How To Build a Code Compliant Deck

Nov 19, 2023

Building a deck is a fantastic way to extend your living space, enjoy the outdoors, and add value to your home. However, it’s crucial to ensure that your deck is built to code. This not only ensures the safety and longevity of your deck, but also helps to avoid potential issues with local building authorities. As a leading Vancouver deck builder, we at Premier Sundecks are here to guide you through the process.

Understanding Building Codes

Building codes are drafted by model code authorities to ensure that structures like decks are safe and durable. Using a deck that’s not built to code requirements can be dangerous. Contractors typically use either the International Residential Code (IRC) or the International Building Code (IBC). The IRC is for residential structures, while the IBC is for commercial buildings. The IRC offers a prescriptive path for deck construction plans, including figures and tables for allowable spans and footing size.

Key Components of a Code-Compliant Deck

A code-compliant deck involves several key components, including the ledger board, joists, rim joists, footings, posts, beams, and guardrails. Each of these elements has specific requirements in terms of size, spacing, and connection methods. For instance, the ledger board, which supports the end of the deck, must be properly attached to prevent the rim joist from rotating under force.

Joists are horizontal supports that make up the floor of the deck, along with decking boards. The size and spacing of the joists are determined by the load they need to carry and the type of decking material used. Rim joists are located on the outside of the deck, providing additional stability.

Footings distribute the load over a larger ground area, preventing settlement for a deck. The size and depth of the footings depend on the load and local frost depth. Posts or columns support deck beams, which in turn support joists. Beams are horizontal supports for deck joists and may have joists attached with hangers or bear directly on top.

Guardrails consist of a top rail, bottom rail, and balusters to prevent falls from the deck. Residential decks require guardrails to prevent falls, with specific height, spacing, and structural capacity specified in the IRC.

The Importance of Proper Installation

Proper installation is crucial to the safety and longevity of your deck. This includes using the right hardware and fasteners, ensuring correct spacing between components, and treating any cuts, notches, or holes that expose untreated areas of your deck components. All fasteners and hardware need to be hot-dipped galvanized, zinc-coated galvanized, stainless steel, or other corrosion-resistant hardware.

Hiring a Professional Deck Builder

While it’s possible to build a deck yourself, hiring a professional deck builder like Premier Sundecks ensures that your deck is built to code and lasts for many years. We specialize in vinyl decks, composite decking, and deck railings in Vancouver, providing high-quality materials and expert installation services.

With the right knowledge and professional help, building a code-compliant deck entirely achievable. Remember, a well-built, code-compliant deck not only provides a safe and enjoyable outdoor space but also adds value to your home.

Get in touch with our team today to speak with an expert in composite decking in Vancouver: (604) 880-6092!