Deck girder without connections (C) Daniel Friedman Porch & Deck Beam or Girder Construction

  • DECK BEAMS & GIRDERS - CONTENTS: Deck or porch girder construction, connections. Best Construction Practices for decks or porches. Deck & Porch construction details & procedures. Poor Porch or Deck Girder or Beam Construction Details Can Lead to Dangerous Collapse of Decks and Porches
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about how to build & connect deck beams or girders
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Deck girders & beams guide:

This article reviews the proper construction and connection of beams or girders used to support a deck or porch.

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Deck & Porch Support Beams

Figure 13: deck girder to post connections (C) J Wiley, S Bliss

Our page top photo shows an unsafe (incomplete) deck girder construction with only minimal connections between the girder and the post top.

[Click to enlarge any image or table]

When you find a deck built like this one, it makes sense to check every point where a connection should have been made.

For the strongest connection of beam to post, place the support beam directly on top of the posts, rather than bolting them to the side, so the full load is transferred to the posts.

To keep the post in place and to prevent any twisting or shifting, the connection should be reinforced with steel strapping, a steel connector, or a treated plywood cleat (Figure 4-13).

Notched deck post (C) Daniel Friedman

In general, notching a 4x4 post will leave too little wood for an adequate connection. A double 2x beam can rest on a notched 6x6 post, as shown.

For the strongest connection of joists to the support beam, the joists should sit on top of the beam. For a more streamlined appearance, however, joist hangers are acceptable.

Make sure the hangers and nails are approved by the manufacturer for use with the new types of pressuretreated wood (ACQ or ACZA) and fill all the holes in the hangers with properly sized nails.

In general, nail into the joists with 1 1/2-inch joist-hanger nails and nail into the beam with 10d to 16d common nails, as specified by the hanger manufacturer. Sizes for joists and beams are shown in Table 4-7 and Table 4-8 below.

Figure 13: deck girder to post connections (C) J Wiley, S Bliss

[Click to enlarge any image or table]

Figure 13: deck girder to post connections (C) J Wiley, S Bliss

This article series discuss best porch & deck construction practices, including choice of framing materials, decking or flooring choices & installation, how to select and use deck and porch structural and flooring fasteners, actual deck & porch framing construction details & connections, deck joist & beam span tables, how to build leak-proof rooftop decks, construction of covered & screened porches, deck & porch railing construction & materials, choices of finishes and stains for decks & porches, and past & current deck lumber preservative treatments with related health & environmental concerns. This article series includes excerpts or adaptations from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss, courtesy of Wiley & Sons. Also see our BOOK REVIEW of that book.


Continue reading at DECK BEAM CONSTRUCTION or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


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