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Yet another post about decks and posts

Hopefully, by now, reading these pages knows our enforcement folks at the planning department are really working on making sure decks are built using Code-compliant 6x6 posts.
The message is getting out, because we’re seeing fewer decks built using 4x4 posts, and fewer attached decks built using deck blocks (which really, shouldn’t be used for most decks at all!)
However, another issue has emerged that needs a bit of attention: folks attaching what are intended to be load-bearing elements (beams) to the sides of posts.
Our message, in two words, “Please don’t.”
Beams for decks must be fully supported by resting atop load-bearing posts.

We could bore you with all the jargon in the Code book, but the basic take-away is this: beams must be supported by resting atop a load-bearing element.

This means that beams for decks have to be attached to the top of posts. (See image), and that anything else is not structurally sound by Code.
Sadly, there are some who will screw a crossmember intended to be a deck beam to the side of a post. This means that all the weight the beam or single joist carries is transferred to the screws used to hold it in place.
A Code-compliant 6x6 post can handle more than 10,000 pounds of weight while on a good day a screw can only handle a hundred pounds or so: there’s no comparison, when you think about it.
This is why we urge anyone thinking about a deck – either as a before-winter project or a dream for next spring – to call us first. As part of the permit application process, our inspectors will evaluate your plans and help you do it right.
We serve all the unincorporated areas of Charlotte and southern York counties, as well as Harvey, McAdam, Saint Andrews and St. George.