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Deck Piering & Settling Decks

Avoid settling and sagging decks with the experts at HomePro Match!

As we all know, decks take a fair beating over the years, serving as a throughway attached to the home, sitting in the sun, rain, and snow 365 days a year. Hopefully, your deck was well constructed in the first place, but often this is not the case and as time goes on, things may begin to settle and sag.

The supporting structure of your deck is made up of girders, joists, and planks joined together with hardware to support the decking. It is important to remember that these pieces of wood also need cleaning and sealing every few years. If properly maintained, settling and collapse aren’t common issues. The most common problems with a deck usually stem from poor initial construction at one of two key points:

  1. Where the framework is supported in the yard, or
  2. Where the frame attaches to the home.

In the case of yard-supported decks, the main support beam is called a Girder. This girder rests upon two or more concrete piers acting as a foundation. These concrete piers must pass three main hurdles to meet code;

  1. They must be large enough to carry the full load of the deck.
  2. The piers must be deep enough to avoid heaving, the depth of which can be verified by an inspector.
  3. The pier should have a fastener embedded in the concrete to support the girder.

Most decks are attached to the home and borrow the support of its foundation to carry off the load. This connection is typically made with a single piece of wood, called a ledger board, that runs between the home and the deck. This single piece of lumber is the most important point in the whole structure and is the most common cause of deck collapses, which is why it’s important that it’s installed correctly in the first place.

There are other ways to attach this piece of timber, such as lag bolts if there is no inside access, or machine bolts if there is access from the crawl space or basement. It is imperative that this board be secure, as it must support at least half of the total weight of the deck. If this is done correctly, the only way that the deck could fail, (not counting total rot of the supporting framework), would be if the framing of the home also failed.

To learn more about fixing your piering or settling deck, contact your local HomePro Match expert today.

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