Deck collapses and injury due to poorly designed or outdated structures are not uncommon. This is why these additional structures to homes need to have a sturdy design and be inspected to ensure they are safe and that you will not get code violation fines. The following guide will help you deal with these problems to ensure your decks and porches are safe.
Proper attachment of decks to homes
The first part of repairs to a porch or deck is making sure that the deck framing is properly attached to the structure of the building. This should be done with proper carriage bolts and blocking that penetrate the structure and fasten the deck to the structure. In some areas, you may also be required to have columns or posts supporting deck framing at the structure of a building. The bolts need to be staggered on the center according to the specifications in the local building code. This usually means that you need a bolt every 12 to 16 inches.
Covered porches and roof structure codes
For covered porches, the roof structure above the deck framing is another area that is required to meet code. Just like the framing of a deck, the roof structure of the porch has to be bolted and well-secured to the structure of the building. The roof framing of the porch has to meet the same building requirements as the main roof of the building. The posts of the porch roof have to be secure and support load points of the roof above them. The posts should be carried through the deck all the way down to a footing at the ground level.
Make sure railings are updated to meet modern codes
Railings are another area of porch designs that often need to be updated to meet modern code requirements. First, the railing needs to be high enough to prevent someone from tipping over the edge and falling—this is usually about 42 inches. The railing also has to be solid, or pickets need to be properly spaced apart to prevent a child or pet from getting their heads stuck between them.
Stairs and deck structure design for porches to pass building inspections
Lastly, the deck structures and any stairs connected will need to be updated to meet modern building codes. The building codes may differ from one area to another, but most are based on modern building standards for balloon framed wood construction. Check with your local building authority for information on porch code requirements where you live before doing the structural repairs to your porch or deck.
These are the repairs and improvements that are often needed to ensure porches are safe. If you want to avoid fines, contact an inspection service to inspect your structures for a porch code violation that needs to be fixed.