Hot Topics: Deck Build Second Opinion
Here on DoItYourself.com we enjoy providing a place where home improvement novices and experts can come together to share ideas and advice. Inside our Forums, users can browse threads to see what exchanges are taking place on a topic of interest or start their own dialogue by posting something for the community to take part in. With over 250,000 members and counting, this resource is quite active so each week we highlight one of the conversations that may just help you with that next DIY project.
Not everyone is going to build their own deck. This is a DIY site, but we understand that sometimes you have to hire a contractor. When you do, you have to DIY your research so you know you’re hiring the right person for the job, and know what the job actually entails. If it’s too late for that, take some in progress pictures and show them to the Forum. Chances are, they’re going to confirm your sinking feeling.
Original Post: Need a second opinion on my new deck
Hi, I just hired a contractor to build a 16x16 pressure treated wood deck. He only put up two 6x6 posts up front and the rest is attached to the house. I know nothing about building but I don't think just two posts set up in concrete are enough to hold that side of the deck. He said he will add one more post in the middle, but I still think that's not enough. The deck is bouncing. Please look at the pictures and let me know what you think. Thanks.
Highlights from the Thread
marksr Forum Topic Moderator
Welcome to the forums!
Has he pulled a permit to build the porch? I know it costs a little more, but the inspection that goes with it insures that the work is done correctly.
I'm a painter not a carpenter but agree it should have another post. Most of us prefer the posts to be setting on a footer instead of being embedded in concrete. Also the posts should have been notched so the rim joist sets on some wood instead of relying solely on nails/bolts to hold up the deck. Why didn't he continue the posts up thru the framing and incorporate it into the railing? It would be a lot stouter that way.
I have to ask--did you choose the guy with the lowest estimate? I see a number of things that are totally wrong.
1. Joists not supported by adequate beam(s) for the distances spanned.
2. Joists over-spanned (too shallow for the length). They look like 2 x 8s, which have a practical maximum span of 12 to 13-feet, depending on the species of wood used.
3. Joists improperly attached at ends--appear to be end-nailed instead of held by steel joist hangers or resting on top of adequate beams.
4. As marksr mentioned, columns should be set on footings, not buried in concrete.
5. I suspect a ledger was used at the house, which is not allowed by most codes if there is a bump-out in the adjacent house wall, which yours appears to have.
6. The railing system he's building is not likely to be stout enough to resist a (code-required) 200-lb. horizontal force, although perhaps he'll fool me and come up with an adequate design.
Please tell us you didn't pay him in full yet!
chandler Forum Topic Moderator
As the others have observed, no joist hangers, too small a joist for that span. Must be 2x12, 16 inches on center to span 16 feet without post and beam.
Bridgeman touched on it, but your bump-out cannot without a doubt hold any part of this deck. No ledger can be attached to it and it must be supported from the ground.
No posts in concrete. Must be on footings at or below frost line and standing on post bases to keep them centered and off water.
Before he comes back with his hand out, here's some light reading for you to bone up on his mistakes. http://www.awc.org/Publications/DCA/DCA6/DCA6-09.pdf
Um, I don’t know a lot about decks, but it would seem to me, with no visible bolts showing, that the post is screwed to the joist. That's not going to hold, and shouldn't the post be under the joist?
Looks really bad to me.
All that and the rim joist should have been sitting to cut out areas on the sides of the 6x6s, not attached to the sides of them.
Decking surface needed to be at least 6 inches below and door openings. The way it is now water’s going to get in under the threshold.
Sure looks like he just used lag bolts into the end grain of the rim joist to install the railing, a big no no.
No blocking between the floor joists or where the posts are, to keep the rim from moving when someone leans on the railing.
There has to be thousands of post on DIY sites about all the damage done to homes from not building the deck lower than the door openings. I know that one mistake has made me thousands of dollars over the years.
If he did all that wrong I wonder how he attached, flashed and water proofed the wall where the ledger is.