Friday, June 10, 2011

Residential Deck Design

In the last 6 weeks I have been researching and reading about deck and guardrail design and construction.  I am currently working on a project to develop two observation platforms for air monitoring equipment.  These platforms are stand-alone wood frames structures.  While they are not residential decks, they are very similar in many ways with the exception of design loads. 

For an introduction to deck design, I recommend Design for Code Acceptance-6: Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide published by the American Wood Council.  This guide covers design and detailing for several conditions including deck-ledger attachment, post-beam connections, and guard post attachments.

The guard post attachments are interesting because recent testing shows the inadequacy of many standard connections.  The International Residential Code requires that residential deck railings be designed for a live load of a 200lb concentrated load in any direction located at any point along the rail.  Upon reviewing local construction practices of guard-post attachments, many of which appeared questionable for meeting code requirements, researchers at Virginia Tech began testing these connections.  The results, which have been published in Wood Design Focus and the Journal of Light Construction, were somewhat surprising.  Typical bolted and lapped/bolted connections were unable to meet the code requirements. 

After attempts to redistribute load using typical connections were unsuccessful, the Researchers began testing Simpson HD2A anchors attached to deck joists.  This method of connection for guard-posts has subsequently been included in DCA-6.  While the 200lb concentrated load has been a code requirement for some time, until now there have been no prescriptive guidelines for meeting the code.  Further details for guard post attachment can be found here

Further Reading:

1 comment:

  1. It interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it.
    Decking Timber