Deck help/advice/tips/suggestions needed please!


Old 07-06-15, 09:24 AM
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Deck help/advice/tips/suggestions needed please!

I'm tearing down and rebuilding my old (19x10) disaster of a deck extension that some guy did for us. There are a lot of good YouTube videos and guides online but I'm confused about certain things. Here's what I'm currently working with. I guess I'll list 'em off just to give you an idea:

1)What size should my posts be? I see 4x4 or 6x6 commonly listed, with 6x6 being seemingly preferable.

2)Is there a recommended size for beams/joists/headers/etc?

3)What's the proper way to set up the posts? I see people digging them, filling with cement partly, then putting the post in, and filling with gravel. Or using tubes which are filled with cement and connected to the post with a fastener.

4)How far away from my house should the posts be? I used a designer tool online and it told me the amount of posts I need (just 6), and their spacing, but not the distance from the house.

5)I've seen some people used notched posts and some use flush posts for the beam installation. Which is preferred?

6)Is there a preferred method for fastening the beams to the posts? I've seen carriage bolts commonly used.

7)How do I know if I need to sister beams and stuff like that?

8)Are beams connected to the headers/joists by only hurricane ties? That seems kind of insufficient. In my mind it seems like I'll have posts/beams and then joists/everything else just kind of resting on there.

9)Can I reuse the posts I have (would require flush mounting for the beams)?

Well...that's all I've got for now. Hopefully I can get this all sorted out. It's a really simple deck, and I dont think it should be too difficult to build, but I just want to make sure I do it all correctly. I really appreciate all the help!

Last edited by amateurplumber; 07-06-15 at 11:58 AM.
Old 07-06-15, 09:36 AM
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1. The post size depends on how many you have for the size of your deck and the height. More posts on a short deck and 4x4 are OK but fewer posts on a taller deck and 6x6 are recommended.

2. Just search the web for joist and beam span tables. They will list how far you can span with different sizes of lumber.

3. I prefer to pour the concrete piers and attach metal post brackets to the top. This keeps the wood above grade for better life and it leaves durable concrete at ground level to better withstand a weed eater and bumps from lawn mowers.

4. That depends on your design. You can span your distances and just have posts at the outer edge of the deck or split the span and have posts in the middle which would let you use shorter beams (depending on which way you run your beams and joists).

5. It depends on your deck layout and it's construction. Notching becomes more an option with 6x6 posts as there is a lot more wood there to work with.

6. I like to through bolt to the posts with 1/2" hot dip galvanized bolts. There are also straps and brackets that are commonly used in high wind areas and I assume would also be a good idea in seismic zones as well.

7. You probably will have to build up your beams. Span tables will tell you what you need to do but it's common to have to sister together two or three to make up deck beams. But that comes back to your design. You can use taller lumber like 2x10 or 2x12 and span a greater distance. Go with shorter 2x8 and you might have to double them up to go the same distance.

8. Generally they are attached with joist hangers. In high wind areas hold down straps or brackets may also be required.

The big thing will for you to weigh the pro's and cons. Longer spans mean fewer holes to dig and posts to set. Shorter spans mean smaller beams but require more posts. There is no one right or wrong answer in most cases. You just have to look at your site and what tools you have available to see what works best for you.
Old 07-06-15, 11:06 AM
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Every question answered in one simple publication. These are the national standards used by most municipalities as code for building decks. Follow these and you can not go wrong.
Old 07-06-15, 12:02 PM
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Thanks guys! I'll check that out...seems like an awesome resource. I added a couple pictures and revised the deck size; I put 12x10 when I meant 19x10.

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