I need to hang a 22' ledger board, but I can only get treated boards up to 20' in length. The deck plan calls for a doubled joist at the 18' mark, which is where the edge of the main body of the deck meets the upper stair landing (a 4x4 landing). So it's a doubled rim, and the seam to the landing at the same time, I suppose.

So, the problem is that I need to split the ledger into two boards and I'm trying to figure out the best place to do it.

To further complicate things, the ledger is being hung on a brick veneer wall, so I plan to use these Simpson BVLZ connectors to do it. Since I am going to have joists 12" OC, that leaves very little room in each joist cavity in which to place this ledger joint.

My thought is to split the ledger into a 4' board and an 18' foot board so that the split sits at the double joist I mentioned earlier. But that means I either have to do it using two concealed single hangers sitting side-by-side, or use a double hanger that would be attached across the seam. enter image description here

Is either one of these options allowable? Preferable? Is there another way I'm not thinking of?

P.S.: just after posting this it occurred to me that since there will actually be two posts under the stair landing (only one is shown in the image), that part of the ledger should carry minimal weight, meaning I could eliminate one BVLZ to free up a joist bay in which to place the seam. That means one very large and one very tiny ledger board, I suppose. Thoughts on this additional consideration?


1 Answer 1


If I understand your question correctly, the problem is that the green highlighted double joist is going to land on the joint between your two boards making up the 22' ledger attached to the house.

I see a couple of options:

  1. So long as the fasteners (ledger to wall) aren't in the way of the joist hangers, have the ledger joint right there and use a standard double joist hanger.

  2. Make your ledger out of a 12' and a 10' board, thus moving the joint between ledger pieces away from the doubled joist and eliminating the problem all together. This could move the joint to behind another joist hanger, which could present the same issue, but in a different location, so...

  3. Make your ledger out of two 12' boards, each cut to an appropriate length so that the joint falls conveniently between joists. This allows you to securely fasten at the edge of each ledger board and to use your joist hangers without fear/concern about running into the fasteners at the edge anywhere along the line.

You'll probably find that even two 12' boards are going to be cheaper than a 20' and a 8' anyway. 20 footers are pricey, especially since lumber prices have spiked over the last 6-9 months. I don't recall my local big-box lumber yard selling 18' lengths - I believe the standards are 8', 10', 12', 16' and 20'. Since the ledger will be firmly attached to the house, it can be made up of shorter pieces without worry.

If your calculations show that the joint between a 10' and 12' board will not fall behind a joist position, option #2 would be easier and less expensive, so option #2 would be preferable. Don't forget that you can put either board at either end, so you've got 2 possible locations for the joint.

If you can't make option #2 work out, go with option #3.

Honestly, if the pricing and spacing works to your advantage, you could use three 8' boards as your ledger.

  • Yes and no. It would fall there, but because I'm choosing to do so. The question could be further distilled down to: is it OK to put a double hanger over the seam between two boards? It seems your #1 is saying that it is an OK thing to do. Mar 17, 2021 at 12:45
  • @DonBoitnott I can't imagine why it would be a problem so long as the ledger is properly supported and the fasteners don't interfere with the nailing location for any of the joist hangar holes. However, you may want to wait until a few others chime in, just to be sure.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 17, 2021 at 13:07
  • 1
    You have it right. Ledgers are essentially supported along their entire length, so it just doesn't matter as long as the joist hangers have solid nailing. A person could use three 8' boards. Put the joints wherever they're convenient. FYI, 18' and 20' boards are uncommon and expensive. Commonly-available lengths usually stop at 16', with the best per-foot price falling at 8-12' lengths.
    – isherwood
    Mar 17, 2021 at 14:05
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    @isherwood I blame Firefox's spell check for that... :/
    – FreeMan
    Mar 17, 2021 at 14:09

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