I'm building a second story deck (~10ft above ground) and need to build up triple 2x12 x 22' beam. The beam will be resting on 6x6 nominal posts. In order to account for the extra inch gap I plan on sandwiching 1/2 inch plywood between each 2x12.

enter image description here

Here is the problem. Such a beam would be a beast to lift into place ~120 inches above ground. Even with a couple dudes, lifting it into place would be very difficult.

Questions: Can I build the beam in place (i.e. lift the individual 2x12s on to the 6x6 support posts and then fasten them together when they are already above ground)?

If so, how do I go about doing that? Is there something I can use to secure it in place while I build it up? I'd be concerned that the beam could slip off a post while I'm attempting to build it up.

Any help or ideas are appreciated.


  • In the olden days you could probably nail a 2x4 or a 2x6 as a stop. These days you might need a post to beam metal bracket to be in code.
    – crip659
    Jan 3 at 16:47
  • Your question isn't clear. Without knowing the exact situation, all I could say is "nail or screw the first board to something". That something can be whatever's handy.
    – isherwood
    Jan 3 at 17:07
  • Lol, well that's a bummer! Hrmm - how can I clarify the question? I guess is it ok to build-up a beam in place vertically? Or does it have to be horizontally build and then lifted into place? Secondly, if it is ok to build up a beam in place vertically how would you go about doing that? If it's still "nail or screw the first board on to something", what do you mean by that? Jan 3 at 17:17
  • 1
    You can toe nail(drive nails in at an angle) to hold the first 2x12 on. I prefer nailing/screwing 2x6 to the outside edge of the posts sticking about 10 inches above the posts or they have post to beam metal brackets now that do the same job. Either of the three ways should keep the beam pieces up there and not fall on your head.
    – crip659
    Jan 3 at 18:05

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can build up a beam in place.

Attach a piece of wood to the side of the post, extending it up past the top to the height of the beam. Now you can place the first board on top and secure it with a screw through the temporary piece of wood into the beam. Remove the temporary piece of wood once the beam has been built and secured.

Designing a beam for this application is a different question.enter image description here

  • Excellent, thank you so much! Do I need to worry about "patching" the temporary screw holes after I've removed the temporary screws? Or am I overthinking it 😆 Jan 3 at 18:21
  • 2
    No, you shouldn't have to patch the screw holes. I would use a temp board that is about three feet long: one foot above and two feet on the post. I would secure it with two screws near the top and two near the bottom.
    – pdd
    Jan 3 at 18:25

I would presume that you're using some sort of post-to-beam connection bracket like a Simpson Strong-Tie (for example).

  • Put the brackets on all the post tops, nailing or screwing them in per manufacturer's specs.
  • Hoist the first 2x12 into place, slide it all the way up tight against one side of the bracket and screw/nail it into place
  • Add your plywood spacer, nailing it against the existing 2x12, per your nailing spec
  • Lather, rinse, repeat with the other 2x12s and spacer.
  • Attach the other side of the post/beam bracket with screws/nails.
  • You may need to run long structural screws through the completed assembly once all the 2xs are in place. Again, see your engineered drawings for the fastener schedule.

If you're not using a post/beam connecting bracket, there's a non-zero chance you will fail your inspection. YMMV, local codes apply.

  • For the plywood spacers you should probably just use a few of little nails to maintain position until the 2×12s are stucturally nailed.
    – popham
    Jan 3 at 18:44
  • Fair enough, @popham. I'd go with whatever the drawings spec out. ;)
    – FreeMan
    Jan 3 at 18:48
  • 1
    The initial fastening between the beam and bracket may be temporary depending on specs. 3" nails required? Then that initial fastening is temporary.
    – popham
    Jan 3 at 18:53
  • Yes - I'm using APVT6 T Straps to secure the beam to the post. Jan 3 at 19:34

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