Homeowners increasingly want the room to entertain. Pro Deck Builders Charleston provide a good spot for separate dining, entertaining, and living areas. If you decide to build a deck, follow the International Residential Code guidelines and local changes that apply. Start with scaled drawings to clarify your design ideas and avoid mistakes. The next step is to attach the ledger board, using flashing to prevent water damage to your house.
The ledger board is a structural component of a deck that connects the structure to the house. It must be strong enough to support the intended live load, provide stability, and prevent the deck from falling away from the home. The ledger board is bolted to the house’s rim joists and must be properly sized and fastened to avoid rot. If a deck is built without a proper ledger, the structure may sag or fall away from the house, potentially causing serious injury.
The best material for a ledger board is pressure-treated lumber, which has been treated with chemical compounds that help protect it from insect infestation and fungal and bacterial growth. It must be straight, with no splits or cracks allowing moisture to seep through and rot the wood. Ideally, the length of a ledger should be three inches less than the width of the deck framing to allow the end joists to overlap the log. It should also be a uniform thickness to ensure the proper load-carrying capacity.
During deck-building, a professional uses joist hanger brackets to attach each floor joist to the ledger board. Joist hangers are designed to hold the full weight of the deck, so they must withstand shear and tensile or compressive loads. The on-center spacing of the joist hangers should be calculated based on the joist length, and they must be securely fastened to the ledger with appropriate screws or bolts.
When the deck is finished, a metal flashing is installed over the top of the ledger and the house wall to prevent rainwater from entering and rotting it. A deck builder should use corrosion-resistant fasteners and apply a waterproof sealant along the flashing, the ledger board, and the holes in the siding to prevent water leakage.
Selecting a qualified contractor to build your deck is important to avoid potential injuries and costly repair bills. Check a contractor’s references to ensure they have the experience to make a problem-free deck and give you value for your money. A good builder will understand the importance of a properly constructed deck and take the time to complete the work properly, according to industry standards.
Joist hangers are hardware tools that support joists from below and connect them to the deck ledger board or header board. These metal connectors come in various shapes and sizes to fit different beam framing configurations. They are available at most hardware stores, lumber yards, and online. They can be purchased in sets as well as individually. When purchasing joist hangers, double-check that they are the right size for your project and designed to fit the type of lumber you will use. It helps ensure that your entire structure will be up to code. Joist hangers are typically constructed from galvanized steel, which resists rust and corrosion over time. They can be attached with nails or screws, depending on the design of the joist hanger.
When attaching joist hangers, always use fasteners matched to the specified nail or screw size for that particular connector. It helps ensure that the connection is strong and safe. Hammering or drilling the pins in straight, perpendicular lines is also important. If you whip or drill in a diagonal line could result in a weak connection.
You must refrain from improvising when installing joist hangers. Modifying the hanger in any way voids the manufacturer’s warranty and may cause structural problems. For example, if you cut or bend the leg of a joist hanger, it will not hold up to the load requirements of your deck.
To install a joist hanger:
- Please place it in the desired location on the deck frame.
- Attach a piece of scrap two-by-eight to the free end of the hanger, closing up the side resting on the deck ledger board or header board.
- Nail the joist hanger to the two-by-eight with nails that match the specifications of the connector.
Once the joist hangers are in place, you can frame the rest of the deck. Begin by installing the rim joists, the boards that butt up to floor joists, and wrap around the edge of the deck. Then, install the side joists and corner joists. Lastly, finish the deck with the fascia boards and stair stringers.
In the same way, houses need solid walls to protect their occupants from the elements — rain, cold, snow, and wind — backyard decks need posts to support their structures. Post and beam construction enables designers to build decks with architectural features like arches and curved stairways that demand more structural strength than conventional stick-framed wall framing can provide.
Posts can be set in the ground or on a footing that supports them aboveground. Purchased precast concrete pier footings are the easiest to install, but pouring your own on-site is also possible. Either way, you’ll need to dig holes and test for underground utilities before starting.
Once the footings are in place, it’s time to start setting the posts. First, you’ll need to mark each location with stakes driven into the ground. Use Mason’s twine tied between each stake to establish an outline of the perimeter of your deck. Make sure the corners of the system are square. If not, you’ll need to adjust the position of one of the corner stakes until it is exactly 5 feet from the other side of the outline (consult your deck plans).
Before you start digging holes for the posts, take the time to call 811. It will prevent you from damaging any underground pipes and helps ensure the crew that drills the holes will find them. Once you have marked the locations of the posts, backfill the soil and tamp it down. It will help prevent the bars from moving once you start installing joists and other components of your deck.
If your deck plan calls for the posts to be set outside the joists, install a ledger board and rafters to keep them in place. A temporary 2-by-4 brace tacked to the batter boards can keep them upright until you install the deck rails and other finishing touches.
If the post is to be inside the joists, you’ll use special steel framing connectors (such as Simpson Strong-Tie or USP) that fasten to the deck joists and the base plates of the posts. Because these connectors must resist the forces of expansion and contraction that cause wood to expand and contract, they must be properly installed and fastened.
If your deck is on the ground, it will probably not require railings. However, if it is above the ground and accessible from your house, you will want to build stairs or railings. It will complicate your project, and you will have to use a lot of lumber, but it can be done if you are patient and careful.
Begin by locating the area where you want to build your deck. Temporarily stake the place with twine. Next, mark the outer corners with stakes. Sketch your deck, including stairs and landings, if required. Take your drawing to the local lumber retailer and have them help you put together a materials list. Remember to include 10% for trim waste and bad boards, if needed.
Most communities require a permit for decks that are more than 200 square feet in size, 30″ or more off the ground, or that serve as a door to the house. It is also a good idea to check with your city building department and determine the specific code rules for your community.
A deck is a great place to spend time outdoors with family and friends. If you are building a deck for entertaining, consider including built-in bench seating, railings, and planter boxes to make the space even more useful. You may also want to add a grill or smoker and a table for eating or playing games.
Before beginning construction, check the site for underground utility lines and other potential problems that could complicate or delay your deck project. If you are building a raised deck, getting a professional engineer to sign off on the design is very important to ensure it will be safe and structurally sound.
Unless you are an experienced woodworker, you should hire a contractor to do the major structural components of your deck. A contractor will also be able to help you with other details that can enhance the appearance of your deck. It includes adding a variety of post caps to your rail posts, which can be made from metal, glass, and other materials. Some builders bevel the tops of the post caps for a stylized look.