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Confused about what to do - Laminate Bearers or Fix Each Side of Post?

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  1. #1
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    Default Confused about what to do - Laminate Bearers or Fix Each Side of Post?

    I am in the process of building my first deck, we’ve all got to start somewhere and I am a bit confused about the best way (or any way) to fix my bearers

    My land slopes and my deck design has one end of the bearer at ground level and the other end of that same bearer 1m above the ground.

    For the high end I'm fixing the bearer to a 90x90 TP post on a stirrup and at the low end I want to fix the bearer directly to the stirrup as I don't have sufficient height for a post.

    The bearers are 2/140x45.

    Option 1 – Fix bearer to either side of Post
    If I fix the bearer to each side of the post at the high end then how do I fix the bearer to the stirrup at the low end? There will be a space between each bearer equivalent to the thickness of the post (less any notched out housing) meaning that at the low end the bearer can’t sit directly in the stirrup as it's too thick. So what do I do if I want to use this method?

    Option 2 – Laminate bearers
    If I laminate the 2/140x45 so at the low end they sit neatly in the stirrup, then at the high end how to I attach a 2/140x45 laminated bearer to a 90x90 post?

    I see on here that a lot of people say to notch out the post to house the bearer by at least 10mm, so in my case with laminated bearers does that mean I’d need to notch out 55mm (45mm for the 1st piece of timber + 10mm for the laminated piece)? Surely notching out 55mm of a 90mm post is not a good idea (especially at my skill level) as it only leaves 35mm max of the post assuming I notch perfectly.

    My initial thoughts were to sit the laminated bearer in a stirrup on the low end and just bolt the laminated bearer into the post at the other end and forgot about housing the bearer into the post.

    But the Staines book says to house the bearer in the post and AS1684.2 the 2010 edition says in Table 9.4 “1xM10 bolt through bearer halved to stump” is the nominal fixing for bearer to a timber post in a N1/N2 area. What does “bearer halved to stump mean”? Are housed bearers required under the standard?

    So how do all you regular deck builders fix the bearers in such cases?

  2. #2
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    I don't think you have to do them both the same way. You could laminate the lower end one and sit it in the stirrup and then bolt the others, either side of the post on the higher side (notched post on both sides)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by shauck View Post
    I don't think you have to do them both the same way. You could laminate the lower end one and sit it in the stirrup and then bolt the others, either side of the post on the higher side (notched post on both sides)
    Thanks for replying shauk.

    All my bearers will span from the low side to the high side so the land slopes underneath the bearers. I don't have one bearer on the low side and a separate bearer on the high side.

    Are saying to start the bearer attached either side of the post and then bend each bearer until it becomes one laminated piece when it reachs the ground level end

  4. #4
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    Hard to know without seeing a design including size of deck, height, any other possible issues and the orientation to the house but is it practical to run the bearers in the direction of the joists and vice versa? This would possibly change the selection of sizes of timber altogether. It would also mean the deck boards run perpindicular to original design. It may mean more timber. Show us a design.

    If this idea is not practical then surely you can laminate beams and house the joint to post. I don't know the most you can take out of a post but I always thought it was equal to or less than a third of the timber thickness. So if your post is 90x90 then 30mm would be the max you could do. Someone else on here would surely be able to answer that question in relation to laminated beams.

    Here's a link to housing joints and shows what half housing is.

    What Are Angle Or Cross Timber Joints - DIYinfo.org

  5. #5
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    I don't quite understand - the location of stirrups is quite flexible - ie: they can be either side of a bearer or bearers, directly underneath or can have a timber spacer (block) between the stirrup face and the bearer and so on (note they do not all need to be in a straight line for example - neither does the bearer although it's usually easier). As Su says, a sketch of what you are proposing (plan & how you think the stirrup/ bearer connection will work) might give us a clue and guide a reply.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  6. #6
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    I've attached a rough sketch of design (ignore spacing etc) showing posts and bearers only. I've also drawn the 2 bearer attachment options confusing me.

    The design can't change as the bearers must run along the length of the pool as the deck is very narrow along the sides.

    Hope this helps and apologies if the question is pretty silly.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails scan0001.jpg   scan0002.jpg  

  7. #7
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    Bit hard to tell without dimensions, but on the right you will have a lot of short joists. and the ends lots of short bearers. The decking will run the same as the bearers and the right hand side will look extra skinny. turning it all 90 degrees may make a differences to the timber you need. It can also make the total area look more square. (Think of horizonatl and vertical stripes on a shirt)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpj1968 View Post
    Bit hard to tell without dimensions, but on the right you will have a lot of short joists. and the ends lots of short bearers.
    Thanks bpj for the response, unfortunately my layout / design can't change.

    My pool is 820mm high at it's heighest point and council restrictions under my DA required my deck height to be <1000mm. The deck will cover the coping as it's an above ground pool design intended to go under decks.

    So when designing that left me with 180mm to play with. I needed 50mm clearance between the coping and the bottom of the cantilevered joists (so I can remove pool liner if ever needed) and given the decking boards are ~20mm, that only left me with 110mm for joists, i.e. that means I must use 90x45 joists.

    Being forced to use 90x45 joists means roughly 1200 bearer spans. So turning the bearers around would increase the no. of footings / posts from 28 to over 40 (regardless of bearer timber as the fixed joist size/span is the limiting factor). Changing the design creates too much extra work.

    Agree the downside of this layout is the deck will look longer and narrow than it actually is but one upside is that it will make the pool seem longer as well.

    My questions now are more on getting clarity of the best way to fix bearers as whatever flaws exist with the design I'm pretty much stuck with.

  9. #9
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    Half lapping a laminated beam will result in half of the lam. beam unsupported, unless you lap say 2/3 of it. That may be OK but I'd not do it, and so I'd forget lapping and sit the bearer fully on top of the stump, and use plates on the sides and bolts.

    But anyway I'd actually use concrete stumps with a steel pin.

  10. #10
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    Gday All... Are your posts at the high end continuing through the deck to be used as a hand rail? If not, what about sitting your bearers flush directly on top of your post, wrap and nail hoop iron up the post over the top of the bearer and down the other side?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldballs View Post
    Gday All... Are your posts at the high end continuing through the deck to be used as a hand rail? If not, what about sitting your bearers flush directly on top of your post, wrap and nail hoop iron up the post over the top of the bearer and down the other side?
    Most posts only support the bearers, so I'll look into what you and r3nov8or are suggesting.

    Is hoop iron the same thing as GI strap, which is mentioned in the Standard? Sorry, the extent on my knowledge on fixings is limited to the basics in the pryda catalogue.

    Only the bearer on the right hand side of my drawing has posts that continue to extend past the deck, these are needed to support a timber screen / pool fence on that side.

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