I have a new deck going in the back of my house, about 6' off the ground. Made a HUGE mistake and made cuts on the posts 4.5" too short. Short of removing the posts and concrete, digging new holes and starting over, do any of these sound like good solutions?

  1. Bolt a 4.5" shim to the top of the post to raise it
  2. Remove post, add 5" of wet concrete to hole, re-use post
  3. Place beams in notch and bolt to post. Add three 2x4s on top of each beam, attach these to the joists

Feeling pretty low right now, any guidance is much appreciated! Thanks!

Update #1: Responding to questions below:

  • Posts are 6x6
  • Top has been cut off posts and notch made for beams
  • Cement was added around posts in the post holes per code requirements
  • Primary goal = safety/code compliance. Cost is the major consideration in not starting over with new posts

I'm leaning towards option #3 below (clarified above). Any concerns about this? I discussed it with the city code inspector who thought it would be fine.

  • If you can remove and replace the post, what's stopping you from getting new posts? Aug 1, 2017 at 5:37
  • Thanks all for the response. Comments below: BrianK: Posts are 6x6. Plan was to have beam notched in. Will putting them on top adversely affect safety/code compliance? That's my primary goal, hence the three options above, looking for the best (safest) solution. user68825: Cement was added around the posts into post holes. whatsisname: Cost mainly. Not sure if I'm trying to cut a corner that I shouldn't.
    – Nick
    Aug 1, 2017 at 12:45
  • Are the notches too low, or are the posts cut off completely? Please edit to add new information. Don't bury it down here in the comments.
    – isherwood
    Aug 1, 2017 at 14:44

2 Answers 2


Were the posts going to be notched or is the beam going to sit directly on top of the posts? If they were to be notched, you could skip the notch and put the beam directly on top, attaching it with some metal brackets.

How many posts are we talking bout here and what size are they? 4x5 or 6x6? How tall is the beam? Cold you just make the beam taller? That is essentially what you are suggesting with the 2x4s on top. For example, you could go from a 2x10 to a 2x12 and then add a single 2x4 on top of it.

user68825 is right, you almost never want to put the post in concrete in the ground. If its on top of the pier, you can always repair or replace them years later down the road when it comes time to rebuild the deck.

  • Plan to notch the 6x6 posts. About 20 of them, so pulling/replacing is a big deal. Will beam on top reduce safety? Anything special I should do to attach the 2x4 to the beam?
    – Nick
    Aug 1, 2017 at 12:50
  • Have you cut the notches already? How tall will the beam be? What about just cutting the notches higher and the part that the post bolts too won't go all the way to the top? The use of Simpson strong tie post caps is an approved way to attach posts to beams so safety shouldn't be a problem.
    – BrianK
    Aug 1, 2017 at 19:05

Best bet is to remove the posts and get ones that you can re-cut to the right length.

If you cemented in the bottom of the "short" posts now is the time to correct that. Try to use a metal bracket to hold the posts up off the concrete some so the post bottoms can dry if they get wet.

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