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I am going to tear down an existing deck (which is rotting out) and want to block off usage of existing French doors that currently lead to the deck. I’ll attach photos below.

I am going to build a replacement deck after, but there will be some time between when the existing one comes down and the new one goes up.

The best thing I can think of is to attach some 2x4 lumber to the sides of the trim outside and screw plywood to the 2x4s, sort of in the spirit of an extra layer of sheathing.

My questions are: 1. How can I find out whether this is a code approved solution? I’m in U.S. zip code 98136. 2. Does this sound like a reasonable idea, and are there any other options? One thought was a Juliette balcony..

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  • I see hinges so it looks like it opens out. I’d just put a 2x4 across mid-height and screw it into the trim on both sides and be done with it. – Tyson Oct 8 '17 at 22:38
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In my area, they often build homes that have an optional deck, but the deck is not built at the same time as the home. In these cases, the home builders simply build a small section of railing, and attach it directly in front of the door. In your case, you will not be able to open the doors (since the railing will prevent it). In the case of sliding doors, you can open the door, but will not be able to go out it.

You can buy nice looking barrier railings to put up, if you're going to leave it up for a long time.

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If it's going to be temporary, the builders around here usually just tack up a cheap section of railing.

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  • Thanks! In my area that is called a Juliette balcony and the idea came to me as well, just wasn’t sure about the cost. Looks like the best solution for “unsure how long” deck removal. – Chris Oct 9 '17 at 20:22
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Since from the picture it appears your doors open to the outside, and if I wanted to keep the view and light, I would keep it simple and change out the deadbolt to one that is keyed on the inside as well as the outside, lock it, and remember where I put the key for the day my new deck is finished. (Making sure I engaged the slide locks that keep the door without the deadbolt locked in place- amazing how many are left open- people think their french doors are locked until you push on them.) Go ahead and remove the door handle on the inside also.

As extra security you could put a 2x4 across the bottom of the door on the outside, below the glass, and screw into the trim on each side. Just making sure you use screws long enough to screw well into the door framing, not just the trim. Add another 2x4 across the top above the glass if you want to be super careful. As far as code I can't help. But so much of that I believe would depend on other exits available from the house which are not shown.

  • Thanks petroke - great ideas around swapping the door hardware. I +1'ed but I'm going to leave off the "accepted" answer in case someone has recommendations around code-compliance, otherwise it's yours – Chris Oct 9 '17 at 5:50

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