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  1. #1
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    Default Target Rich Deck

    Lots of things to write up on this deck. Here's one I need some help with. There are some 8" Sonotubes for the posts. This one is about 40" out of the ground, and leaning in the wrong direction. The post is also leaning, which makes me very nervous about the whole structure. It is an important post for the deck support.

    Are there design limitations for how far out of the ground the Sonotube can extend? I looked on their site, and it didn't have any specific information, and I'm sure it depends a lot on what happens at the top of the tubing.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    For an 8" Sonotube-not much. That is way too far and when out of plumb and load of the column pushes the pier further out.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    I'm thinking the original builder got the house far enough to get a CO, and the home owner finished the next deck on his own. Much different style on this deck as compared to the other decks. This thing is about 30 feet off the ground at the outer edge.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Jim,
    Sonotubes are just a disposable concrete form. They provide no structural strength. Concrete poured using these forms must be designed for the magnitude and type of loading applied. Most sonotube footings for residential decks only protrude a few inches out of the ground and carry only vertical loads. The part of the pier under ground has some lateral support from the soil to help resist rotation movement and the bottom of the pier supports the vertical load. The higher the pier is above the ground bending forces quickly become an issue, if the pier is not reinforced with steel rebars. In your case its probably safe to assume these concrete piers were not designed and were poured with plain unreinforced concrete. I would write them up as a potential structural issue and let the owner prove otherwise.

    Randy Mayo, P.E.
    Residential Engineering & Inspection Services
    http://www.rlmengineers.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Those would be hinge points and it's just a matter of time before the wood post kicks out, or the concrete pillar, which is already happening. I'm taking a wild guess that there is no engineering behind this setup.

    I would use the old 4 to 1 ratio, like cantilevered joists. One foot out of the ground, four feet in the ground, as a quick rule of thumb for a deck.

    But, like Randy said, let the owner prove it's fine.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kleisch View Post
    I would use the old 4 to 1 ratio, like cantilevered joists. One foot out of the ground, four feet in the ground, as a quick rule of thumb for a deck.
    Cantilevered joists are 1/3 the span rating; i.e., minimum 2/3 of span rating inward of the cantilever point with maximum 1/3 of span rating outward of the cantilever point.

    Regarding that deck, though, looks like someone went to the lumber yard and found out that they only had 12 footers ... how to make up that other 4 feet? Photos shows their solution.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Exactly our thoughts. The posts weren't long enough, so they raised the piers. The deck construction was clearly different from the other deck and house framing.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    I flagged a similar issue about a month ago, tall piers leaning downhill on a gravel slope over bedrock. I recommended a retaining wall and reinforcment.

    Somebody called in an engineer who is a geotech. My client sent me an email, the geotech said there is no problem. Well he is not a structural engineer, so we could still call for diagonal bracing without stepping on professional toes. I think?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Jim - This is not a big issue . The posts can be tied into the house to prevent them from kicking out. .
    Wow!!

    Please post an approved method of just tying them Post to da House.
    * maybe they will give you your place back on the corner.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Hey do you think those diagonal 2x8 are nailed to the tree? Or simply the photo cheating our eyes?


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Billy - There are Code prescribed methods of accomplishing this .
    "Code prescribed"

    And the supporting documentation is ... ?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Billy - There are Code prescribed methods of accomplishing this . I recommend that you consult a qualified professional to determine which method would be appropriate in your particular situation.
    You've represented yourself here as a Qualified Professional and have given advise to the OP as" this is no big issue and tie them to the house " so I'm asking you again to tell us about " There are Code prescribed methods of accomplishing this."

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Prescriptive Residential Wood
    Deck Construction Guide DCA 6 2013
    And the code prescriptive documentation is ... ???

    Provide code name, edition, section(s), and wording (quote it).

    You've already strayed from your statement of it being code prescriptive ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    See referenced document for the information that you are requesting.
    We are from Missouri - show us.

    Don't just claim to know something (especially with your history of incorrectness and stating something which ends up being not applicable) ... back it up.

