Deck question

I didn’t feel good about a recent deck I inspected. The deck ledger was fastened to the house using nail, big no no. Also, the joist did not rest on any post but were attached to the post to beam connection via fasteners. I know you can use joist fasteners at the ledger board, but is it okay to secure the other end of the joist to the post to beam connection via joist hanger? My gut tells me no. The owner (my Aunt, this was a mock inspection) said the deck was built that way when they bought the home brand new 13 years ago. One picture shows the ledger board as secured to the house with nails and supporting the joist with fasteners. The other photo shows the other end of the joist where it attached to the post to beam connection. I should note the post to beam connection had a horizontal crack running the course of the beam as well.




Look at it this way… the only reason that joist connection hasn’t already failed is due to the joist hanger being used, so with that being said, yes, it is not only okay, it is encouraged and typically required!

Now… it’s time to repair that damaged board as the nails are pulling free from it’s moving around. I suspect it should have some bracing that wasn’t installed. Your Aunt owes you a thank you for discovering the issue before someone gets injured.

Thanks Jeffrey!

Joist hangers are designed for that purpose and are ok. The “crack” sounds like a check, and probably isn’t a concern, but we would need pictures.

Checks form as the outside of the timber dries quicker than the inside.

Although “checks” are generally not a concern, they ARE a concern when they affect the integrity of the structure, such as shown in pic #2, which is why ‘green’ lumber is not recommended, and usually not spec’d, for ledger boards, (built-up) beams, and other specific areas. Now-a-days, more and more “Dried” lumber is being used for homes. Old school methods of ‘green’ lumber is finally dying a slow death.

I thought photo 2 was of a beam. How would you determine if it was affecting the structural integrity? It looks minimal compared to many checks I’ve seen.

Check those nails in the hangers, the manufacturer calls for a specific type and length of nails in different locations, Usually they are marked on the head. Most of the time I see the wrong nail type and not enough nails. Sometimes you can’t tell other times its easy such as with roofing nails.

Picture 2 is of the beam. The nails holding the ledger board to the house are of the most concern to me with regards to safety, as shown in the first photo.

I agree the nails affixing the ledger to the home are a real concern, but do not discount the issue at the beam. All things being equal, from the indicators in your photos that are evident to any qualified inspector, the beam end may fail first, thus causing the ledger connection to fail in domino effect. Whichever fails first, the fact remains, failure will occur. Repair now before someone gets seriously injured or worse!