Planning a Deck with Attached Pergola

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Old 09-08-19, 02:45 PM
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Planning a Deck with Attached Pergola

Hi everyone,

I'm starting to plan on remodeling my existing deck by removing it completely and rebuilding it from the ground up. The support is terrible in some spots; it's rotten; and it has an infestation of carpenter ants. The current support posts are buried in the ground (no concrete, I believe), and I will definitely fix that with the cement cylinder supports once I plan it out and get some non-pinched nerve folks to take care of the groundwork.

The primary question I have is that I would like to use a 6x6 as both the support beam (on the concrete base) and have it continue through the deck as a solid piece for the pergola. The deck is roughly 2.5" off the ground. I can't find any plans or suggestions for building a deck using a one-piece like I suggest above. Is that bad practice? In my mind, it feels like it would be sturdier if the pergola post is also the foundational post, which would also serve as the railing posts. It is also worth mentioning that the top portion above the railing will be a privacy screen as well (openable or detachable lattice sections for maximum modularity) Is there an example of a construction with a solid post for both support and pergola online? My concern is that I cannot find any examples because it's not a good idea and no one does it (or perhaps, pergolas are always added after-the-fact).

Thank you for your help in advance!
 
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Old 09-08-19, 03:07 PM
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First, I'd suggest you download the DCA6 Deck Guide, which is a free code compliant guide that can help you with the design of most simple 1 story decks. Here is a link: https://www.awc.org/pdf/codes-standa...Guide-1804.pdf

In the guide, your posts (posts, not "beams". Beams are horizontal.) will be attached as shown in one of the examples in figure 12.

Then notice figures 8A for how your beams will be attached to your posts. You must notch and bolt your beams because through bolting alongside the post is no longer allowed by most codes.

Then notice figure 11, but in your case, you want your posts to extend up for your pergola (not pictured). This is not a problem, but you have to realize that since your posts are notched to accept the beams, they are no longer as strong as a solid 6x6 and thus will not be able to resist swaying. So the structure above must be kept square through the use of gussets or some other means of lateral restraint, otherwise it will want to split your post where they have been notched, at the top corners of the beam notch). And of course, you could always choose to bolt your pergola posts as handrails are ordinarily attached. (See figures 24-26). Either way, the pergola will still need some bracing to help keep the posts plumb and prevent them from swaying laterally.

You will want to be absolutely sure when you lay out your piers that they are all parallel and square with one another. I mean perfectly square. Because your posts will be centered on them, and you want your deck to be square, and you want your posts to be square and your pergola to be square. It all starts with the piers.

2 story decks (which is kind of what you are creating by having structure above your single story deck) usually need technical specifications, and an architect is often involved to draw you up a design that will be code approved. So that's not really a service we can provide for you. You would be wise to get your permits and consult with your local building inspector office to see if they can provide any additional guidelines.
 
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Old 09-08-19, 03:39 PM
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Thank you, XSleeper. That is precisely the answer I was needing. My gut was telling me that there was a structural issue, but I lacked the in-depth knowledge to understand fully why. Sorry about the "beam" confusion. I thought I had corrected my layperson's lackadaisical usage of that term. I may come back in some time to get a quick review of what I am planning as I get it down more.

Much appreciated for sending me in the right direction! Many, many thanks!
 
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Old 09-08-19, 03:47 PM
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Glad to help, hope to see you again!
 
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