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I am building a 15'x23' deck in Knoxville. I built a sandwich girder at the end using 12" x 16" deep concrete piers, 4x4 posts sitting on galvanized metal brackets and pressure treated 2x10's sandwiched together using 3" nails and 1/2" lag bolts 6 inches long. I left the braces I used to hold the 4x4 posts on and staked to the ground.

I have installed around 10 joists that are 2x10" p.t. lumber. I noticed a gap at the top of the joist about 1/2" wide. I should have stopped to assess the problem but being anxious to finish I just kept going.

I noticed when I placed a hammer on the girder that it was no longer level. I thought about using shims when I lay the decking but that seems so, shall I say, unprofessional. I also noticed that the girder is beginning to snake in the middle.

My instincts tell me to take it apart and fix the girder but that is something that I dread doing. This is my first time building anything. Are my instincts right or can I do something else.

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I'm a little lost on where this gap exists, exactly. Do you have a photo you can post? –  The Evil Greebo Sep 19 '12 at 19:31
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Can you post a picture? Upload it somewhere on the web, and post the link as a comment. One of us will edit it into your post. –  Chris Cudmore Sep 19 '12 at 19:31
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Also, what do you mean by "beginning to snake?" –  Chris Cudmore Sep 19 '12 at 19:31
    
If I'm reading your description correctly, could you remedy this using long threaded rods and turnbuckles? –  Matthew Sep 19 '12 at 20:14
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1 Answer

Without pictures and maybe a diagram of some kind it's impossible to give you exact advice, so I'll give you more general. Decking is something you want to last for years, and if done right will add value to your home. Done wrong at the beginning it is likely to get worse over time, and could detract from your property later.

It may be that you can fix the problems without that much effort, or it may be the only way to get it right is to take it apart completely, in which case that is what I'd do.

I would also urge you to get some local help whether it is from a pro or an experienced amateur. Pictures are good but someone with a good eye who can actually see the situation would be better placed to give you advice then this forum.

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