksr - also, thanks for the reply, useful information.

So I wrote to Home Depot and listed the points that were troubling me, asking for a response. Below is their reply to each question that I raised. The questions are in bold, replies below.


1. The man from the timber mill told you that the wood should be treated on all sides, but, it could be left untreated if I wanted, though it would “age” more.

Gary in Blue Linx sales department explained that naturally, cedar grays and without putting a heavier oil based urethane or similar product will not retain the red color. Weather especially here in Michigan can expedite the aging process, direct sunlight, and heavy amounts of moisture (almost 23 ft. of snow this past winter). This includes small cracks that are not uncommon in the boards. In some cases depending on the natural veining of the boards, the splits may occur towards the ends of boards.

2. The application of the Flood product FLD150-0006/CWF-UV5, in your opinion as we discussed, is what has caused the severe cracking to the cedar boards.

The product you used was listed for low UV protection, specifically I stated that the product would not hold up against large amounts of direct sunlight( Northern exposure) which could cause the flaking and aging of the wood as seen in the pictures. I did suggest contacting Flood directly to ask them the technical questions regarding their product lines that may work in direct sunlight and not cause your current condition.

3. From our conversation, it would seem that the performance of my Premium Cedar boards, SKU #167055 (and longer lengths) is deemed as acceptable.

Cedar is a natural wood product. Cut, milled and kiln dried. Weather, sunlight, and applications can effect how the wood reacts in its environment. I did suggest and offered the mill sales department information again so you could ask specific questions.


4. Can you confirm that the split in the board (image attached) is within the acceptable performance expected of a Home Depot Premium Cedar deck board over a couple of years.


See above.

5. Can you also confirm that the other 18 images that I sent to you would be deemed by Home Depot as acceptable for Premium Cedar deck boards, treated with a waterproofing coating.




My last question, #5, went unanswered. Maybe I will reply and push for a response. It could be that I am whistling into the wind here, but I just feel that I should at least mage some rumblings about the performance of their expensive brand.

I was also TOTALLY unaware that we had 23 feet of snow over the winter!!! My, that should have covered my upper bedroom windows if left unchecked.
 
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Old 05-14-15, 10:38 AM
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UV exposure is hard on all coatings, some more than others. While exposure will shorten the life of the coating I fail to see how that caused the cracking of kiln dried wood. IMO they are just trying to insulate themselves from any liability. The minor cracking is normal but any of the large cracks are not expected out of kiln dried wood unless damage was done to them during the nailing process.

I grew up in michigan and do remember a winter [maybe early 60's] where the snow fall reached my 2nd floor bed rm window .... but it was a terraced lot with a snow drift accumulating between the house and a retaining wall.
 
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Old 05-14-15, 12:23 PM
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lol, yes, 23 feet is quite a lot of snow. According to what I just found, Ann Arbor had 57 inches.

The splitting is well away from the fixings - all fixings are on the side using a Kreg jig, holes pre drilled.

I have asked them to answer my last question - lets see what they are prepared to put in writing. I'll be surprised if the say that the current situation is perfectly acceptable.

Hugh
 
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Old 06-11-15, 12:13 PM
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done!

Well gentlemen,

I decided to stick with the cedar I used for phase one - and have now completed phase two.

Thus time I used a semi transparent coating from Sherwin Williams - all I have to do is figure out how to bring the two year old wood back to new condition so I can match it.

My first deck - happy with it!

Thanks for all you help and advice. :-)

Hugh

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Old 06-11-15, 01:28 PM
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Washing the old wood with a bleach/water solution should lighten it up enough where it will be a close match once stained. If you don't want to use bleach a deck brightner will do the same thing. It won't be a perfect match because it's next to impossible to get the weathered wood to look freshly milled.
 
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Old 06-11-15, 03:16 PM
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Hey,

thanks for the info.

Though the wood is two years old, it looks a lot older. I had wondered if a power wash would lighten it, or maybe a big sander. Or a wash and sand!

