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  1. #1
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    Angry Big ol' deck attachment

    ...so the deck was built out the back of the house, full width with the back wall and everything looked great - nice framing, posts, decking, handrails and guardrails .... and then I see where the deck beams (at 4 foot centers) are poked through the stucco wall into the underfloor space.
    Then I go inside under the house in the full sized underfloor space and look at the deck beams where they come through the framing.
    If you look closely you can see the bottom 2x4 cut out at the double top plate. The beam end is sitting on a 4x4 post, and then is nailed from the side studs (king studs?)....just 16d nails holding the beam ends sandwiched between 2x4s. There are about 8 to 10 beams sticking through the back wall of the house - each with the same configuration of cutting the bottom 2x4 of the doubled top plate and a few 16d nails holding it to the house. Whew....I says to myself. This don't look right. The framing wall of the house is compromised, and the deck attachment to the house is weak and "....I recommend appropriate fix as directed by a qualified structural engineer."
    So the realtors ask me if I could talk to the contractor who built it. Hah! here we go round in circles. No. Have the structural engineer approve it or design a fix.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Weekly View Post
    ...so the deck was built out the back of the house, full width with the back wall and everything looked great - nice framing, posts, decking, handrails and guardrails .... and then I see where the deck beams (at 4 foot centers) are poked through the stucco wall into the underfloor space.
    Then I go inside under the house in the full sized underfloor space and look at the deck beams where they come through the framing.
    If you look closely you can see the bottom 2x4 cut out at the double top plate. The beam end is sitting on a 4x4 post, and then is nailed from the side studs (king studs?)....just 16d nails holding the beam ends sandwiched between 2x4s. There are about 8 to 10 beams sticking through the back wall of the house - each with the same configuration of cutting the bottom 2x4 of the doubled top plate and a few 16d nails holding it to the house. Whew....I says to myself. This don't look right. The framing wall of the house is compromised, and the deck attachment to the house is weak and "....I recommend appropriate fix as directed by a qualified structural engineer."
    So the realtors ask me if I could talk to the contractor who built it. Hah! here we go round in circles. No. Have the structural engineer approve it or design a fix.
    There could be a few concerns there. What kind of footings are present at the bottom of the frame wall? Where is the framing tying into the wall? It looks like 2x4s laying flat. Then there is also the issue of flashing.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Wouldn't it be resting on the footing of the house, same as the exterior wall?


  4. #4
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    Rock Hill S.C.
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    In this particular case I don't see the top plate being cut as an issue. Fasteners probably an issue, flashing definitely an issue.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    It looks to me as though it does have flashing.
    Although I don't can't tell if it's installed properly.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  6. #6
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    No. San Diego Co., CA
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    In no way am I even close to being a structural engineer but I'm not 100% sure I agree with your synopsis. Was the deck constructed at the same time at the house or an add-on? Though the deck attachment is not all together conventional (sans ledger board lag-bolted to the framing etc.), is it possible the through beams are lag-bolted vertically through both plates, which would afford additional structural integrity than just the use of 16d's. Also, I would imagine a permit was pulled for such an extensive add-on (if in deed it was an add-on) and approved plans would be required. The deck attachment, therefore, would be shown, figured and ultimately approved by the AHJ. As would/should also be the case if the deck and house were constructed as one. Not saying you were not incorrect to call it out but there are more questions than answers at this point being that everything else appears structurally sound, as far as can be seen in the pics. (p.s. - anyone have any idea why I can't do paragraphs? I know someone else had a similar problem).


