Q: With a cable railing system, do you have to install a wood railing at the top going post to post? Or would cable only be OK? I cannot find any guidance online. I have seen it done both ways in the field, but not sure what code requires for top railings on decks. -- Baron A: The International Residential Code (IRC) distinguishes between a handrail and guardrail or “guard” … [Read more...] about What Does Code Require for Top Railing on Decks?
Decks & Porches
Q: I am redoing my wood floor balcony by sloping it, using a little dry pack mortar and then waterproofing the surface using Henry BlueSkin (peel-and-stick butyl membrane roof flashing). Can I apply thinset directly to the BlueSkin? I would like to use this as a waterproof barrier and cement the backer board on top of it. Then set the tile on the backerboard. The photo … [Read more...] about How to Tile Over a Wood Deck
Q: I have an 8-year-old pressured-treated deck that has had a significant amount of wood decay mostly in the framing lumber, but also in some of the decking. The deck is about 5 feet off the ground. What is the normal life expectancy of treated decking? We used ACQ lumber for the framing and MCA-treated decking. -- Sam A: Up till the early 2,000s, most pressure-treated … [Read more...] about How Long Will Treated Wood Deck Last?
Q: What is the best way to attach a framing ledger to my brick veneer house? I’ve looked at the SimsonStrong Tie BVLZ connector but it is not approved yet in Ontario, Canada. I’m building a one-story addition with a low-slope roof that will attach to a two-story brick-veneer exterior wall. The floor joist ledger is attached directly to the foundation. I wish to attach a … [Read more...] about How to Attach Deck Ledger to Brick Veneer
Q: I am planning an above ground (30 inches) storage shed that will be built in a salt-air environment in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I plan to use 2x6 floor joists with joist hangers. Do I really need to use stainless-steel? I am looking at a 15- to 20-year projected life for the structure. If I can get by without the cost of stainless-steel, what specification … [Read more...] about Stainless-Steel vs. Galvanized Joist Hangers
Q: I've seen the Pylex powder-coated adjustable post base, which allows adjustment in elevation after install. This seems pretty convenient. However, are these 'approved' by most (or any) building codes? – Chief A: I like stand-off post bases that hold the bottom of the post about an inch above the concrete pier (see photo), protecting the post from sucking up water through … [Read more...] about Are Adjustable Post Bases OK for Decks?
Q: How sturdy are helical piers as a foundation for a backyard deck? Also, can I use a ground screws or other type of no-dig post anchor to support a newel post on my porch stairs? – FC A: Helical piers, when installed properly, can provide a sturdy, code-approved foundation for a raised backyard deck. This type of support, also known as helical “piles” has been widely … [Read more...] about Helical Piers for Decks
Q: What is the best way to connect a deck railing to the posts? There are detailed instructions for how to connect railing posts to the rim joist to meet code. However, the attachment of the railing to the post can be the weakest link in the system. How should the railing be connected to the rail post to meet the code when force is applied to the railing? The post connection to … [Read more...] about Attaching Deck Railings to Posts