I just had a new deck built, only to discover that one section of it isn't
level. It's out by 1/2 inch over a four foot run.
Is this acceptable and within reasonable tolerances? Or should I withold
some of the payment to the builder? If the latter, how much should I
penalize him (as a percentage of the total)?
1/2" in 4 feet is a lot. Are you sure you did not tell them to drain away
from the house? I would have.
The rest is up to you and your contractor. Talk to him, the owner, in a calm
tone. See what he says.
"Grade me not on my mistakes, but how I handle them" Alan Bown
I can't figure out what would create a circumstance with a small
section of a deck being out of level. Perhaps you should/could
tell us a bit more. Is this one large rectangle? What part of
the deck is out of level? Is this deliberate pitch to shed rain?
Normal fall on exterior concrete, wood porches, and other things
prone to rain is 1/4" per foot. 4 feet should fall 1".
(top posted for your convenience)
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
DanG (remove the sevens)
Beebo... some good news.
A deck is "not" supposed to be level. I've built a ton of decks over
the last 30 years and the rule of thumb is they "must slope away"
from your house.
A deck is an outdoor extension of your indoor living space, and NEEDS
to slope away from the house to allow any water that collects on the
deck to drain away from the house and the foundation of your home.
The amount of slope / angle varies between builder but 1/2" over four
feet is too radical for my taste. The reason is... if your deck
"really does" drop 1/2" every four feet you will physically be
able detect the slope. In other words, if you have your back to the
house while standing on the deck, you will be aware that your toes are
lower than your heels. Like you're walking down an incline.
Here's the deal. At a minimum, the slope should be at least 1" of
slope (drop) for every 15 feet of deck. Among deck builders most follow
a rule of 1/4" for every 4 feet of deck. Just food for thought;
according to Illinois Code, exterior decks require a minimum is 1"
per every 10 feet! (Which equates to 1/2" every five feet.)
Before panicing, your best bet is to double check the "overall" slope
before calling your builder. The easiest way is to use a line level (a
string with a string bubble level)
String level example:
Secure one end of the string to your deck at the house. Stretch the
other end of the string to the edge of your deck. Raise the string
until the bubble is level then measure how far the string is above the
surface of the deck. You can then divide the deck distance by the
height the string is above your deck to calculate your overall drop per
foot. (You can get a bubble level for a dollar at Home Depport)
Like SQlit suggested... approach your deck builder calmly and
professionally. The reason for saying this is if the deck is out of
tolerance, if you push too hard, rather than fix it he could push back
saying the drop is within his tolerances.
Just FYI... I build all my decks to slope 1/4" for every four feet.
Hope this helps
So the rest of the deck is level, But one section is not. If the contractor
was going for lvel he has a small problem if he is going for a slope he has
a big problem. Slope is better for water, water sitting on the deck is not
good it will shorten the woods life ( if you used wood)
The deck should slope away from the house wall.
If one area is out of line with the rest of the deck then point it out
to the builder and see if he will rectify it.
If it is on an outside corner you need to be sure that the support post
is not subject to heaving/settling when wet.
On 1 Jan 2006 14:49:28 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
This isn't hard to do is it? (having said that, how would one do it?)
Should one wait a couple or a few months before final adjustment? So
the soil or anyhting else involved can set. I have no experience,
but even if the soil had say for millions of years, doesn't digging
the hole for the post end up stirring up a thin layer of soil and rock
in the bottom of the post holes?
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let
me know if you have posted also.
this can probably be adjusted where the band is fastened to the post,
maybe even adjust the band at two posts...
but like someone else said, a contractor is allowed to correct his
mistakes in the eyes of the law, not to mention, if you had to put a
level on it to determine this mistake...then just enjoy the deck...
im sure you will not be suprised by this, but it is very common for a
house to be out of level
i've seen as much as 1" in a 50' span...no that doesn't sound like a
lot for a house, but during construction that one inch will keep
showing up until something is cheated back.
Oh no... I DID notice that the deck looked crooked while he was still
framing! The contractor took out his level, placed it exactly where I
pointed, looked me right in the eye and said it was perfectly level.
A few days later, I said it again, and he said it was an 'optical
illusion', because it is perfectly level
Finally, On Saturday, my curiousity got the better of me and I checked for
myself.... and it is out 1/2 over four feet.
This is why I'm so pissed off... he looked me right in the eye and lied
I really don't think that it's practical to correct the problem now, as he
would have to dismantle the deck to do so. But I do think he should adjust
the price somewhat.
By the way, the deck cost $9,900. When you're paying that kind of money,
the deck should be near perfect.
Even if you only paid $1,500... the deck should be perfect.
FYI: The problem "CAN" be fixed! The issue is whether or not you're
willing to push it.
NOTE: We (contractors) depend on referrals. If he fixes it, then he can
rest assured other perspective deck owners can get a positive referral
from you... (as well as other homeowners in your area). If he doesn't
want to fix it, whenever any one you know is looking to build a new
deck... tell them "not" to use your contractor.
To give your builder the benefit of the doubt, it's posible his level
is out of wack. It happended to me about 10 years ago and I had to
re-hand a set of french doors.
As him to come back and recheck using a different level.
Last spring I completed a 65' deck with twin octagons at opposite ends.
The customer pointed out that "one" side of "one" octagon was
longer than the other sides. (i.e., one side out of 16)
Although it wasn't really noticeable, they were right, one side was
longer than all the other sides by one and a half inches. I figured out
where my framer made the error. To fix it would require that I rip out
two deck sections set a new corner post to correct it. Yikes! (First
time I ever had a customer measure the sides of my octagons) Anyway, I
offered them a credit of $750. They said they didn't want money.
Oh well, it took me a half a day to correct, plus material. I made the
framer who screwed up fix for no pay. (it was either that or he could
find another job
In the end... I got a lot of good referrals out of the job.
I spoke to the contractor yesterda, and he got pretty upset. (I know he was
more upset at himself than at me). But he agreed to repair it.
He even called today and apologized for getting mad. He said he was
frustrated that he would have made such an error.
He'll be here tomorrow for the repairs.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.