I'm getting ready to do the deck of a second floor balcony, which I want to do in wood. I don't remember the specs from the past, and wood is not used here for construction, so I'm asking here. To make it simple, essentially the wood deck is 6' 7" wide and about 14' long. My first question is, is 2 x 6 the common material, or would 2 x 8 look better? I'm thinking 2 x 6. Second, the span between the beams is 45". Is that okay, or is it too wide? There is no feasible way to add intermediate beams. Third, humidity is a problem here. I've been led to believe that by "painting" the wood with linseed oil, then applying a second coat 6 months later, then again every year or two after that is the best way to preserve the wood, even tho you cannot paint it.
Any thought you may have would be appreciated. Thanks, lr.
Post by Tom Goodrick on Apr 6, 2011 14:44:21 GMT -5
"wood is not used here for construction" !!! That would bother me a lot.
I have a wooden deck on my house about that size that is doing well after 22 years here in hot and humid Alabama. I think the support beams are double 2x6 with flooring of separated 2x6's, flat side up. It was treated with something like linseed oil when we bought the house. It is not cantilevered.
Well, all that's interesting, Tom. What is the spacing between your doubled 2x6's? Maybe 24?" I'm thinking that 45 is okay, but would sure hate for someone to get hurt if a plank broke.
Wood here is extremely expensive. Only the wealthy use it for decoration, trim, only. Block, brick, mortar is fairly cheap, and labor is dirt cheap. So those materials are used for construction. They don't even understand wood here. No cement coated nails either. The response to my deck is typically, "Why??? Why don't you do it with steel like you're supposed to?" The rest of the houses here are typically underbuilt. 16 gauge wire is fairly common, as is 14. To them 12 ga is overkill. A typical 2 bdrm house on two floors has one electrical circuit for the entire house. No ground. Of course, the appliances here burn up frequently and the plumbing is inadequate, to put it nicely. I'm building mine to US code. I had a highly competent welder come out last week and do some welding that I couldn't. It was a holiday, he worked all day and took care of everything, and I paid him the equivalent of 40 USD. Anyway, that's another story. Any other info you come up with, or ideas, I'm totally open to them!
Post by Allen Peterson on Apr 6, 2011 18:52:01 GMT -5
Hi Lou, My 2nd story deck is 10' x 16', with 2x8 beams on 18" centers. The decking is 2x6 planks. It was built in 1987, and the wood is pine. I stain it every two years or so. It isn't covered so it gets a lot of snow in the winter and rain in the spring and fall. I live in northern Idaho. I think 45" centers is too wide. I don't understand what you mean by"There is no feasible way to add intermediate beams." Does that mean that if the beam centers can't be 45" it's no go? Allen
Thanks, Allen. The thing is the "beams" are actually steel beams that run from the other side of the house, to this side, then extend another 2 meters. There are no posts or any type of support below this end of the beams- flying beams. The only way I have to put in an intermediate beam is to weld angle iron between the beams at the house wall and also at the outside of the beams;then run smaller beams between each heavy steel beam I hope my explanation is clear. So, if 45" is too much of a span, the only alternative I can think of is to use steel, which would be 1x6 inch hollow steel as the flooring. In fact, I'm posting a photo in the Photo Section of the forum- take a look if you can. As always, I'm definitely open to ideas, etc. Lou.
Post by flaminghotsauce on Apr 6, 2011 21:29:24 GMT -5
If you're planning on just plopping boards across a 45" span, I wouldn't. If you're planning to cross those steel beams with joists, you can space them however you'd like. 16" or 24" is fairly standard, Then build the deck on top of the joists.
Now, if you have some heavy lumber, you could plop them across that 45" span. Like 2" boards that are actually two full inches thick, or thicker. American lumber is cut 1 3/4 thick for a 2 by whatever. I wouldn't use that. If you had a pile of 4x4 posts those would be super - duty.
I've seen floors built with 2x12's for joists on 12" center! You could drive cars on that. The Amish built barns with 6x6 posts, 8x8's and sometimes even bigger. You could drive a tank on some of the barn floors around here.
Post by Allen Peterson on Apr 7, 2011 0:00:58 GMT -5
Hi Lou, The picture helps some, I would like to see a view from the other side of the beams. Antway, my thinking is long these lines: 1. Weld angle brackets on each outboard end of the beams so that you could mount a 2x8 vertically across the beam ends. The top of the beam should be even with the top of the steel beam. 2. Then weld angle brackets on the inbord ends of the beams as close to the building wall as possible. Then mount 2x8 sections vertically between the beams. 3. Add 2x8 beams,centered and parallel to the steel beams, attaching them to the 2x8 beams in 1 and 2. This should give support on ~22" centers for the 2x6 decking. I think this would work. Don't forget to leave a little space between the decking planks. Allen
Lou If I was doing the deck. I would used a 3/16 or 1/4 flat the same hight as the beams and weld across the front and put the same across back in between beams. then weld a short beam in between the beams that would give you about 22inch centers.used wrought iron for the railing and 2x6 or 2x8 just for the decking. that should look good and wear well.