    Or maybe you can't provide it?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Prescriptive Residential Wood
    Deck Construction Guide DCA 6 2013
    Well I gave the guide a shot, and the only bracing they are showing is near the top of the post for freestanding decks. It limits the height to 14 feet though and the OP looks taller than that. And the bracing shown in the guide would do nothing for this decks problem.

    Last edited by Fred Weck; 05-09-2014 at 03:18 PM. Reason: Double post

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Jim - This is not a big issue . The posts can be tied into the house to prevent them from kicking out. If they are secured there should not be an issue. Filling around the footings would help stabilize the situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Weck View Post
    - - - Updated - - -



    Well I gave the guide a shot, and the only bracing they are showing is near the top of the post for freestanding decks. It limits the height to 14 feet though and the OP looks taller than that. And the bracing shown in the guide would do nothing for this decks problem.
    On come on you mean you can't just tie the post to the house?
    *who would have thunk it.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    You have been provided with the appropriate reference.
    You referenced a "guide", not a "code" - YOU said it was prescribed by "code", solo ... provide the "code" you refer to.

    Just because you think something is not applicable does not mean that it is not applicable.
    As stated above ... YOU ... stated it was prescribed by "code" - therfore, providing a "guide" is not applicable. Additionally, if that "guide" is not referenced in the applicable and adopted "code" ... that "guide" is even less applicable (if something can be less than not applicable).

    You are wrong more often than you are correct on this board.

    If you could be civil maybe you could learn something.
    First part: everyone who disagrees with you is therefore "wrong" by your view point - that makes 98% of us "wrong" by you - I'll gladly be part of the 98% you say/think are "wrong" because that is further confirmation that we are "correct".

    Second part: one can only be civil with a civil person, which you have shown us that you are not.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    (bold and underlining are mine so Jim can see and read what he actually posted ... instead of continuing to try to weasel out of it - it is right here)
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Billy - There are Code prescribed methods of accomplishing this . I recommend that you consult a qualified professional to determine which method would be appropriate in your particular situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Well the Troll is back.
    Yes, it was nice there for a few days while you were gone. Shame that you (the Troll) are back.

    Sorry Jerry - Wrong again . You missed the fine print.
    Jim, there IS NO "fine print" in the above ... no matter how you try to wiggle and squirm - YOU SAID (bold and underlining are mine) "There are Code prescribed methods of accomplishing this ."

    Again, I ask, post the "Code prescribed methods" and show us that you may actually know something about what you speak (to date, your posts have been severely lacking in that ... I am trying to let you redeem yourself and not look so foolish all the time ... but you keep proving that you are that way).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Therefore that document is considered code..
    "Considered code" is not the same as is "code" or "code prescribed" - which is what you stated.

    Don't be wishy-washy about it ... If you didn't mean to say that it was "code prescribed" that's okay - but don't keep the farce going ... just say you didn't mean to say that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    "Considered code" is not the same as is "code" or "code prescribed" - which is what you stated.

    Don't be wishy-washy about it ... If you didn't mean to say that it was "code prescribed" that's okay - but don't keep the farce going ... just say you didn't mean to say that.
    Jerry,

    We both know Jim can not support his position.
    *if you don't believe me just Look Here Encyclopedia Britannica

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Jerry - Here you go again making things up.
    Basic code is simply that .Adoptions to the basic code are considered code. Amendments and changes to basic codes are considered code. Considered code is the same as code.
    Jim,

    Yet again you display your lack of understanding of codes and the English language: there are codes and there are standards/guides/references/etc which are not codes.

    It is not "considered code", it either is or is not "code".

    There are nationally promulgated codes which are nationally recognized and referenced as code, but they are not applicable locally unless adopted as the applicable code.

    There are nationally promulgated standards and guides which are nationally recognized and referenced as standards and guides - these only become code when referenced by the codes and/or when locally adopted.

    When referenced by codes and/or adopted those standards and guides are code (to the extent referenced and/or adopted).

    Your reference was to a guide, unless that guide is referenced in whole by a code or specifically adopted it is a "guide" and not a "code".

