For questions generally relating to outdoor, semi-elevated, non-enclosed structures such as decks, gazebos, pergolas, etc.

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2
votes
2answers
921 views

Deck handrail bracket

I just had a deck built and it failed inspection, partly because of the lack of a graspbable handrail (see also my related question Concrete blocks supporting deck stairs) . The current rail is a ...
7
votes
2answers
881 views

What are the proper steps for staining a deck?

My deck just past its 10-year mark and is starting to look quite tired. It's time to restain it. What steps do I need to take to make sure I do everything right, from start to finish?
1
vote
1answer
224 views

Outside Ceiling Fan Problems: Light But No Fan

Over the course of the winter, the ceiling fan on my screened-in deck stopped working. The attached light still functions properly, so it is definitely getting electricity, but the fan will not ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What is the strongest way to join a deck joist to a corner joint?

I'm working on designing the support frame for a deck for my backyard. The basic shape of the deck: It's essentially a square with one corner chopped off. The red line is the joist in question, ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How high should I make my yurt platform?

I am building the floor/platform for a 30' yurt. It's basically a deck. 30' diameter circle pre-cast concrete pier blocks 4" x 6" pressure treated joists, 4' o.c. 1 1/8" tongue-and-groove plywood ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I build a deck that is easy to take apart?

I spent the day taking apart the platform for a yurt. It was a real pain, and I want to make it easier to take apart next time. Old deck construction details: Decking was 1 1/8" tongue-and-groove ...
3
votes
3answers
646 views

Should I shovel snow off my vinyl deck?

Will there be damage if I don't shovel the snow off (due to snow thaw/freeze/thaw)? Is it safe to use a metal shovel on vinyl decking? Is it ok to allow the stuff to melt naturally if I don't plan to ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

How do I treat / maintain IKEA Platta wood patio tiles?

Over a year ago we put a good sized set of IKEA Platta deck tiles on our patio. After exposure to the elements, they are now dis-coloring and becoming a bit 'rough'. What exactly do I need to do to ...
5
votes
2answers
284 views

What maintenance does a cedar deck require?

We just moved into a house with a very nice 16'x16' cedar screened porch. The problem is I've never had a cedar deck and am not sure what maintenance to expect or how often to do it.
6
votes
2answers
5k views

What are the best practices for a low deck built half on a concrete slab?

In our current place, we moved the main access door from going into the kitchen, to entering an old laundry room converted to a mud room. In order to do so, the front door was moved over about 4', ...
2
votes
5answers
6k views

How do I attach a ledger board if I have no interior access?

I would like to build a small, 24" high deck, for a new entry door to the house. I have the deck plans all laid out, and am in need of a 2x10 ledger board under the door to attach the deck to. Most ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the best way to fill in the holes in aluminum siding?

In about 2 weeks I'm doing a little cathartic destruction of a deck on the back of my house. The deck came with the house and has suffered YEARS of neglect, it's beyond repair, built incorrectly, and ...
7
votes
1answer
696 views

How long can I wait before staining a new deck?

I just moved into a new (well, old) house. The previous owners put in a deck probably about 1 year ago. It's treated lumber, but they hadn't yet stained it. Winter is approaching quickly here in ...
2
votes
1answer
513 views

Need to attach deck ledger to house covering a vent

I am building a deck attached to the house, and on one side I will need to have the ledger covering a section of wall that has a crawlspace vent cover. If I have a big enough gap between the ledger ...
3
votes
4answers
12k views

What is the proper way to join two beams on a post?

I'm working on a deck that will involve two 10ft wooden beams across three wooden posts. One of the posts will be in the middle of the two beams. What is the proper method for joining the beams to the ...
3
votes
3answers
383 views

Which types of decking are easiest to maintain?

I live in Portland, OR. Rainy city. I will be expanding the deck at my house and in the process, I'm thinking I might upgrade to something nicer than pressure treated doug fir. I have a cousin that ...
4
votes
3answers
362 views

Replace rotting porch treads with trex?

My front porch has some treads and the bottom riser are rotting out. I'd like to replace the surface with Trex if possible. Is it as simple as removing treads and risers and replacing with Trex ...
6
votes
5answers
6k views

Can I build a deck this low to the ground?

I want to build a deck off the back of my house. The door is near grade level, about 1' above. The grade doesn't have very large slope, so that means that the beam at the far end would be below grade: ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I tell where my inground sprinkler hoses are?

I'm going to be building a deck next week in my backyard! I'm very excited for the project, but I'm concerned about one thing: digging the foundation holes. I have an inground sprinkler system, and ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Is toenailing necessary for a joist-to-ledger attachment?

Is it sufficient to rest joists on joist hangers or should you always toenail (drive screws/nails at an angle through the joist). And does the toenail have to drive into the ledger or just hold the ...
54
votes
10answers
13k views

Is there a case where nails are better than screws, from an engineering/structural standpoint?

Is there a case where nails are better than screws, from a structural standpoint? For instance: Say you used screws instead of nails on a backyard deck, when the design specifically called for nails. ...
5
votes
2answers
496 views

Sealing pressure treated deck, to be stained later on

I have just finished building a deck from pressure treated lumber. We've put the deck to use immediately and having all our meals on it. I'm worried about greasy food morsels staining the deck. My ...
3
votes
3answers
847 views

Is it normal to install (pvc) decking like hardwood flooring?

Forgive me I'm a newb. We have become the proud owners of a new deck. One of the features that we thought was great was that the boards are installed fairly snugly and diagonally nailed into joists ...
1
vote
1answer
215 views

Caulking for deck frame

To seal the seam between a doubled joist or beam, what type of caulking is best? The Home Depot Decks 123 book recommends Alex Plus (acrylic latex plus silicone) while a guy at Home Depot suggested ...
8
votes
1answer
246 views

I need to clean and reseal my dock, most sealers don't mention if they are safe to use over water

I have a wood dock over a lake. It is time to clean and seal the dock. I am planning on pressure washing the dock first, then I am planning to have a clear seal. Looking at products in Lowe's and ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Does decking board orientation really matter?

I've been told that decking boards should always be installed "bark side up" so that the boards crown (and shed water) as they age rather than cup (and collect water). But then I've also heard that ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I sand stamps off of lumber?

I just finished building a deck. The boards have stamps 1–2 ft from each end, and I could not bring my self to be as wasteful as to always cut them off. I tried to place the boards with the stamp ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Why are my deck boards of uneven width?

I bought 12-foot-long 5/4 x 6 in pressure-treated pine deck board from Home Depot. Not until I laid them down did I notice that the boards' width tapers significantly toward the ends of each board. ...
4
votes
1answer
767 views

How much weight should a deck of a given area support?

How much weight should a deck of a given area support, either according to building codes or convention? In my local (Massachusetts) building code, I found the answer for floors (40 lbs/ft2 live ...