Can I reuse an existing ledger board?


Old 06-18-15, 10:08 AM
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Can I reuse an existing ledger board?

I'm in the final phases of designing a new deck and in the process of dismantling the old one. After I pull off the existing joist hangers (nailed in) are there any issues with reusing the existing ledger board or should I attempt to replace it? The house (and deck) are only 7 years old. My concerns are that it appears the existing ledger board is attached to the house using nails (not up to code??) and removing those nails could be excrutiatingly difficult. I am willing to add lag bolts to the existing ledger to make the connection stronger.

2nd Question, the existing deck is only half the width of the house, and the house builder ran the ledger board full width of the house to accomodate future expansion of the deck, which I am planning to do now. That ledger board has been exposed to the elements for 7 years and although it looks strong and is level, the top and bottom of the board have curved slightly outward from the house (about an 1/8"). I'm not sure how this will affect attaching joists. Should I use his ledger board, or attempt to replace? Would it be okay to attach a 2nd ledger board on top of the existing using lag bolts? This would give me a nice flat surface for attaching joists.

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Old 06-18-15, 10:10 AM
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I wouldn't use a ledger board at all, his or yours. Build the new deck free standing. We can explain how to do that if you are interested.
Old 06-21-15, 09:32 PM
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Free standing is not really an option. We have a patio underneath and adding posts along the house would make the patio fairly dysfunctional.
Old 06-21-15, 10:01 PM
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Google slide hammer nail puller.Still have my GI one. Did a fair share of demo. The board would be a judgement call on you. I would take a awl to it and hit it with a good rap.Close to 1/2 inch in and I would replace. Good luck.
Old 06-21-15, 10:23 PM
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attached to the house using nails (not up to code??)
Definitely not up to code.

I'm not a pro carpenter but if that was my deck I would replace the ledger. That board is full of nails and holes from the old hangers. Now you want to add lag bolts and new hanger brackets.
I'd really question the integrity of that piece of wood.
Old 06-22-15, 04:26 AM
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Not seeing the ledger doesn't give us much to go on.
The ledger is minor. It is the way the ledger is installed and how it is flashed that is more important. Not being flashed for the past 7 years may uncover damage behind it. It should be bolted to your house. Can you confirm that? Let's wait on the pictures.

To reflect the others' comments, $30 worth of ledger for a new deck is chump change.
Old 06-22-15, 07:41 AM
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Yesterday I posted a link on decks and balconies under general discussion that you might like to read:

As Chandler said, what you will find when you pull off that existing ledger may scare you, especially since you already said he only used nails.

Like any construction, it is the foundation you install first that holds everything up. Here it is that ledger board and in addition to holding up your deck it needs to be flashed properly to prevent damage to your house. 90% of the ledger boards I have removed have had moisture or termite damage behind them. Add to that, with today's extensive use of treated lumber, even with supposedly the proper plated fasteners, they are failing. One I worked on about 4 years ago had regular nails for the lattice and they had virtually dissolved after just 5 years. If you use pressure treated anywhere, you should be using SS fasteners.

Old 06-22-15, 02:40 PM
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How many posts along the house would be needed to make the deck free standing?

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