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Thread: Decks

  1. #1
    Edward Spena's Avatar
    Edward Spena Guest

    Default Decks

    It is very difficult to determine whether it is OK to build a free standing deck
    next to a building overhang. Also, even though it is free standing does it still have to be attached the building? Even the AWC isn't really clear bout this. I'll continue to research this but if anyone really understands what's actually required it would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
    Ed Spena

    NHIE Practice Exam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,243

    Default Re: Decks

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Spena View Post
    It is very difficult to determine whether it is OK to build a free standing deck
    next to a building overhang. Also, even though it is free standing does it still have to be attached the building?
    Yes, you can build a free standing deck - it just needs to be designed differently as it needs to be able to stand stable by itself. Free standing is not attached to the structure, more specifically, not attached to the structure for any structural support but could be attached to the structure in some way which may cause a problem if the area is subject to freezing and frost heaving.

    Yes, you can attach a previously free standing deck to the main structure, but ... a deck which is attached to and supported by the structure is supposed to have footings like the structure has, below frost level, etc., while a free standing deck's footings are not required to be below frost level as the deck is allowed to move up and down with the frost heave.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Edward Spena's Avatar
    Edward Spena Guest

    Default Re: Decks

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Yes, you can build a free standing deck - it just needs to be designed differently as it needs to be able to stand stable by itself. Free standing is not attached to the structure, more specifically, not attached to the structure for any structural support but could be attached to the structure in some way which may cause a problem if the area is subject to freezing and frost heaving.

    Yes, you can attach a previously free standing deck to the main structure, but ... a deck which is attached to and supported by the structure is supposed to have footings like the structure has, below frost level, etc., while a free standing deck's footings are not required to be below frost level as the deck is allowed to move up and down with the frost heave.
    Thanks for your reply. We are located in the SF bay area -- no frostline problem.
    But accurate info can be difficult. Thanks again
    Ed Spena


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
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    Default Re: Decks

    Search for American Wood Council's free online publication Prescriptive Residential Deck Construction Guide. Will tell you exactly how to build a valid deck structure.

    You can always ask the local AHJ for details...

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
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    876

    Default Re: Decks

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Spena View Post
    Thanks for your reply. We are located in the SF bay area -- no frostline problem.
    But accurate info can be difficult. Thanks again
    Ed Spena
    You can build a free-standing deck, but it needs some type of lateral bracing. Some free-standing decks are designed to be free-standing for gravity loads but are attached to the house for lateral support. When you mention an overhang, you may be thinking about the fact that you usually cannot attach a deck to an overhang because the vertical loads from the deck may overload the overhang (i.e. cantilever). Can you attach the deck to an overhang to handle the lateral loads? Probably, but every case is difference. Being in SF (seismic concerns) and building a deck that probably does not meet prescriptive requirements means that you should consult an engineer to design the deck (assuming that the local building department does not have prescriptive requirements that you could follow).


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