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Top Deck Building Mistakes

May is Deck Safety Month and we'd like to touch on some of the top deck building mistakes that we've seen. Check your deck for these issues ASAP!

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  • Lack of Continuous Railing

  • It does depend on the jurisdiction for building code but generally:

  • If there's more than 4 steps, there must be a continuous railing on steps.

  • Wrong Hardware/Fasteners

  • Usage of anything BUT proper fasteners, especially in joists, is BAD.

  • No ceramic, flooring screws, or roofing nails.

  • Must use a joist hanger screw - they're extra strong & long-lasting.

  • Side-Mount Beams

  • Deck beams cannot just be bolted to the side of a post.

  • There is hardly any structural integrity to be had here.

  • Beams must be on TOP of post, plus a connector between post & beam.

  • Clearances around windows, utilities, etc.

  • Gas/electric meters & easements

  • Need to check with each utility company and learn the required clearances.

  • Egress windows can also be a concern.

  • Check with local building code.

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  • Over-Spanning of Decking

  • Composite requires joists to be closer together as the decking is very flexible. Must be cognizant of the spacing.

  • If you do 45 degree angles, 12" center maximum.

  • Inconsistent Stair Risers

  • Be sure to cut thickness of the deck off the first riser.

  • 7" top to bottom, but take the deck thickness off bottom step.

  • 3/8" variance needed for slope.

  • Ledger Attachment

  • This is arguably the MOST important part of building a deck. A substantial amount of deck failures, occur because of improper ledger attachment.

  • Again, you cannot use just any nail or screw for this attachment. You must use the proper ledger fasteners to ensure the ledger board doesn't pull away from the house.

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  • Improper Support

  • Some decks have been supported just with a beam resting on the concrete...and sometimes they're not even touching the concrete. (*cough, Kurt's first house, cough*)

  • To do it right, you sink piles, or pour a concrete pier for the proper amount of support.

  • Check local codes for proper depth/diameters.

  • Rail Post Attachments

  • Railings must be bolted on & blocked in by framing.

  • Wood decks are the largest concern and also the most frequent deck to be built by the homeowner. DIYer's may not be educated on the proper type of fastener.

  • Beam Splicing

  • Beams must be on TOP of the posts, not bolted to the side.

  • If you need a 24' span, yo9u can use 2 - 12's but they must join over a post.

  • Again, check with local code.

If you see any of these issues, do NOT use the deck and call a professional deck contractor immediately. The last thing we want is someone to be gravely injured as a result of poorly built decks.


Summit Outdoor Designs is a professional deck building company, and we always build to code. More often than not, we go above & beyond! We are here to build the proper deck so that it'll last as long as possible for you. Reach out today for a free estimate!


(816) 524-8565

info@summitoutdoordesigns.com


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