Deck Framing



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Building Waterproof Roof Decks

Get better performance from your deck covering by using ‘best practices’ framing and flashing details

Best Building Practices building & Waterproofing Roof Decks
Best Building Practices building & Waterproofing Roof Decks

My company specializes in repairing and waterproofing failed balconies, stairs, and roof decks, so I see on a near-daily basis the results of water intrusion into wood framing, especially in mass-produced housing. The costs can be astronomical: For example, recently a simple $3,800 deck repair turned into a $120,000 project, thanks to dry-rot damage to the framing, shear walls, and decks.

That’s unfortunate because building a reliable, long-lasting waterproof deck over living space is relatively straightforward when the best practices and materials are used.

There are a number of ICC-ES–listed manufacturers of Class A walking deck systems (see Class A Fire-Resistant Walking and Roof Deck Systems, sidebar). We’ve installed most of them, and while installation details vary slightly from product to product, none of them will last over the long term if the deck covering isn’t applied over a sturdy substrate.


Attaching Deck Ledgers

Preventing rot at the band joist is as important as using strong enough fasteners

Repairing Cantilevered Balconies

The right flashing details, reinforced framing, and durable waterproof decking give new life to old balconies

My company specializes in condominium maintenance and repairs. In California, homeowners have up to ten years to bring suit against the original builder for faulty workmanship. Condo associations are often awarded settlements for remedial projects that can run into the millions of dollars — work that is usually undertaken by companies much larger than mine. We’re most often hired by associations that have already passed the tenyear limit, which means that the work must be paid for out of a maintenance budget. Our most common job involves repairing water-damaged framing, especially in the cantilevered balconies that are so popular in multifamily buildings here. The jobs we tackle are awarded in quantities from 1 to 50 balconies at a time. Anatomy of a Balcony The typical condo balcony we encounter is framed with cantilevered joists that project about 6 feet from the face of the building, or from onefourth to one-third of their overall length. The remainder of the joist is buried inside, an integral component of the interior floor system. A fractured or delaminated balcony surface (typically plywood, covered by one of several possible waterproofing systems) is usually the first tip-off to greater problems; READ THE REST BY CLICKING HERE

Coastal Resources: Safe and Durable Coastal Decks

All deck builders should refer to the DCA6 — prescriptive guidelines for residential deck construction — and coastal builders should pay extra-close attention to the material choices and structural connections outlined in its pages

Better Deck Piers

Part 2: Best practices for forming and pouring concrete deck footings and piers

Read The Rest By Clicking Here


Lateral Bracing for a Second- Story Deck

 By Jim Finlay

Q: I need to replace a second-floor deck and would like to avoid opening the finished ceiling inside the house to install lateral-load anchors. In Jim Finlay’s article about lateral bracing (see “Lateral Bracing Alternatives,” Jan/Feb 2014), the author describes different methods for anchoring a deck to a foundation, but none of them are an option on a second-floor deck. Do you have any suggestions that would allow me to avoid installing threaded rod into the house on each end of the deck?

A: Jim Finlay, owner of Archadeck of Suburban Boston, in Burlington, Mass., responds: At a second floor you have no foundation, but you do have the house frame.      Read the Rest by Clicking Here.

Advice on Fighting Rot and Corrosion

 By Dave Barrowcliffe

The failure of the long-term structural adequacy of a deck can be attributed to bad workmanship, design, unsuitable materials, deterioration, and lack of proper maintenance of the structure. These issues are not all addressed in the IRC and much is left to the knowledge and expertise of the builder.

As a builder well past the age of retirement who has seen and repaired structural degradation in buildings and decks over many years, I think that all timber that is subject to moisture and exposure to the elements should be further protected with a paint coating, whether it has been preservative-treated or not. READ ALL OF DAVE’s ADVICE BY CLICKING HERE


Structural Plastic Columns

Pre-primed and ready for paint or stain

Though designed to look like wood, Fypon’s 9-foot-tall steel-reinforced polyurethane columns aren’t susceptible to insect or moisture damage, like wood can be.

Woodgrain Structural Columns have molded caps, but the bases are loose so the columns can be cut to the desired height on the jobsite. Fypon says the steel reinforcement—which provides each column a load-bearing capacity of 12,000 pounds—should be cut using either a hacksaw or a reciprocating saw.

Available in   Read the Rest By Clicking Here

Connecting a Deck to a SIPs House

 By Paul Malko

Q: I’m building a house using structural insulated panels (SIPs), and plans call for a porch in front and a deck in back. What’s the best way to attach them to the house?

A: Paul Malko, technical director at Foard Panel and a speaker at JLC Live, responds: Part of the answer depends on the rim detail. If the SIPs land on top of a conventionally framed deck, you can use 1?1/8-inch-thick structural rim boards and attach the deck ledger as prescribed by the code. If a SIP rim is used, the panel by itself would not be strong enough for attaching a deck or porch ledger to. The foam doesn’t have enough compressive strength to be through-bolted.

That said, we have two ways of beefing up the outer skin of a SIP or SIP rim. READ THE REST OF PAUL’s ANSWER BY CLICKING HERE

Treated Wood Deck Framing Rules Get Tougher

A new treated wood industry standard redefines acceptable uses for “Above Ground” rated lumber.

Notching Guidelines

 By Buddy Showalter

Most deck builders probably follow the IRC’s familiar notching and drilling guidelines—no notches in the middle third of a joist and no holes closer than 2 inches from the top or bottom edge of a joist, for example (see 2012 IRC, Figure R502.8). But what most deck builders don’t realize is that those prescriptive guidelines are intended for framing in dry locations only. The IRC is silent on this topic in the deck section, and the Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide, DCA 6, only addresses the notching of guard posts.

For any outdoor, uncovered application such as a deck, almost all lumber and connection design values, which are based on the National Design Specification (NDS) for Wood Construction, are subject to wet-service adjustments (penalties). Prescriptive documents such as DCA 6 already account for those wet-service adjustments in their span tables and background calculations for fasteners, but not so for notches and holes. Joists and beams that are subject to repeated wetting and drying should not be modified unless it is part of an engineered design.

John “Buddy” Showalter
American Wood Council
Leesburg, Va.

  • Q&A

Mid-Stair Landings

  • Some jurisdictions require footing support for stair stringers, such as this suggested detail in the DCA6.

    Credit: American Wood Council


 As one deck builder recently told me, installing the bottom newel posts on a set of porch or deck stairs is a real PITA. To meet code, these posts have to be able to withstand 200-lb. lateral loads. And in some areas, the base of the stairs – typically a post/stringer assembly – has to be supported by footings that bear on undisturbed ground that is either 12 inches below grade or below the frostline (whichever is deeper) … in other words, just like any other deck footings. For some inspectors, a simple poured concrete slab landing just won’t cut it (Glenn Mathewson weighs in on the pros and cons of floating vs. fixed landings here).If your inspector requires stair footings, you can follow the detail shown in Figure 34 in the American Wood Council’s DCA6-12 (see illustration).  READ THE REST OF ANDREW’S ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE



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