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Bracing (13)


OK, here's where we separate the "boys from the men". If you've shopped around and looked at other deck books, you've probably noticed that those "other" books either don't talk about bracing or provide the most obscure of recommendations. At best, they'll show you a couple of bracing pictures accompanied by a brief paragraph that says in effect "bracing is good".

That's all nice but when is bracing needed and how much? Is all bracing the same? What's the best way to attach bracing? What size bolts are required and how close can the bolts be to the ends and edges of the lumber...?

Well, you get the point. Now we understand why those other books shy away from giving bracing specifics. Designing for dynamic wind and people loads is tough. It depends on a lot of factors like the size and the height of the deck, the topography of the land, the local landscaping, how the deck is built, maximum wind speeds, and so on. It's not easy coming up with generalized recommendations.

Nonetheless, BestDeckSite has developed complete and detailed bracing recommendations. To get you started, if your deck meets all of requirements listed below, you don't need any bracing at all. For more information on how much embedding posts helps reduce the need for bracing, how to brace freestanding decks, and the types/installation of bracing, look over the section on deck bracing.

Deck Bracing: Attached Decks Without Embedded Posts

Bracing is not required if ALL of these conditions are met:

  • The deck is attached to the house

  • The deck is less than 4 feet tall

  • The deck does not project more than twice the length of the attached side away from the house

  • The deck is less than 20 feet deep – the distance from the house to the deck’s edge

  • The deck is not in an area that is at risk of being hit by really strong winds or earthquakes

  • The deck is not on a steep slope

Note: While embedded posts are not required, doing so will clearly add lateral (side-to-side) rigidity and resistance to high wind uplift. To read more about wind uplift, checkout the sizing overview section.

When we committed to the creation of BestDeckSite, we decided to complete and high quality information on deck and gazebo building. If you want to know all about bracing your deck, gazebo, or roof, we've written separate sections on each of these topics to help ensure your structure is still standing even after the worst of storms. For full access to all of this great information, please see the Get A Password page.



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