From Engineering on June 26, 2008 in Decks and Patios
Although building a deck may seem like a simple weekend project, there are certain codes and requirements that must be adhered to. In some areas, you may even be required to obtain a permit for the process. It is up to you and your contractor to research the expectations for your area, but here are some universal guidelines to get you started.
- Stairways. The stairs must be at least 35 inches in width, with a maximum rise per stair of 8 inches, and each stair must be at least 9.25 inches in depth.
- Foundation.The stringers underneath the stairs must not be in direct contact with dirt, must be placed at least 36 inches apart, and cannot be any thinner than two inches. The rules vary for the foundation of a deck as a whole, but normally some form of anchor in cement or pier blocks is required.
- Railing. If the deck is lower than 24 inches you are not required to have a railing. If it is between 24 inches and 70 inches, you will need a minimum 36 inch railing. Anything higher than 70 inches, you are required to have a minimum 42 inch railing. Guardrails, such as what lines the stairwell, must be able to withstand over 200lbs of concentrated horizontal weight at any one point.
These are just some of the basics, and the codes can be either more or less complicated than what is listed here. Your contractor should be quite knowledgeable and skilled in this area, and this will not seem overwhelming at all. There are no restrictions as to the materials or design elements, and no reason why your new deck can’t be as comfortable and beautiful as you can imagine. Request free estimates from licensed decking contractors in your area today.