Twisting 4x4 deck support posts - how serious a problem?

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Old 08-06-20, 01:46 PM
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Twisting 4x4 deck support posts - how serious a problem?

Greetings everyone! I've come to rely on you guys to give me an unbiased opinion. I had a guy come out 5 months ago to put fresh deck boards on a 20 yr old deck which I've been told is the original with the house. At the time the posts were twisted and checked in some places when I asked him about it he said they looked ugly but were structurally sound and repeated this several times assuring they'd last several years more. I had him come back out for other work recently, but now he says those posts are no good and I should replace them within a year. My questions are:
  • How serious is this defect? Given the age of the deck, I imagine it's been this way for a while.
  • Given this deck comes off a 2nd story, is this something one can tackle on their own or should definitely seek a professional for?
Here are some pictures of the twists. Out of 6 posts, these 2 were the most notable. I apologize for the shoddiness of my camera and I tried to outline some of the angles in red to help.






 
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Old 08-06-20, 01:55 PM
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How is the deck joist attached to the top of the 4x4?
It's not uncommon for pressure treated wood to warp some or develop minor cracks.
 
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Old 08-06-20, 02:57 PM
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A bigger problem than the twisting is that it doesn't have a Simpson bracket on it. If it gets replaced it needs to have one.
 
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Old 08-06-20, 02:58 PM
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That's a good question I've been asking myself. I've been researching different methods to fasten posts to beams and I don't see any braces, nails, screws, etc. of any sort. Any ideas how it might be fastened? No bolts on top either that I can see but might be something hidden under the deck board. Could it be they aren't attached at all?
 
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Old 08-06-20, 03:01 PM
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It appears to be toenailed in your bottom photo.
 
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Old 08-06-20, 09:25 PM
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You are right - just didn't look hard enough. There were nails hidden under all that thick, opaque stain.
 
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Old 08-07-20, 05:27 AM
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So 4x4 posts are probably the most prone to twisting, the shed I built last summer has two posts for the overhang and one has twisted notacabley, but as long as they are solid, their structural capability is still good, it's a visual thing.

So the upper connection is easy, what is the situation at the footing?
 
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Old 08-07-20, 06:23 AM
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Looks iffy as well. The post goes about 3 inches into the dirt before you hit concrete (please see picture below). I touched the wood with my hand and you can see where it flaked off leaving grooves. Looks like the waterproofing sealant is worn through. I also dug halfway around on either side to see if there was any hardware connecting the post to the concrete, but I don't see any. If the other posts for the deck are in similar shape, on a scale of 1 to 10 how bad do you think this is?


 
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Old 08-07-20, 11:29 AM
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Not too bad, the footing is pretty much at the surface, like the top a simpson tie into the footing would be a good choice.

But it' been that way for 20 years so it has held up well!
 
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