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Question DetailsAsked on 2/6/2018

Looking for deck contractor in 78738

Partial teardown and rebuild of second story deck.

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1 Answer


If this does not involve removing/replacing framing members which come out of the house (see below) the Decks and Porches would be the Search the List category I would look in to find well-rated and reviewed vendors for this type of job. Note if replacing structural framing (columns, joists, railings) technically you need, in most areas, a design by a Structural Engineer or Architect to get building permit - also would be helpful for the bidders to bid to and the successful bidder to build to. Just redecking, unless the decking is part of a structurally integrated framing system (quite rare), does not generally require a structural review though may still require a building permit, especially in areas where permits fees are based on project value.

If structural framing penetrating the house needs replacing (either because it is a cantilevered deck or rot has gotten into the house), then I would go with a Remodeling - General Contractor, and ditto to above about needing structural plans, even if rebuilding to essentially original design, because the mounting/framing requirements for attached (as opposed to detached, independently supported) decks has recently changed.

If talking concrete or steel deck framing/structure, then a specialty concrete or steel firm who has done a lot of those would be what you want to get it done right.

[Note any details or framing images below are just for typical illustration, not specific to your deck].

A cantilevered deck uses support joists (the supporting beams, at normally 12-24 inch spacing, which the decking is fastened to) which extend into the house floor framing - commonly using longer floor joists extended out past the house wall, but also commonly separate joists (ideally, treated wood) which extend out from inside the house floor and are bolted to the side of the floor joists under the house floor, like the following image and photo which show floor joists extended out to form the deck/balcony overhang. In cantilever design, if you look in under the deck at the house edge, you will see the joists running continuous into the house, almost always with blocking between the joists but no joist hangers or fasteners or continuous ledger board at the foundation line. A modified type used cantilevered joists sticking just a couple of feet outside the house, thent he deck joists are bolted to those, but same ting essentially. This type does not have any separate deck support columns at the house side, and may be fully cantilevered fro the wall, or may have the outer edge of the deck supported by posts/columns if extending more than just a few feet (say up to 4-6 feet usually) from the house face as a balcony.

The other two way decks are commonly done are:

1) an "independently supported" or "free standing" deck with support columns and support beams under the joists both at the house and at/near the outer edge, with the only connection to the house being at most nominal fastening to prevent sway of the deck, or

2) "hanging" the deck on the side of the house, with the outer edge supported by columns but the "house side" being bolted to the house framing - usually at a floor-framing-edge rim joist or band joist.

These two types would normally be built by a Decks and Porches contractor - though if the rebuild is because of rot including in the deck framing up against the house, a General Contractor may well be the better vendor because he should be able to also handle both the deck rebuild and any rot which has extended into the house framing itself as well.

The first type is built just like any other free-standing deck like ones out in the yard away from the house or around above-ground pools, with sway bracing being provided either by the rigidity of the columns (if concreted into the ground) or by sway bracing in the framing, or by anchoring it to the house framing with tension brackets and bolts tying it to the house floor framing.

The second type "hangs" or supports the house half or so of the deck off the house framing, and requires care in water-control flashing and in connecting it to the house. Usually there is a "ledger board" fastened to the side of the house, which with flat siding can be either outside of and up against (my preference) or can be cut into the siding, with flashing to keep water out of the interface, and ice and water shield behind and also commonly over the top of the ledger board to keep water from getting between the ledger board and the house. The joists are fastened into this ledger board (which should be ground-contact treated wood), which also has tension anchors/bolts fastened to the house framing (usually floor joists) to prevent the deck from swaying or "peeling away" from the house, though that can also be done with external sway bracing in some cases and areas.

Here is what typical "independently supported" or free-standing decks up against the house look like, with support columns capable of carrying the full deck and "live" or snow and wind and people loads so the house is not counted on to carry any of that load. This design is commonly used for after-the-fact decks and porches, especially with hard-to-work-with siding materials like stucco and stone and brick which do not make putting a ledger board in easy, and pretty much (with proper flashing at the house) eliminates the issue of water from or splashing on the deck rotting the side of the house because the siding is generally continuous "behind" the deck and a drainage/air gap is left to prevent constant wetness and allow leaves and such to drop away or easily be washed away.

Attached or "hung" decks typically are attached like the following - with new code requiring anchors into the floor framing (usually to the floor joists) not just to the ledger boards, because of the number of deck failures like this -

in recent years from rotten ledger boards or inadequate bolting through to the house frame. Below are a few typical attachment details for decks "hung" off the side ofthe house. Pay special attention to water barriers - always assume water will run down the side of the house onto the deck at the house interface, and that water will get down to the top of ledger board, so flashing and water barrier is necessary to control that water and keep it from getting behind and rotting the ledger board and rim joint or band joist.


One after-thought - here is a common detail showing up many places on the web, which partly demonstrates, unfortunately, how NOT to handle the flashing and water barrier.

Having ice and water shield (the "peel and stick membrane shown in red" behind the ledger board is good because it keeps rot from growing from a damaged/rotted ledger board into the house framing - but a second layer, adhered to it at the top portion behind the siding and siding water barrier, should alsdo come out over the top and outer face of the ledger board, so any water it intercepts stays OUTSIDE the ledger board and house framing. The last thing you want is ice and water shield directing seeping water down against the inside face of the ledger board - that pretty much guarantees rot and the very type of ledger board failures this is intended to prevent.

Also - note the flashing is shown turning down between the ledger board and the deck joists - BAAAAD. This put water right at another restricted area which will not evaporate quickly, and into the open end grain of the joists. The flashing should be direct out over the ledger board and joists so the water drains out past that interface. This generally requires a bit of fiddling with the geometry - making the ledger board slightly higher than the joists so the flashing can slope down to the joists, and trimming back the back, bottom edge of the first deck board along the house to make room for this flashing and elevate teh edge of the board above the flashing so it does not rot.

Another way to handle that (my preference) is leaving the first deck board pulled back from the siding, and putting a treated trim piece (which can be painted) up against the siding and overlapping the first deck board to cover the drainage gap underneath, caulked top and leading edges and ends. 1" or 1-1/2" quarter round works well for this, as can a bevel piece of trim - though quarter round lasts longer if the deck is snow shoveled, because snow shovels snag and tear off thin molding edges.

One other detail I have used for ages and is now becoming a trend, is putting 3-4" (for 2x joists) strips of ice and water shield on top of the joists and support beams, which naturally with age droop oer the top and form a rain cap - keeping water and dirt accumulation off the top of the joists and beams and helping reduce the amount of water getting in under the deck boards too - thereby reducing or largely eliminating the rot which commonly occurs there and is a common cause of needing redecking or even partial joist replacement. There are also commercial products available for this too, called joist tape, deck tape, deck flash, rain escape and other similar names. Some people prefer a metal flashing turned down at both sides - if you do that, use factory painted aluminum not steel for longer life because that is a rapid-rust location, and beware of hazards from sharp metal flashing within head level - a reason ice and water shield is generally better. This can roughly perhaps double the life of joists and beams, and somewhat (especially in constantly wet areas) prolong the life of the deck boards.

You can find LOTS of previous questions with answers and hints about deck repair/replacement, especially about decking materials and life and decking finishes, in the Home > Decks and Porches link, under Browse Projects, at lower left.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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