This issue of Wood Design Focus deals with deck design and construction. One only needs to do a web
search on "deck collapse" to find that this is a critical concern in the residential construction industry.
The articles in this issue of Wood Design Focus are intended to educate and inform designers about
several current topics related to residential deck design.
Code Requirements for Design and Construction of Residential Decks - Larry Lewis
A review with comments on provisions of the 2003 International Residential Code (IRC) that
may be applied in a local jurisdiction. Designers will benefit from the practical discussion of common field
problems, which can be used to prepare deck designs that are more constructible and reliable.
For the design professional who hasn't spent a lot of time on this subject, this paper is worth its weight in gold.
Corrosion Avoidance with New Wood Preservatives - Samuel L. Zelinka and Douglas R. Rammer
Discussion focuses on products marketed for use with new wood preservatives, in lieu of using stainless steel
connectors or fasteners. With so many "corrosion-resistant" alternative products on the market, it is important
to know the fundamental principles of corrosion protection in order to make informed decisions on the safe
design of structures subject to an outdoor environment. This article focuses on considerations that need to
be made when choosing products, other than stainless steel, to minimize corrosion of metals which are in
contact with treated wood.
Residential Deck Ledger Connection Testing and Design - D. M. Carradine, Donald Bender, Joseph R. Loferski,
and Frank E. Woeste
Over the past decade, there have been numerous reports of deck, balcony, and porch failures, often resulting in
injury and/or loss of life. The primary causes for collapses are: 1) deficient connections between the deck
ledger and the band joist and related decay and 2) deficient guardrail systems and related decay and corrosion
of fasteners. The ultimate load tests of hem-fir deck ledger connections are reported. The hem-fir ledger test
results are combined with southern pine deck ledger tests to yield a table containing on-center spacing of 1/2 inch
fasteners for connecting ledgers to band joists.
Tested Quardrail Post Connections for Residential Decks - Joseph R. Loferski, Dustin Albright,
and Frank E. Woeste
Guardrails are intended to prevent accidental falls off of decks or stairs. The IRC requires a guardrail for decks
as low as 30 inches above grade because serious injuries can result from a fall. This article describes test
results from a research program conducted to evaluate guardrail post-to-deck connections being used in many
areas of the United States and to test a new connection system that would likely be judged as "code conforming"
by building officials for residential applications.
Wood/Natural Fiber-Plastic Composite Decking Products - Robert Tichy and Donald Bender
There has been a rapid emergence over the past decade of wood/natural fiber-plastic composite (WPC) products
in exterior applications such as decking, guardrail systems, and window/door lineals. This article addresses
several practical concerns related to the use of WPCs in deck applications which may impact design professionals,
building inspectors, specifiers, and plan reviewers.
Deck Inspections: A Matter of Life and Death - Anne W. West
An article reprinted from Professional Deck Builder magazine which emphasizes the importance of inspection of decks.
In it, the consequences of non-compliance with codes and standards are vividly portrayed.