This seems like a lot of lost beam for a support that is also supporting a complete roof structure. Am I being paranoid? Please help ... before the builder gets farther into this deck construction. IT'S NOTCHED THIS DEEP ON TWO SIDES. Context - midwest with snow and thunderstorm loads. My concern is twist and sway from wind and weight.

I'm sure another pair of beams is to be added across the outside once the opposite support beam is notched out.

The picture isn't 2 vertical beams that's 1 vertical beam that's had 3/4's of it's body cut out to support the deck beams.

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  • To me that doesn't look like notched (unless I totally misunderstand the term) - it looks like a there is a beam that should be on top of one post (post supporting the beam) and underneath another post (beam supporting the post) and instead is only 1/2 on. Might need a structural engineer to figure out a solution it might be that a properly sized & installed metal bracket connecting both posts and the beam would provide sufficient support. Except maybe the gap is to allow for a beam going across the other direction (perpendicular to the existing beam). – manassehkatz-Reinstate Monica Jul 10 '18 at 3:08
  • Added some more info for clarity, hopefully – Mark Jul 10 '18 at 3:16
  • I'm no builder, but that looks shaky to me. I wouldn't trust that for a second. Looks like 3/4 of the post has been carved away and a lam beam stuffed in. Any horizontal movement and crash... – DonBoitnott Jul 10 '18 at 16:45

I don't know if this is to code or not. But what appears to be happening is something like - view from looking down on the top:

Original post:


Notched as follows:


Where one beam - currently in place - goes across at the || section and another in the other (perpendicular) direction goes across at the -- section.

The results is nominally the same as using an ordinary post to support those two beams and then adding another post on top to support the roof.

If everything is actually tied together properly (i.e., bolted together + metal brackets - not just a few nails or small screws) then this may actually be stronger than two separate posts would be. Instead of looking at it as "3/4 notched post" instead look at it as ONE post instead of two.

There are numerous instances - the Hyatt walkway collapse is an extreme case that comes to mind - where structures can, to the non-engineer, appear to be just as strong with 2 pieces as with 1 but in reality one piece is actually much stronger. In your situation, a single, though notched, post should not affect the support of the deck but should increase stability of the roof.

All that being said, my theory could be totally wrong. I recommend asking your builder and, if they can't provide a satisfactory answer (e.g., plans showing approval by a structural engineer) then speaking to your local building inspector may be a good idea.

  • 1
    Thank you for your view - I especially liked your observation to look at it as 1 post instead of 2 - very good point of view that makes good sense. I'll just make sure they tie it all together with something better then the nails in this first one! – Mark Jul 10 '18 at 13:22

This connection is not acceptable without a steel connector. It’s not complete, but I don’t know how it could be finished properly.

I hate this kind of construction, because it relies on the installers craftsmanship.

Those “notches” are from the carpenter “dapping” the main support beams (double P.T. joists) into the column. Dapping is fine if 1) it’s done properly, 2) if the remaining wood portion is acceptable, and 3) there’s a proper connection.

1) Dapping into the column is critical because if ANY of the horizontal cuts extend too far into the column, it reduces the “effective” size of the remaining column. That is to say, if any cut is too deep, it ruins the column. If the column is a 6x6 and the horizontal beam is dapped 2 1/2” into the column leaving 3” in each direction, then there is something smaller than a 4x4 remaining.

So, if a horizontal cut is 1/4” too deep, you have a column that cannot support that kind of load without a steel connector.

2) Wood columns have imperfections. If a knot hole occurs in the remaining portion, it cannot support the load and is not acceptable for securing the beam to post. (It’s difficult to see in the picture, but there appears to be a large knothole at that location.)

3) The reason steel connectors are used is because they transfer the load properly. The 3 nails showing in the first picture is not acceptable. (Ask your builder if there’s a steel connector planned for the connection.)

In addition to the “notch” issue, the beam consists of two P.T. Joists sandwiched together, but they are not nailed together properly. I know it’s under construction so it’s not finished, but I’d want to know how if they are going to be nailed together. (There are only 3 nails about 6’ from the corner. This is not acceptable. I’d ask if the deck beams are to sit on top of these double P.T. joists or framed into the side of it. I suspect they’ll be framed into the side of it and therefore only one of these joists will carry the deck. This is not acceptable because the vertical posts are too far apart to support the load with just one of the double joists.)

Structural design is not just holding things up, but also holding things laterally. No nailing or bolting pattern into the remaining 3x3 is acceptable for this (especially for two directions.) A steel post connector is required.

  • Thank you for your response! I'll be on the site tomorrow to see how they finished this -- hopefully the items you mentioned are addressed. – Mark Jul 13 '18 at 12:28

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