Home>Discussions>YARD & GARDEN>Decks, Patios, & Porches>Deck Plumbing with Sledgehammer After Completed
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MB15atoh
Deck Plumbing with Sledgehammer After Completed
MB15atoh

What is the proper way to plumb a deck after it is completed? Should a sledgehammer be used to plumb deck support beams after it is finished? Our homebuilder "plumbed" our deck support beams using a sledgehammer. Some support beams have been moved up to 4 inches (beams are not cemented in the ground). It appears to have twisted and spaced some of the wood that the deck support beams are connected too. What are the potential damage issues, if any, we may run into in the future?

dj1
Re: Deck Plumbing with Sledgehammer After Completed
dj1

It's impossible to know what's wrong with your deck, from your description.

1. "Plumb" refers to vertical position. "Level" refers to horizontal position. Don't mix the two terms.
"Post" is a vertical suport. "Beam" is a horizontal support.

2. A picture or two of what you have will help. Load pics onto a host like photobucket, then give us the link.

3. Using a sledge hammer for moving posts and beams is normal. Sledge hammer is not for demolition only.

4. You mentioned that "beams are not cemented in the ground" - maybe you meant "posts". Deck's posts should be cemented or anchored to the ground, at least in my part of the country.

5. Contact your local building dept and get their deck building guide to verify if your deck builder did everything to code or not.

6. If your deck is not to code, don't walk on it and don't let your friends on it. You will have a liability issue if it fails. I recommend to bring it up to code first.

MB15atoh
Re: Deck Plumbing with Sledgehammer After Completed
MB15atoh

I am referring to the posts and plumbing the deck posts although the beams were twisted due to the use of the sledgehammer also (when the builder plumbed the posts, the beams twisted from moving the posts).

I want to restate that the deck was FULLY COMPLETED when the sledgehammer was used. I restate this since you are the ONLY one that stated this is OK to do with a sledgehammer (of the multiple forums it has been posted on as well as specific Q&A).

Please expand on why you say it is OK to do so. And if you don't mind, please explain your qualifications as it relates to your answer.

A. Spruce
Re: Deck Plumbing with Sledgehammer After Completed
A. Spruce

Without images or a visual site inspection, we can hardly offer much opinion on the state of your new deck.

A sledgehammer is often used for minor adjustments, but whacking a post 3" or 4" to bring it into plumb is ridiculous, this is poor craftsmanship at it's finest. The posts should have been near plumb when the deck was framed, not adjusted later. The top of the post is what needs to move, since it is code in most jurisdictions that posts be held firmly captive by a footing.

As was recommended, check with your local building department for deck specifications, if your deck doesn't meet them, then your contractor is at fault and will need to rebuild the deck properly. And if this is the kind of work he does, demand that a permit be pulled for the rebuild. Unfortunately, because it was built without a permit, you may be required to tear it completely off, pay penalty fees for not having had a permit to start with, and then purchasing a permit, complete with plans and whatever other requirements your local jurisdiction requires.

While I am not a proponent of permits because they are more about producing revenue for the jurisdiction than they are about safe construction, they do work to your advantage when you hire less than qualified individuals to work on your home. Good luck, keep us informed of your progress.

dj1
Re: Deck Plumbing with Sledgehammer After Completed
dj1

If you want to use a sledgehammer to make adjustments, you make sure the beam is disconnected.

Your deck builder hammered the posts 4" while connected to the beams, after the job was completed? then he is a butcher, not a deck builder.

My qualifications? retired custom home builder, owner of a rental management co, who hates butchers.

Why did I say it's OK to use a sledgehammer? try to move a post by pushing and you see why.

MB15atoh
Re: Deck Plumbing with Sledgehammer After Completed
MB15atoh

Thank you for the replies and sorry for the miscommunication on my part.

The deck was built with a permit since the homebuilder built the deck as part of the original home build.

As you have instructed, I will look to contact the building department. Thank you, again.

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