OK, I got some free time and was able to read all the responses. Wow.
I'm not literate about what a joist is versus a beam, etc, but I was
able to understand quite a bit. Thanks for the ideas. I was a little
dismayed by the high quantity of gloom and doom posters who took over
the thread, although I do appreciate the concern for safety.
I did have a licensed and insured carpenter over yesterday to look
at the deck and give me an estimate. He never mentioned anything about
the deck being unsafe as we were talking, so I just asked him if it
looked safe to him, and he said it did look safe. He said he would
add a 3 or 4 foot piece of 2 x 10 behind the side rafter, and some
bracket there also, to shore up the gap. Also would use a modified
hanger (one side bent over flat) on the outside of the gap. He was
not concerned for his safety while he would be working on or under the
I also asked about using screws versus nails, and he said it depended
on the use. He said nails were better for installing hangers, for
instance. He said he would use nails to install the new railing on my
deck, since nails had already been used in this deck.
I want to point out that the inner and outer rims ( the 2 boards in
the notch of the post) are supported by the 45 degree angled support
piece (joist, beam?) which is connected in the corner between the post
and the deck. Hard to notice in the pics, but it is there in one of
the pics). There is a notch in the support, on which the 2 rims
About the mounting of the deck to the structure : It is not pulling
away at all back there, thank God, and it is fastened using nails and
Interestingly, someone in my neighborhood, who had no deck previously,
just had one built, and they used the same design as mine, in that it
had only 2 posts, both in front, and no posts near the structure. They
just mounted the deck to the structure like mine.
My neighborhood is a long line of townhouse buildings, most of which
got the same deck as mine back when the development was built. As far
as I know no deck has collapsed. One guy did indeed have his deck torn
down and rebuilt , just a short while ago, so maybe he thought it was
getting unsafe, but his new deck has posts only in front, just like
mine, but i can't tell if he has the notches in the post.
Not minimizing the importance of safety, want to mention again that
the 45 degree angled piece does support the 2 rims, although it's hard
to tell from the pics.
Thanks again for the numerous responses.