That deck was built so poorly that the entire section of railing on
side "blew down"... If the railing blew off and is supposed to be
to take weight when someone leans on it I shudder to think how
under-sized the fasteners are holding it together...
Nails are not meant to hold major structural members together, that
is what plates, angle iron and carriage bolts or lag screws are for...
Nails and decking screws are not designed or intended to hold the
main support beams and joists together all alone... That is why joist
hangers exist to provide nailing from two planes... But nails or
alone on the structure won't hold... That is what looks like is
happening here -- one post looks to be settling and it is torquing the
main support away from the deck because there aren't any true
fasteners holding it together...
Tear down this deck and build a properly structured one which isn't
ready to fly apart...
(Sorry, accidentally sent directly to OP instead of posting.)
If the deck surface and joists themselves are sound, you can salvage
most of the deck. A post at each corner, maybe a foot in, and a couple
of properly sized beams UNDER the joists to catch the weight. You can
then lose the current posts and front structure. Reuse any straight
pieces of timber from current post structure to pretty up or add
diagonal braces or whatever. Tie the whole mess together with the
appropriate bits of metal from Simpson, or similar, so it doesn't move
around or get picked up by wind gusts.
I'm old-fashioned- a joist that long should be held by more than
end-nails and a joist hanger. Everyone else talked about the posts- I'd
be just as worried about all that weight barely tied to the ledger board
on house. A second floor deck, ledger board should mainly be to tie deck
to house, so it doesn't feel like a boat at a dock when you step onto
it. It should also have standoffs or at least proper flashing, so it
does not keep the siding and wall wet behind it. Any stains on interior
behind where ledger board is?
Don't hold any parties on the deck till you get a competent carpenter
(at least) to look at it. Take a lot of photos and measurements, and the
deck guy at the Borg DIY project desk can probably run it through the
computer program they use to spec out bundles of deck materials.
I just took a closer look at pictures- the exposed joists and deck board
ends look pretty sad. Before I spent any money, I'd do the icepick test
on the boards, anywhere I could reach. If they are mushy, I vote with
the tear it down and start over people.
Don't feel bad- my deck is also in sad shape, but it is only 30 inches
off the grass, so it won't kill anyone.
To the others here, the nails that are showing, going into the end of
the side rail, ...Should they have been put in at different, opposite
angles, so it would have been harder for them to come out????
Someone showed me to do that once, and I often do, but I don't know
all the places it's a good idea.
On Wed, 2 Jun 2010 10:48:21 -0700 (PDT), utilitarian wrote:
Off hand, I don't understand the purpose of that one idea. I think
the diagonal is only there to keep the deck square.
In picture 3, it looks like the deck has gone down relative to the
post. Is your deck still level?
If not, buy or rent a jack -- I forget what they're called but they
have a big removeable handle, or the use a steel rod as a handle, that
will screw them longer and lift up, or at least hold up your deck,
while you do remove that post, lift up the deck, and reattach the post
or a new non-warped one.
You can also add a thrid post permanently, between the two there now.
Would that be in the way?
And/or, you could put a post on the side you are showing, half or a
third of the way back from front corner. But make sure it's long
enough to lift the deck up to horizontal if the deck is sloped. And
allow for the post sinking further into the ground (I don't know how
one does that. (My deck that is 30 inches high had some posts resting
on cinderblocks. I don't think that's right but that's how it came,
and since no one walks under a 30" deck, at least they're not in the
way. And I can fall only 30 inches at most.)
I don't have much experience but screws seem a lot better than nails.
When the force is right, the nails will just pull out, a little bit at
a time but you won't be able to stop it. Maybe nails that are put in
pointing towards the gap in the wood will be more resistant to that.
The one with 40 or 60 sharp bent tabs? That's not enough for this,
but wasn't a bad idea for a little temporary help.
Again very little experience, but I thought wood didn't shrink
linearly. Measure it and see if it a standard length. Many things
are build with full 8- or 10 or whatever foot long 2x8's or whatever,
whatever the standard lengths actually are.
Compare it with the other side which I gather is not having this
Simpson Strong-Tie has a solution for this. Look at their web site or catalog.
HOWEVER, the whole design and construction is questionable and some one with
the knowledge must be consulted as to whether it can be repaired or replaced.
Yes decks collapse and people are hurt. Do you want your loved ones on an
obvious debacle like this?
Tekkie Don't bother to thank me, I do this as a public service.
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.
So, since it's not possible from the pictures you posted to tell that
there's actually something other than a few inadequate nails holding up
the entire rear of the deck you're dismayed by concerns over safety???
OK, if you say so... :(
My preferred design is to place the 6x6's inside the 2x10 joist frame
with the 6x6 notched so that the 2x10 frame corner is on top of the
notched 6x6 ledge. I let the 6x6 extend up and also be the rail
post. Then when the deck surface is finished I wrap the outside with
2x12 set even with the deck surface. Then finish with carrage bolts
through the 2x12, 2x10, and 6x6. That provides a really solid support
as well as a rail post that is not going anywhere.
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