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Weekly View Post
    ...so the deck was built out the back of the house, full width with the back wall and everything looked great - nice framing, posts, decking, handrails and guardrails .... and then I see where the deck beams (at 4 foot centers) are poked through the stucco wall into the underfloor space.
    Then I go inside under the house in the full sized underfloor space and look at the deck beams where they come through the framing.
    If you look closely you can see the bottom 2x4 cut out at the double top plate. The beam end is sitting on a 4x4 post, and then is nailed from the side studs (king studs?)....just 16d nails holding the beam ends sandwiched between 2x4s. There are about 8 to 10 beams sticking through the back wall of the house - each with the same configuration of cutting the bottom 2x4 of the doubled top plate and a few 16d nails holding it to the house. Whew....I says to myself. This don't look right. The framing wall of the house is compromised, and the deck attachment to the house is weak and "....I recommend appropriate fix as directed by a qualified structural engineer."
    So the realtors ask me if I could talk to the contractor who built it. Hah! here we go round in circles. No. Have the structural engineer approve it or design a fix.
    Those inside pictures are of the outside left (addition/extension) to the egress balcony/deck, right? And the right side and stairs are also an addition/extension, correct? How many dwelling units or B&B suites have been sub-divided? How is the stairway landing handled/transition to grade behind the grass? Is that a 65 gal. garbage/recycling cart up on the original covered balcony? IMO those shades are an additional hazard. Guessing the 'plans' for the alterations/extensions/additions weren't intitially submitted and were (if) 'handled' after the fact. What does the 'transition" from the left side 'addition' to the older covered, lower, deck surface handled? Are the lower level open' double doors to the back wall of a garage. Is this cliff or shore property?


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Bozeman, Montana
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    91

    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Weekly View Post
    ...so the deck was built out the back of the house, full width with the back wall and everything looked great - nice framing, posts, decking, handrails and guardrails .... and then I see where the deck beams (at 4 foot centers) are poked through the stucco wall into the underfloor space.
    Then I go inside under the house in the full sized underfloor space and look at the deck beams where they come through the framing.
    If you look closely you can see the bottom 2x4 cut out at the double top plate. The beam end is sitting on a 4x4 post, and then is nailed from the side studs (king studs?)....just 16d nails holding the beam ends sandwiched between 2x4s. There are about 8 to 10 beams sticking through the back wall of the house - each with the same configuration of cutting the bottom 2x4 of the doubled top plate and a few 16d nails holding it to the house. Whew....I says to myself. This don't look right. The framing wall of the house is compromised, and the deck attachment to the house is weak and "....I recommend appropriate fix as directed by a qualified structural engineer."
    So the realtors ask me if I could talk to the contractor who built it. Hah! here we go round in circles. No. Have the structural engineer approve it or design a fix.
    Chris, Just focusing on what you mention above, I don't believe there is a problem with the assembly shown, as long as there is not a break on your tie plate within a couple feet (also assuming the treated timber used, is sufficient to carry the load). What would concern me more, is the load path of the material used to support the beams above. Based on the 2nd and 3rd photo, it would appear a single 2x is used to bear the load of the beam above.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Thanks for all your replies.
    I think it would be an error not to recommend a structural engineer to evaluate this for reinforcment. The cut section of the double top plate of the house framing seems to me to be a serious concern - the force of a deck shifting, or pulling at the wall of the house would be a structural concern because of the weakened top plate at 8 to 10 instances where the beams of the deck were inserted through the wall.

    So you also know, the house is a typical concrete perimeter stem wall and there are 4x4 posts supported on this stem wall for the support of the beam ends. That is a 4x4 sandwiched between 2x4s supporting the beam end in the 3rd picture.

    HG - the entire deck is new. It may have replaced an older deck that was demolished. The new method of attachment to the house is shown in the 1st picture - you can see the 4x6 beams inserted through the stucco wall - and in the 3rd picture is the interior view of the beam end supported on the 4x4 post.
    Not that it matters but the thing on the deck is a large decorative pot - not a garbage container.
    ...and the double doors are the access to the underfloor area. This is a hillside property (not near the ocean.