    There are also NDS (National Design Standards) but these are not code either, not unless referenced in whole by the code and/or adopted. Once referenced in whole by the adopted and applicable code, the referenced NDS becomes code.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Jerry -
    Where your arguments fail is that there are other codes in addition to the IBC and IRC.
    DCA6 has been widely adopted as the deck building code .Therefore that document is considered code.
    If you want to argue that:
    ." Prescriptive construction methods recommended meet or exceed minimum requirements of the IRC" v. "Code prescribed methods" are different, I am not interested and will cede that point to you. The end result of both these methods will get you to the same place.
    The methods of bracing and building attachment are prescribed in DCA6.
    ...........Jim, regardless whether DCA6 is code, or considered code, or prescribed code, or accepted as code, or amended to the code - would you be kind enough to point out the section of DCA6 that addresses the type of concern that the OP was referencing. You indicated that somewhere within, there exists a framing/footing detail that depicts how easily this would be to correctly fix.....thanks, Greg


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Jerry - You are funny . Thank you for finally agreeing with me, even though you had to go full circle and throw in some insults along the way.
    You seem to be making progress.Keep up the good work.
    Jim,

    Unfortunately you are more sad than funny in your lack of understanding of what is said.

    Looking forward to the 31st?

    Maybe you'll get busy again ...

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

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Jerry - Your reply is so Kafkaesque you have confused even yourself.
    Zat a Boy!!
    *ya really showed him that time.

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    The reason for the long concrete piers is to avoid winter snow surrounding the wood posts, so that part of the design is correct. Because of the funky angle, I would recommend this be investigated by others.
    What they are probably going to do is drop a plumb-bob from the deck to the ground and see where the load is actually bearing. From the picture, it looks like it is going to fall outside the actual vertical support of the cement pier or that the pier is only as effective as if it was a 2 inch diameter For me this would be a Referral to someone else to cover my assets.

    Looks like a carton of milk that is getting ready to go bad...Actually I think this is to the point where someone is asking you to taste the milk, to see if it is still good, and I can tell you from experience I don't even have to taste a questionable carton of milk to tell if it is bad...it is.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Morrison View Post
    Looks like a carton of milk that is getting ready to go bad...
    I think that's the first time I've seen Sonotubes called milk cartons. Is that a regional thing?


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Morrison View Post
    The reason for the long concrete piers is to avoid winter snow surrounding the wood posts, so that part of the design is correct.
    I doubt that one. We don't really do that here. More like they didn't have long enough posts.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    @ Larry Morrison -"The reason for the long concrete piers is to avoid winter snow surrounding the wood posts, so that part of the design is correct."

    Where did that come from ?
    I've seen this on many mountain properties both Colorado and Utah. It just makes sense when you have an exposed structure like this, to try and keep the wood members out of the snow as much as possible.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Well ya don't want em gettin wet........ Obviously I need to start including this in my reports! "Serious problem noted with deck, all of these wood members are exposed to the snow! Recommend removal immediately.......


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Prior View Post
    Well ya don't want em gettin wet........ Obviously I need to start including this in my reports! "Serious problem noted with deck, all of these wood members are exposed to the snow! Recommend removal immediately.......
    So it is a good thing to have those wood structural, support members in direct contact with moisture for 4-5 months out of the year? Hell, I give up....

    This was covered in basic Home Inspector 101 I believe.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Jim - This is not a big issue . The posts can be tied into the house to prevent them from kicking out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    On come on you mean you can't just tie the post to the house
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Larry - I searched for anything to support your claim and came up with nothing.
    Jim,
    We are still waiting for you to support your assertion.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    "Somebody" has found a way to tie deck supports to a cabin; code approved? I dunno...
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  33. #33
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    Default Re: Target Rich Deck

    Since there is a rock outcrop my view is the piers are to short and no lateral support provided by earth. Poor choice for supports on underlying rock. Concrete pads pinned into rock in my view should have been the first choice. Some one (homeowner) got taken by contractor who took easiest route.

    The little bird says --- cheap, cheap, cheap

    - - - Updated - - -

    Since there is a rock outcrop my view is the piers are to short and no lateral support provided by earth. Poor choice for supports on underlying rock. Concrete pads pinned into rock in my view should have been the first choice. Some one (homeowner) got taken by contractor who took easiest route.

    The little bird says --- cheap, cheap, cheap


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