building a deck questions


Hello, I live in Southern California (Ventura county to be more accurate). I am building a deck on to my house and I have a couple of questions that I hope someone can answer for me.
1. I will be sinking footers at least 24" into the ground with brackets for 4x4's to be the pilons for the deck. My question is this, what diameter do I need to use. I will get a bunch of the round concrete forms, but will the 8" ones be sufficient or do I need 10" or 12". The deck will not be holding any massive weight (no spa or anything like that just foot traffic).
2. I've made up plans for both attaching the deck to the house and also free standing. What do I need to know in order to make the decision between the two. I suppose it would be more sturdy if I attach it, but it would be easier if I build a free standing. I'm all for doing it the easier way, but I want to know what are the possible pit falls of free standing vs. attached.
If anyone could answer these questions for me I would greatly appreciate it.
-D o n
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in

Where do you live? Do you have ground frost?
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Wow, reading is not one of your hobbies eh?
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oops, my bad.
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in reply to Don's post of:

I love Usenet. Just when you think you've seen and heard the stupidest things in the world, someone comes along and blows your socks off once again!
Maybe GoHabsGo is as weak in geography as he is in reading comprehension.
Steve
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Sorry, I have no idea how I missed that. Please excuse my brain fart.
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GoHabsGo wrote:

>Hello, I live in Southern California (Ventura county to be more > accurate).
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On 23 Apr 2007 11:56:43 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Someone else should check my figures for this, but:
If the deck is big enough for a person to get under it, figure it will eventually have around 100psf combined load on it. If it's a low-lying deck, figure 60 PSF. (It doesn't matter what you EXPECT to put on it, use the values for the most anyone reasonably MIGHT put on it.)
Undisturbed soil will support anywhere from 0 to 4000 PSF. SInce someone's managed to build a house there that's not sinking, you're probably safe at figuring at least 1500 PSF. If you're on solid well-drained gravel, double that.
An 8" pile has a cross-section of a bit over 50 sqin. and if the ground is good for 1500PSF, that works out to about 350 pounds per piling, which, for a low deck, means each pile will hold up 8+ sqft of deck. By contrast, a 12" pile will hold up nearly 20 sqft of deck.
How big is the deck, and how many pilings are you planning to use?
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The deck is an odd shape. It is about 32' long, 18' wide at one end and 4' at the other. It also covers a sloped area. Close to the house the deck is at 27"high at the edge of the deck it is 40" high. I'm trying to cut down the 40" by terrising(sp?) the yard. The plan calls for 27 posts in all. the plan i got from Lowes.com says it is 41psf live load and 10 psf dead.
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You do need to check local codes. In PA, they wanted a pad poured at the bottom of a 36"hole, as there was a frost issue. I also picked up a very useful book that gave deck plans, strength for spans, etc. I worked from that, and submitted the plan to the local zoning officer, along with photocopies of the pertinent tables, etc. No problems.
As to free-standing, I'd go to attach to a plate that is lag screwed on to side of house. More stable, and you can reference everything off of that. I ended up putting a hot tub on the deck a number of years after I built the deck, so was quite glad that I had slightly "over engineered" the deck to take the load of the hot tub.
Local code required that I build it strong enough so that if I ever enclosed it, that it would stand the load. Good idea.
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Asking for advice from people around the world is like asking what the weather will be like tomorrow. Everyone may answer, but it don't mean anything relative to where you live. Go down and check the local codes. In most parts of the area, decks would be a thing you probably wouldn't even have to pull a permit in. In Venture county, you probably need everything from soil compaction tests to engineer stamped drawings. Go to your local authorities and start there.
Just like you have already had people ask you about frost, the answers people give may not have anything to do with your part of the country.
Good luck, and watch out for that frost.
Steve
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Free standing usually dont require permits. Saves time money and taxes.
On Apr 23, 2:56 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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Call the county, and talk to the code enforcement folks. They should know this kind of thing.
Opinions from usenet readers are just opinions. The code enforcement folks have the force of law.
--

Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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