1. ## jackleg deck structure

This deck had no beams. It was all just joists lag, (not through) bolted to 4x4's. No beams, no bearing.

Nice huh?

2. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr
This deck had no beams. It was all just joists lag, (not through) bolted to 4x4's. No beams, no bearing.

Nice huh?
John,

Your photo is showing beams ...

3. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

Originally Posted by Jerry Peck
John,

Your photo is showing beams ...

I thought a beam had to be two 2x pieces of dimensional lumber fixed togeather.

How exactly do you define "beam" as applied to the picture?

4. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr
How exactly do you define "beam" as applied to the picture?
How about " that beam in the middle of the photo" ?

5. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

I had a deck yesterday so bad that I started the comment with, "This deck is a catastrophe waiting to happen" The only parts that had bolts were the railing posts to the skirt board. A set of wide and long steps could, really, fall down at any time. I've seen some bad decks but this one goes to the top of the heap; for the time being anyway.

6. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

Beam: A horizontal structural member, such as a girder, rafter, or purlin, that transversely supports a load and transfers the load to vertical members, such as columns and walls.

7. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

John,

Your thinking of a 'Built-up' beam.

The beam in your photo is (probably) undersized.

8. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr
I thought a beam had to be two 2x pieces of dimensional lumber fixed togeather.

How exactly do you define "beam" as applied to the picture?

A beam can be any size or number of pieces from one to as many as needed for heavier loads.

The beam spans from bearing point to bearing point and carries loads attached to it, such as those joists which are carried on that single member beam which is supported at each end.

9. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

I'm enlightened. I did not know that a single 2x8 could be considered as a beam.

Thanks for clarifying the definition.

10. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

Beam purpose is to distribute load between points.

Side note...
A Beam can be made of any material or combination of materials.

11. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

I've seen a few that were made from termites holding hands.

12. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells
A Beam can be made of any material or combination of materials.
What material is a beam of light made of?

13. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

A "Beam of Light" is made of Photons.

14. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

Originally Posted by John Kogel
What material is a beam of light made of?
Excited particles. Unless it part of a ham and beam casserole.

15. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

It's a beam but I do know allot of builders that only call a beam something that is a 4x or bigger. No matter what this one is called the deck has issues that need to be addressed.

16. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

You're right in that a supporting beam is typically significantly larger that the joist members that are being supported; typically a double 2x or a 4x or larger. It looks totally inadequate to me. A single 2x8 "beam" carrying a significant area of 2x8 joists typically will not qualify structurally. I recommend a structural engineers assessment. The installation sure is pretty but I have my doubts.

17. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

While my terminology was not correct I certainly did blow the whistle on this deck.

18. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

If the beem is sized properly in the pic.... then it would suffice to say that the joyist's only need be 2x2's.

19. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

Originally Posted by bob smit
If the beem is sized properly in the pic.... then it would suffice to say that the joyist's only need be 2x2's.
Bob,

Are we to presume you forgot the smiley face for your "beem" and "joyist's"

20. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

The beam in the picture is no different than a 2x8 band board on a deck that the floor joist nail to. The main problem I see is the way the beam is attached to the post and a Simpson bracket would fix that for about \$4. It looks like the beam is spanning about 4'.

21. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

The beam in the picture is no different than a 2x8 band board on a deck that the floor joist nail to
Some difference
A band board a joist nailed to one side, where as the photo shows a joist nailed to each side of this beam, thus twice the load.

22. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

It's a beam but definitely not a girder..

23. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

i see more and more decks build with the support girder strataling 4x4 posts held together with nails or few lag bolts. sometimes the rim joist is nailed into a 4x4 with is also the railing post.

my first comment is this deck never had a permit pulled. once i show the client that the deck is not resting on support columns, just nails i have their attention. I also explain that if it was proper why is the house center girder sitting squarely on a column? last if the deck is higher than i few feet i explain that 4x4 can bend and twist and 6x6's should be used.

education is a wonderful thing.

steve

24. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

If your are questioning whether the "beam" is sufficient for the load then you need to refer it out. Most homeowners do not get permits nor do the lower tier of contractors who are not good enough for remodels but can do decks.

As has been said in previous posts on this board, go with your gut, if you don't think its right and the homeowner has no documentation to say that was permitted and a qualified contractor build it, then it needs to be evaluated by someone who is qualified.

//Rick

25. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

John, "Expected framing details not observed" covers a lot of ground ... then what Rick said. The language "confirm/establish to be blah blah" are sometimes helpful.

Also, just my opinion here, I always comment on the work, not the work-er. IE, "Unworkmanlike ... blah blah ... observed"; "temporary blah blah observed", as opposed to "installed by and amateur, jackleg uncle bob should have his electrical tools confiscated in the interest of public safety ... installation observed" ... makes the point without overly insulting guilty party.

26. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

I, too, was always under the impression that a girder is built up and a beam is solid. In the IRC under beam/grider spans tables (section 502.5), it always lists the size of girders at 2-2xwhatever, 2-2x4s, 2-2x6's 2-2x8's ect. The span charts never list a single member as a girder...doesn't mean they don't exist, it just does not show single members as girders. Of course, the Code is not God and can never cover the infinite number of ways contractors or homeowners can screw something up and make us put our thinking caps on.

27. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

Originally Posted by Joseph Peake
John, "Expected framing details not observed" covers a lot of ground ... then what Rick said. The language "confirm/establish to be blah blah" are sometimes helpful.

Also, just my opinion here, I always comment on the work, not the work-er. IE, "Unworkmanlike ... blah blah ... observed"; "temporary blah blah observed", as opposed to "installed by and amateur, jackleg uncle bob should have his electrical tools confiscated in the interest of public safety ... installation observed" ... makes the point without overly insulting guilty party.
How about, "Should have his air nailer taken away" I've used that one in a report on a pre-drywall inspection. I have wanted to say, "Who brought their 10 year old kid and his cub scout buddies to frame this house?".

28. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

Originally Posted by Joseph Peake
"Expected framing details not observed" covers a lot of ground ...
Joe, does the average person reading that know what it means?

29. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

Originally Posted by neal lewis
Joe, does the average person reading that know what it means?
Hi Neil,
I use that general comment to cover many bases and then I get specific. "joist hangers appeared to be undersized; ledger board did not appear to be properly attached to the structure; flashing not observed at ledger board etc... I also include comments to the effect "recommend consultation with a general contactor regarding repair/modifications/upgrades who is proficient in the specialized field of deck construction. Deck construction is frequently undertaken as a diy project by a person who would not even consider framing their own home due to an admitted lack of expertise; yet in many ways, decks are subject to more varied conditions than the interior framing of the home..."
My thought is to alert the Client that "it's wrong", "give him a list of some of the wrong things" and he should get a qualified contrator to tell him how much it would cost "to make it right".
Joe

30. ## Re: jackleg deck structure

Contractor School OnlineŽ - Contractor Glossary of Terms
- Beam.A straight structural member that acts primarily to resist transverse loads; a structural element which sustains transverse loading and develops internal forces of bending and shear in resisting the loads; an inclusive term for joists, girders, rafters, and purlins.

- Girder.A beam that supports other beams; a very large beam, especially one that is built up from smaller elements; a timber beam used to support wall beams or joists.

And this:
RSMeans?
- beam(1) A horizontal structural member, such as a girder, rafter, or purlin, which transversely supports a load and transfers the load to vertical members, such as columns and walls. (2) The graduated horizontal bar of a weighing scale.

- girderA large principal beam of steel, reinforced concrete, wood, or a combination of these, used to support other structural members at isolated points along its length.

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