    Ian - there were no lag bolts or through bolts. Just 16d nails - a few here, a few there (maybe only 6 or so per beam end). To me, that just is inadequate to keep the deck from pulling away from the house.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Wouldn't it be resting on the footing of the house, same as the exterior wall?
    Yes, assuming that is a load bearing wall. From the photo it looked like some kind of storage area below a room and it was not clear to me whether there was a beam not shown that might support the wall. I can't seem to make out what the framing is above the wall. Does not look deep enough to be joists.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Chris . What makes you think the deck was not designed or engineered in the first place? Are there no approved plans which can be referred to? I'm also a little confused by the 'interior' photo. The sub-floor ply sheathing which is laid on top of the plates appears to be supported by flat 2x4s at 24"? o.c. but surely that's not the case, is it?

    Last edited by Ian Page; 08-27-2013 at 06:13 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Wouldn't it be resting on the footing of the house, same as the exterior wall?
    Yes, assuming that is a load bearing wall. From the photo it looked like some kind of storage area below a room and it was not clear to me whether there was a beam not shown that might support the wall. I can't seem to make out what the framing is above the wall. Does not look deep enough to be joists.

    Yes - the back wall of the house is a load bearing wall; and the posts supporting the beam ends for the deck are also resting on the concrete foundation wall.
    The house framing is a stud wall at the perimeter; with interior posts and beams at 48" centers with plywood flooring - so, no joists - just 4x6 beam support for the house flooring and the deck flooring. Different ages. The deck beams tie into the house wall through the stucco wall and nailed to the stud framing.

    Ian - The 1"+ plywood flooring spans 48" Here is another photo of the interior basement looking up at subflooring - the back wall is at left side of the photo.
    There were no plans that I could find at the vacant house and there was no seller to ask questions of......and I allow the buyers to contact local AHJ to see about permits. I haven't heard back from them yet, and am curious. Will update the board when I hear if they have an engineer look at it.

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Are you sure that's not a plywood barrier with insulation and floor joists above. That would make more sense. No way they could have framed the entire second floor like that. Was there any basement area aside from that that was framed normally. Could you see in where that waste line comes out? I didn't really mind the deck build aside from lack of Carriage bolts in the connection, and if this framing is what you are indicating, you should be having more issues with the rest of the house framing than with the deck.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Weekly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Wouldn't it be resting on the footing of the house, same as the exterior wall?
    Yes, assuming that is a load bearing wall. From the photo it looked like some kind of storage area below a room and it was not clear to me whether there was a beam not shown that might support the wall. I can't seem to make out what the framing is above the wall. Does not look deep enough to be joists.

    Yes - the back wall of the house is a load bearing wall; and the posts supporting the beam ends for the deck are also resting on the concrete foundation wall.
    The house framing is a stud wall at the perimeter; with interior posts and beams at 48" centers with plywood flooring - so, no joists - just 4x6 beam support for the house flooring and the deck flooring. Different ages. The deck beams tie into the house wall through the stucco wall and nailed to the stud framing.

    Ian - The 1"+ plywood flooring spans 48" Here is another photo of the interior basement looking up at subflooring - the back wall is at left side of the photo.
    There were no plans that I could find at the vacant house and there was no seller to ask questions of......and I allow the buyers to contact local AHJ to see about permits. I haven't heard back from them yet, and am curious. Will update the board when I hear if they have an engineer look at it.
    Never seen anything built that way. Plywood rated for 48" o.c. spacing would typically be 1/1/8" to 1-1/4" thick. I assume the whole space was filled with columns at about 4' o.c. one way and 2' o.c. the other?


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    Never seen anything built that way. Plywood rated for 48" o.c. spacing would typically be 1/1/8" to 1-1/4" thick. I assume the whole space was filled with columns at about 4' o.c. one way and 2' o.c. the other?
    Yes on all those points.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Weekly View Post
    Yes on all those points.
    The last pics have erased all doubt from my mind - that place is a disaster.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Yes, And mine , that the deck is built better than the house!


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    Is there any chance this is concrete slab?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  19. #19
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Big ol' deck attachment

    It appears to me the framing design for the deck is adequate and makes good sense. After all, Advanced Framing for "green" construction uses single top plates everywhere. The primary purpose for double top plates is to enable strong corners and intersections.

    Perhaps the concern about the scarcity of nails, the size of the nails or the lack of bolts is a valid concern.


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