I can't get any help from the code office. They want a drawing but won't
give me the info to do it right. Well, to be honest here's the complete
Three years ago we erected a double wide for a cabin. I was informed
that I needed a rudimentary porch on the front (we seldom use it) but that
it wasn't high enough to require a railing. I believe that the thing is
only 4'x4' and 28" high. I would like to make the deck wider (left to
right, not front to back) since it's a bit dangerous getting in the door. I
would like to cantilever a new set of joists from the 4x4 to the left and
right and then, add a railing. How much can I cantilever these joists? Is
there any other consideration?
As always, TIA!
It's not their job to do the design work for you;
that's your job. You have to show them what you're
going to do, how you're going to do it, and with
what materials, and usually require a guestimate
of the cost for tax purposes.
If you ask, I'll bet they'll even accept sketches
as long as you have dimensions and the relevant
data they need to make a decision. Unless you've
already pissed them off, that is, in which case
I'd make sure everything followed the books 100%.
Hard to say what you can "cantilever" without
knowing a lot more about it. A sketch would help,
in fact (sorry, couldn't resist!)<g>. If you
actually even mean cantilevering, which I suspect
If I were you I'd check with a couple
contractors and see what they can give you; maybe
invite one over for a 6-pack next Saturday or
whatever, to talk it over.
I don't have any handy right now, but there are
quite a few sites that will let you calculate what
you'll need for overhangs, extensions, weight
bearing, etc., etc., and railing requirements,
Do NOT go on what you "heard". Since this will
affect your taxes from the sound of it (everything
does these days), it means you're in for an
inspection and that in turn means you need to
design and build it to specs. x by x wood, spaced
x apart, supported within ... by ... and
fastenings of ..., and so forth. Truthfully, it
doesn't sound like it would need much of a
When I extended my front stoop and added a
wheelchair ramp, the "inspection" consisted of
drinking a beer while we debated whether it was
technically "attached to the premises" or not. I
lucked out; they decided it was a free standing,
so no tax hit. The "inspection" in this case was
one of the guys had to drive by my place to get to
work, so he just watched me as he passed by in his
pickup. The only real problem I had with calcs
was being sure the roof snow-load was met, so I
seriously overdesigned that part of it. It really
pays to be palsy-walsy with those guys.
Probably not enough to do what you want to do.
The general rule is that a cantilevered joist which is full run and rated
for the entire span can extend no more that 25% of its length. So with out
getting out the calculator or the code books, if you sister the existing
joists you can add a foot on each side.
And that assumes that the existing joists run from left to right and not out
from the structure.
Now if you run out from the structure your only option is to build and
addition to the left or right in the same manner you built the original
structure. Might just be easier to rip it off and start over.
Please come visit www.househomerepair.com
I'd think you would be OK if you went 2' past the 4x4 and then supported
the end of the joist with a 2x6 (or whatever looks right) going back
down to the bottom of the 4x4.
Draw that up and see what they say.
Bit tricky understanding the original post!
But if reading that correctly the existing 'platform' is presently 4
by 4 feet and about 28inches off the ground? It probably has at least
four 'floor joists? Which are most likely at the very least two by six
lumber of suitable grade. This assumes the existing is not something
temporarily knocked up from a couple of ex-shipping pallets! And
presumably not attached to trailer/s in any way????
It might be possible to sister and extend those joists out a bit
further, 'maybe' another 15 to 18 inches and add supports angled back
to whatever posts the thing is supported/built on. It is totally
possible it is held up by those concrete blocks just laid on the
ground ............... we really don't have enough info to go on!
With or without much clear info to go on; totally agree that it's not
the code office job to design the job. It does sound as though any
competent carpenter could sketch up a design in 20 minutes and see if
the code office accepts or suggests changes.
This question is rather like going into a bookstore to buy an
encyclopedia and then expecting the bookseller to tell you how to
qualify for a literature degree!
Ergo; as in every business/trade you have to know what you are doing.
And to not do so one could be risking injury to those close and/or
also insurance liability.
In some countries they don't concern themselves about such things. As
a result sub standard buildings (including schools) fall down, extra
floors are added without inspection, safety features, even hand rails,
are not provided, construction is performed without safety standards
in mind and workers get killed on the job. etc. etc. So while a small
but safe extension to a porch platform is a trivial job safety is
important. Also having been in the past a little involved in municipal
matters for some 10 years there is often concern when 'trailers' which
tend to get 'add-ons' of odd sizes, shapes and various degrees of
safety are involved.
We also lived in a 35 foot single width trailer for a while, back in
the early 1960s. So while the odd garden shed detached from anything
else may get a cursory look anything near or attached to any living
unit is likely to get 'looked at'.
One other thought. There is presumably, for insurance coverage
purposes, some form of light over/near that entrance platform and/or
any steps up to its 28 inch above ground height?
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