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Making deck level

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  1. #1
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    Default Making deck level

    I'm close to embarking on replacing the decking on my balcony. I really have no experience, but have been reading this forum and will purchase the Decks & Pergolas Construction Manual as recommended.

    I have a problem that I've been thinking over for a while now. One of the posts holding up my balcony has dropped about 10cm. So the front corner of the balcony is considerably lower than the rest.
    I had all the railings and polycarbonate roofing fixed a few months ago, and this problem was taken into account, so the railing is level. This means that it is higher at one end than in the middle.
    I was thinking about ripping up the old decking, then putting some construction pine over the existing beams. They would start off very thin then up to about 10cm thick for the one closest to the wall. Is this the best way?
    I've attached 3 pictures showing the balcony:
    • Picture 1 shows the angle. Look at the weathboard above the deck, and you can see how it has been cut on an angle to work around the problem
    • Picture 2 is looking at the balcony. The left pole is the one that has sunk. The one on the right (which is the middle pole) is ok.
    • Picture 3 is looking up under the deck. At some stage somebody has added supporting beams (which is why there are two). I guess some of the old ones rotted.
    Any advice would be much appreciated!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails balcony1.jpg   balcony2.jpg   balcony3.jpg  

  2. #2
    1K Club Member journeyman Mick's Avatar
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    I would free the verandah corner from the post and jack it up and refix in position. I assume the handrails are attached to the post so this won't affect them. You need to identify why the post has dropped 100mm (cms don't exist in the building trades) and ensure it won't drop any further.

    Mick
    "If you need a machine today and don't buy it,

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  3. #3
    Lumberlubber Bleedin Thumb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by journeyman Mick View Post
    I would free the verandah corner from the post and jack it up and refix in position. I assume the handrails are attached to the post so this won't affect them. You need to identify why the post has dropped 100mm (cms don't exist in the building trades) and ensure it won't drop any further.

    Mick

    But if you do that then your railing will be lower in the offending corner in relation to the deck height...or am I reading this wrong.

    I think you have to jack up the post with the deck attached as well as refixing the railing. I need a photo of how the deck attaches to the post.


    Edit I just realised Mick is assuming the bearer has slipped whilst I'm assuming the post has sunk.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bleedin Thumb View Post
    But if you do that then your railing will be lower in the offending corner in relation to the deck height...or am I reading this wrong.

    I think you have to jack up the post with the deck attached as well as refixing the railing. I need a photo of how the deck attaches to the post.


    Edit I just realised Mick is assuming the bearer has slipped whilst I'm assuming the post has sunk.
    You are correct - the post has sunk. A second, supporting post would then be too low (this was added as the post is getting a bit old). Also, all the railings would have to come off and be adjusted.
    Plus, it is just too big of a job for me! Note that the post is stable. The house is 90 years old, and I'm sure the balcony is at least 40. It hasn't moved in decades.

    I'm kind of looking for an easy way out here to fix the problem. Nothing too dodgy, just something that won't require me to call the carpenter back in and spend thousands.

  5. #5
    Lumberlubber Bleedin Thumb's Avatar
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    Any way but the right way is dodgy.

    You have to support the verandah with accrow props, undo the railing, fix the post, reattach the bearer & railings then remove the accrow props.
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  6. #6
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    this is seriously a big job, and the only way to do it right, as from what is shown in the pics ....age has set in and bandaids simply wont continue to work in a safe manner ...we are talking about a balcony here, and a fall could kill someone ......remove the railing ....use a platform hoist and remove the floor ...joists ...place form props into position and jack up the post, you are probably going to find its rotten through and wont support the weight anymore or be lucky to find it in good nic and the subsoil moved ....in which case you can dig down and concrete a new post stirrup and re-attatch the post ...it may have been set in concrete incorrectly from the beginning and this has caused the rot ....wont know till you dig ...that would probably be the first thing I would do ....if you need to replace the post its better to find one first ....if this is way out of your depth ...then get someone who knows what they are doing to do it right .........you will sleep better

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by manoftalent View Post
    this is seriously a big job, and the only way to do it right, as from what is shown in the pics ....age has set in and bandaids simply wont continue to work in a safe manner ...we are talking about a balcony here, and a fall could kill someone ......
    I couldn't agree more. And this is why I called in a carpenter last November and spent over $10,000 getting everything made safe:
    • polycarbonate roofing replaced, all new timber
    • all new railings, hand rail
    • two out of three posts replaced. The third (that has sunk slightly) was too hard to replace due to its location and also the house is a semi. So a supporting post right next to it was added to the bottom of the balcony (visible in the picture).
    I probably should have looked at leveling the decking when all of this was done. But too many other problems at the time (and the balcony certainly was unsafe).
    Now that it is all pretty much done, that's it, except for the decking. If I can't do a reasonably quick job to level it out somehow, it just won't get done. I'll replace the decking leaving the angle there. I'm certainly not spending thousands just to fix a smallish problem.

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