When I first moved into my current home, one of the things that I noticed during my own inspection was that the deck on the back of my house seemed to be inadequately supported. Being in the handyman business, I was able to spot that the deck posts were improperly secured to decking. This was a cause of concern for me, so I took the necessary measures to correctly support the structure and to avoid any accidents. I’ve come to find out that most of the homes in my neighborhood, built by Hearthstone at the time, were also inaptly built in the same way!
A properly built deck will start with solid posts, traditionally 4x4’s or 6x6’s, which are to be secured with deck length beams on either side of the posts. These should be installed with 1/2 x 8 inch lag screws. This provides stability between the posts by avoiding the opportunity for the posts to shift independently of the others, and to create a solid base for the entire deck. The joists of the deck floor then rest on the beams. The frame and flooring is then built up from there.
On my deck, there were no beams to secure the posts across the length of the deck, and for the joists to sit on. The only thing supporting the deck was 3/8 x 6 inch lag screws that went from the outer frame of the deck floor to each post. Single screws were the only thing holding the deck together to the posts below. There was a lacking support structure in between and was cause for a major concern.
To correct the issue, two 2x10 treated beams were added across the length of the posts. These were secured with the proper hardware, 1/2 x 8 inch lag screws. This provides the entire deck structure more support and stability against the posts and decreases the risk of the deck failing.
Make sure to inspect your deck and see if it has the proper support it needs. With summer just around the corner and more time spent outside, it’s important that your deck is a safe. Just think, your deck is under constant pressure to hold your grill and patio set. If you add a few average size adults, your deck could be the culprit of a major accident. Please call me if you have any questions about the safety of your deck. I’d be happy to help you feel more secure to enjoy it.