Securing a 2nd floor deck

Hi all,
My second floor deck has taken a turn for the worse. Living in MA all the contractors seem to be taking the winter off and I think I will be needing to secure this deck myself. With that said here are the particulars.
It is a second floor porch approximately 10' length x 5' depth. The front of the structure is supported by 2 vertical beams measuring approximately 4" x 4". The front top of these 2 beams are cut out to insert the following horizontal. 3 boards (each about 1" x 12" x the length of the porch) nailed together and standing on the edge. These 3 are secured to the vertical beams by nails in the back of the cutout.
The issues are 1)The horizontal boards are leaning forward in the cutout at one end. 2) The vertical beams are beginning to crack.
Somehow I need to get additional support and / or repair this. Will some one please rough out for me the steps I need to take so that I can do this. Is there any equipment that I can rent to make this easier? I know that I am over my head with this but really believe that I will be looking at a collapse if I don't get it taken care of.
Thanks in advance, Bill
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How old is the deck structure?
Is it in the process of being constructed or is it an existing structure?
The "vertical beams" of which you speak, are they what we call posts?
The seperation / leaning of the horizontal members; how large are the gaps?
How long have you owned the house?
Can't tell from here for sure but I seriously doubt if it is in danger of immediate collapse. What's your winter usage & potential snow load?
got a handy neighbot or relative who can take a look at it?
cheers Bob
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Sounds like a third post may be called for, and the OP needs to be aware of jack-posts as an interim maneuver.

gaps?
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On 19 Dec 2004 08:23:10 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Bob K 207) wrote:

Correction (3) 1.5" x 8" boards and they are fastend along their length

It is over 8 years old.

Existing
Yes they run from the cement pylon(?) at the ground to the roof of the bottom of the second floor deck.

At the top of the left side there is a 1/2 inch gap and none at the bottom or on the other side.

Owned for 5 months.

Walked on briefly two or three times a day by the wife. Potential snow load I'm not sure of, there is no access to sweep it off, approximately 15 to 25 degree angle of porch roof.

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In alt.home.repair on Sun, 19 Dec 2004 23:15:27 GMT Bill

The roof of the bottom?

If your wife walks on it, how is there no way to sweep it off? Is she too lazy to use a broom.
I can't appreciate the details of this problem either. Willshak's advice sounds good.
Don't forget the 4 guys killed in Chicago when their back porch collapsed. Those things are built with 6x6's usually. Of course they had about 25 or 30 people standing on it at the time, and the porches are smaller than your deck. OTOH, maybe none of your problems are serious. I can't tell from here.

Meirman
If emailing, please let me know whether or not you are posting the same letter. Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
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I suggest you find an engineer who will come look at the situation. There is not enough information in your post to propose a fix with confidence.
Questions I would ask: Are the three boards forming the beam fastened together along their length? Is there a deck above the beam?
TB
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On 12/19/2004 2:11 AM US(ET), Bill took fingers to keys, and typed the following:

The cracks in the posts may just be surface cracks and they are common and do not pose a problem. As for the gaps between the posts and beams, I would use lag bolts (with washers and nuts rather than lag screws) to secure the beams to the notched posts
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The primary cause of deck failures is the attachment method to the house. This piece is usually called a ledger band and failure of the fasteners or spitting of the board have killed and injured a fair number of people in the past few years.
I cannot follow your description of your concerns. As others have said minor surface cracks are not unusual or dangerous on lumber that is exposed to the elements. I am talking about weather checking, not load imposed cracking. If you see anything moving when someone is on the deck, get more concerned, seek a professional, stop using the deck.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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wrote:

I'm sure there are some handymen in your area. I normally advice people to DUI, but you dont seem to even know the word "post". I think you better leave this job to someone that knows construction. I do believe you need some carriage bolts and nuts thru those posts to the deck framing, but I am not going to tell you to go up there if it's as dangerous as you state. Got a digital camera? Post some pics for us to see. Get closeups of the attachment part to the posts with the gap, and how it hooks to the house, and those cracks. At least that way we know just how bad the thing is.
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wrote:

I have contruction background and I can't tell from your description how serious it is. As one poster said, since you don't know the word "post" or "column" from vertical beam makes me a bit suspect about your descriptions and concerns. None the less for your piece of mind, I'd get at least two posts 4x4 inch and wedge them as columns under the beams near the corners for now and then I'd get someone with some construction knowledge (friend, relative, carpenter or structural engineer) to look at it and advise you what is needed for the real fix.
Don't bother with pictures here as this isn't a binary newsgroup and no matter how many pics you take, there is always another needed or missing to assess correctly (at least in my experience).
And I think it's common sense but I'll mention it here anyways, don't walk, go near it or store something of value near it in case of a collapse.
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Bill:
B > My second floor deck has taken a turn for the worse. Living in MA all B > the contractors seem to be taking the winter off and I think I will be B > needing to secure this deck myself. With that said here are the B > particulars.
They probably went to Florida where it's warm! <g>
B > It is a second floor porch approximately 10' length x 5' depth. The B > front of the structure is supported by 2 vertical beams measuring B > approximately 4" x 4". The front top of these 2 beams are cut out to B > insert the following horizontal. 3 boards (each about 1" x 12" x the B > length of the porch) nailed together and standing on the edge. These B > 3 are secured to the vertical beams by nails in the back of the B > cutout.
If I'm picturing this correctly relatively standard.
B > The issues are 1)The horizontal boards are leaning forward in the B > cutout at one end. 2) The vertical beams are beginning to crack.
If the 'vertical beams' are cracking from normal aging then is, um, normal. It's quite possible for knots to fall out.
Not quite sure what you mean by the horizontal boards "leaning forward". If the opposite end (at the house) isn't moving then I would guess things to be relatively normal. (I cannot see your deck to this guess may be wrong.)
Perhaps a look at other decks in your neighbourhood is in order -- compare your's to their's.
B > Somehow I need to get additional support and / or repair this. Will B > some one please rough out for me the steps I need to take so that I B > can do this. Is there any equipment that I can rent to make this B > easier? I know that I am over my head with this but really believe B > that I will be looking at a collapse if I don't get it taken care of.
If the deck is truly in need of repair you will probably be ahead to not do anything in the order of your own repairs: drilling holes, adding supports, etc., may cause more long-term damage by not knowing what to do for a proper repair. Wait until Spring for the contractors to return. ...You might want to consider a fencing company if you can't get a contractor to come out -- they might also do decks or know of someone (maybe one of their laid-off seasonal employees).
If still no go, as another respondant stated, stay off the deck if it is not safe. Also keep others away from the deck from the outside: yon don't want the deck collapsing and injuring someone walking by. If it's in your backyard where no one goes except you and the rest of the family also consider the occasional passer-by such as the postal carrier or the meter reader.
- barry.martinATthesafebbs.zeppole.com
* "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" - Harry M. Warner, 1927
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