Is that something you would consider?

Hugh
 
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Old 06-11-15, 04:27 PM
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It's always best to clean the wood before you stain it! They sell a wood brightner to use after the deck has been cleaned but I've always had good results with just using a bleach/water solution [never stronger than 50%]
 
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Old 06-11-15, 05:05 PM
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I'll give it a go. Thanks.

Strangely, the title of this thread tells that it was originally about my concerns over the permit - and look what was found a little while ago, tucked into our doorwall.

Hugh

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Old 06-12-15, 03:29 AM
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Those green tags are a lot better than the red ones
 
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Old 06-12-15, 06:35 AM
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Absolutely.

Now I need to go bug the city about other little projects. :-)
 
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Old 06-12-15, 06:47 AM
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Actually, let me be a nuisance once more. :-)

At it's highest point, my deck is 21 inches off the ground. At that point, I may add a couple of steps.

I also considered whether I would add a railing at some point - not sure.

Will this mean amendment to the original plans, or a new permit, or would that be a waste of time?

Hugh
 
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Old 06-12-15, 10:20 AM
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I'm a painter, not a builder but it would seem to me they wouldn't have passed the final inspection if steps/railing was needed. I'd add them without getting another permit - just be sure to follow the code!
 
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Old 06-12-15, 10:39 AM
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Do you still have the same neighbor? If so, are you on good terms with him/her?

Invite the neighbor over for a drink on the deck and somehow ask him if he thinks it needs some steps after trying to get up on the deck. Putting a concrete block on the ground might convince him of the need for steps to your approved deck.

In the end, just go ahead with the steps as long as you follow the code to make everything legal and leave your permit out in clear sight. IF there is another inspector, I don't think you will have a problem since the first permit was given a short time ago and the inspector would not admit he missed the lack of steps (code violation).

Sometimes you just have to "play the game" and be a little devious to get a good condition in the end.

Dick
 
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Old 06-12-15, 03:30 PM
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Hi,

same neighbor.

I don't think they missed anything, it's only at the front end that it's 21 inches off the ground. At the house side it's virtually on the ground (see pic)

I think I will throw in a couple of steps and maybe a railing around the sides - no big deal if I ever had to remove them I guess.

Thanks AGAIN!

Hugh

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Old 06-12-15, 08:19 PM
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After seeing the photos, I can see the original deck and what appears to be a completely new deck addition attached. It is obviously too high above the grade at the outer end and definitely needs a railing and steps somewhere for safety. If anyone falls off the edge your insurance company may not even cover the consequences. I can see someone taking header of the end of the deck during a social event.

Do you have drawings of the deck when you started construction to show the addition was actually there? I couldn't see the green permit approval from your photo provided. - You may need a new permit and inspection to be legal.

Dick
 
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Old 06-13-15, 04:15 AM
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Although code won't require a handrail system on any deck less than 30" above grade, I highly recommend one, even in your situation. Nasty falls can happen by even tripping on an ill designed staircase, so your drop could have potentially danger built in.

Definitely check with the authorities to see if a new permit is needed. Stay above the radar.
 
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Old 06-13-15, 06:59 AM
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@concretemasonary The original deck had a permit, but was badly rotted. An infestation of carpenter ants required it's removal.

The two stages you see in the current pics are only two years apart - the first without a permit. I assumed that a replacement would be ok without paperwork. (it's different where I am from) The last photo I posted, with the base of phase 2 installed, was the point that the permit was applied for, covering the entire structure. The plans were passed, the inspection approved.

It is low enough legally not to need a rail - but as you say, easy to fall off of. And so I will put a rail in. To be honest, I left it out of the permit because I didn't want to complicate things for my inexperienced deck brain.

I also now want to put a cedar skirting around, and something to stop animals easily getting under it.

So here is a snap of the original, with no rail. I don't like the look of that potential hazard!

Hugh

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