Brick Columns for 2nd Story Deck

I plan on building a 2nd story deck that is supported by brick columns. I would like to support the free end of the deck with 3 square brick columns that extend through the deck floor to provide attachments for railing. The height of the deck floor from the ground will be 11 feet. I have a few questions: 1. How large should the columns be? 2. Should there be an additional support structure inside of the columns? (concrete blocks, poured concrete, wood column, etc) 3. How would the deck be attached to the columns? 4. How would the deck be attached to the house? I can use posts that are placed next to the house but since the house is under construction and has not been bricked yet, I was hoping there was a way to attached something to the structure before the brick is layed that will support the deck.
Thanks for your input.
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In seismic zones the city will want civil or structural engineering on the columns. If I were going to boot leg it in Id put blocks down the center with 4 1/2" rebars then pour the centers then brick around the outside. Id photo graph the entire set up so if the city comes out later you have a chance the inspector wont make you tear it out...Id also leave the top caps removeble do the rebar install can be seen.
Best would be to get a city permit maybe you can get by without hiring a civil or structural engr.
attachment to the house is usually by a stringer attached to the side wall but that needs design work to insure is flashed properly etc. and will be compatible with the rest of the wall structure.
You sound a little green to be doing this without a contractor to advise you...pay the home builder to advise you..that should work.
Soil conditions are an issue also..its not totally simple. You dont want those heavy columns sinking over time etc.
it needs some quality design work from someone that knows the site conditions and the local building dept
Phil Scott
Phil Scott

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In a previous post Phil Scott wrote...

I concur with Phil's assessment that engineering will be required if you plan to get a permit (a wise choice). As for DIY, the (4) # 4 are probably okay, but if you are in a medium or high seismic risk zone you will need to add ties wrapping around the verticals. The size and spacing if the ties is partially dependent on the column dimensions.
--
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
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Thats a lot of questions.... I'll number the answers to match.
1. The width of the columns is aesthetic. However, your brick mason will appreciate it if you make them work out to even brickwork. There is a give/take issue here too. The columns are pretty tall. If you go too small, they may look "spindly" from the rear. Since they will extend to the rail height, they will be visible on the deck. Wide columns will look (and be) very big when viewed from the deck.
2. I usually brick around a concrete block column. The block helps keep things square and add some solid structure to the center.
3. The attachement of the deck to the columns is the tricky part. I prefer to have the mason leave an opening where the deck band can be inserted into the column so that it bears on masonry. This typically leaves a gap but we cover it by running a trim board (treated) around the band. Alternatively, you could "hang" the deck from the columns. This would require drilling and bolting the band to the columns and then hanging the joists on that band. The downside is that there isn't much material for attachment on a column and it could be somewhat brittle.
4. The deck should be attached to the house with lag bolts. The deck will be built after the brickwork is done. The deck ledger (band) will be bolted through the brick (and into the wooded structure of the floor system). No posts will be needed against the house.
FYI, it seems like a simple undertaking, but this is a detail that adds a great deal of complexity to a typically simple process. Don't be surprised by the cost of this upgrade.
Shannon Pate

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If I may, note that quite a few decks have pulled away from dwellings due to the use of lag bolts with fatal results, and as such, lag bolts are now illegal in many areas for attaching decks to the main structure. I usually install full thread 1/2" carriage bolts w/nuts flat washers on four-foot centers (check local code) from the inside of the floor joist band outwards long enough to reach through the brick and deck band, and then have the masons brick around the bolts. Much easier than drilling through the brick after the fact.
I agree with the others, given your level of expertise, a few dollars spent for proper engineering and oversight would be well spent in this case. A deck that high off the ground with a party of imbibed guests jumping around is a recipe for disaster if it fails. :)
Furthermore, being this is new construction, make damn certain that you don't pour the footings on fresh backfill. Dig/drill down to solid/virgin soil as needed. Important!
Have you considered a suspended poured slab over a bricked wall with large open arches underneath? No wood to treat and not much more expensive than an all wood deck with an upscale appearance that will last the life of the house. Just a thought.
Good luck!!
s
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Brick columns that could support your deck would be quite large. Most of the skinny and elegent brick coumns you see in modern construction are merely a brick veneer on the actual support structure. Burying wood in masonry is usually a bad idea- talk to your builder, this shouldn't be a real big deal for him to add to the plans- concrete footers (with brick ledges) for a bolted and welded steel post and I-beam setup to hold the deck. (You paint it with a rust-proof paint before the brick goes on.) How it attaches to the house will depend on how it is structured, local soil conditions, etc. Generally, the deck structure will tie to a ledger board or well-supported 'pockets' in the house framework, but if the deck is big enough, you may want it to be free-standing with a flexible cosmetic connection. If a bad frost or high wind heaves the deck a little, you don't want it to break the house, or pop bricks loose at the seam. From your description, the deck sounds like it will be a fancy attached carport, even if you don't actually pave under it. Don't forget to make provisions for drainage of the upper deck surface, especially at the seam with the house. Usually a good idea to hold the deck a couple inches below the threshold level of the doors into the upper floor. Hope you have a good contractor- doing this right is outside the skill set of most mass builders.
aem sends....
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How large? If bricks have a high compressive strength, eg 5K psi, you might support a 5000 pound deck with a 1"x1" column :-)
Nick
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You've had some good replies so far, Re structural design and permit issues.
But I note you gave no length and breadth spec.
But, to 'guesstimate', if the decks in a non-seismic area and not much wider than 10', you should at least use a "1 1/2 brick" (13"x13") square brick collumns @ +/-10' centers, with steel or RC structural core *essential* [eg: well-compacted concrete (1cement/3sand/3stone) fill and min 2 x rebar - right down into the footing (min 3'3" square)] for this loading at this height. I can't advise on attaching to wall-framing, but the (hardwood) deck bearers can be built into the brickwork [ full brick width ] with those ends pre-treated with waterproofer/ plastic wrapping. Make them min. one-size-bigger-than-minimum timber sections for your spans, in case there's ever going to be a bunch of people dancing around on that deck!
-- R'zenboom
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