These sound like really good ideas. I think the question is whether to build the support structure out of wood or steel. The wood is easier for me, but I'll have to think about it. Would like to get started over the Easter weekend. I will try to get a phot up from the top side soon. In the meantime, I dp appreciate all your ideas and help! Lou.
Post by Tom Goodrick on Apr 8, 2011 6:54:30 GMT -5
Allen and Rich both have good ideas, particularly since this is a balcony. It sounds like you have some good craftsmen in the area for metal work at reasonable prices. That should do the trick - metal frame and support with wood decking. The metal for the railing is good too. I trust bolted connections for that rather than welded. From my limited metal working experience I recall drilling holes in angle iron before welding it into place. Bolting it to the protruding beams is also an option. Assuming these beams are I beams with 1/2 inch flanges, it takes a powerful drill and plenty of oil to make the holes.
Lot's of good info here- thanks so much! It appears that there needs to be a joist paralle to and between each steel beam, supported on each end by a joist running between each steel beam. The question seems to be then, steel or wood. However, I just checked and I almost have enough steel to complete the structure of joists/beams to support the wood deck, so that seems to be the way to go.
I can weld, but heavier stuff like beams and strips of steel, re-bar, etc, but am still trying to get the hang of the thinner stuff- I either burn a hole in it or don't actually get the steel to fuse, just more stick it together which of course breaks apart. I know several welders who are helping me, tho. I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. I have learned not to say, "I think it's okay." (of course, that came from my flying days)! This week and most of next week I'll be working on the roof, in two weeks I can do the balcony structure. I hope to post a photo from a different view, as mentioned by Allen. I've also picked up a few tricks, like drilling a hole in a palte to get more weld, and to usse oil when drilling- Thanks for the reminder, as I forget a lot- old habits. Lou.
Well, Hello, my Good Sir! The Easter Holidays went well for us here. My wife was glad to get her vacation (English teacher at a primary school), of course both the kids were happy, and I "never met a" vacation I didn't like!. We did make great progress on the house. Thank you very much. And you? Did you do any traveling, or what? How was the wx? Really hot here, but it's begun cooling in the last few days, as we are getting into the rain season. In fact, it rained one night last week. Will be nightly in another 3-4 weeks I suspect. Anyhow, here are three pictures:
Just an overall view looking towards the north. A road on the left goes downhill to "town" (about 300-400 families)- mostly raising fruit trees and nopales. To the right, it's all mostly hilly land to a major highway, maybe 5-8 miles away, I have to check. At the "near corner" (of the house) you can see the patio with a low wall around the two out sides. It's actually 4 x 3 meters. It leads to the front door where just inside will be the staircase to the upper level- the living room. The actual wall for the south side of the house is 5 meters ( plus 3 more for the patio).
This is taken from outside the living room looking along the balcony to the south. This is the backside of the house. The balcony is 2 x 6 meters. You get a good idea of the extended beams and type of construction typical here in MX. Slow and dirty. I do miss the wood! The yard area below the balcony from here to the south wall-property is 13 meters and is 3 meters wide. The "yard area" is/will be walled-in by a rock wall maybe 1 - 2 meters high. The back side at the wall drops off quite steeply into a small deep valley. The actual pice of land is 400 sq. meters. (paid about a thousand USD in 1995).
This may look a little cofusing. This is taken from close to the north wall of the living room, the balcony to the left and the staircase to the right- we're looking south over a rather low wall (six meters from the no. wall) that over-looks the dining-family-meeting-misc-etc room below. You can see the two large double-arc windows to the south; the two arc windows on the right over-look the patio. You probably get an idea of the roof structure, which is kind of a hodge-podge in this case (long story). You can see what are foam panels wrapped on both sides by heavy wire mesh- rather new here. I used it because it is fast, clean, and it insulates. However, towards the center part, you may be able to identify the bricks with slight arches. That is the typical method here. But it is slow and dirty. Either way, the final covering is one of number of different possible mixtures, all essentially some variation of mortar or concrete.
In the end, both inside and outer walls are covered with stucco, then painted. Sheetrock is new here, and I'm thinking about it, but there are problems, one being, they don't do a good job here and you can see all the joints after they're done. They do very good stucco work tho. Rocking is about 25% cheaper. In fact, by golly, see the last section of roof, between the steel beam and the roof? I just finished welding alternating re-bar and 1 x 1" across the span in order to support the panels. And, my welding suddenly improved about 1000% over the holidays. I was welding with the amperage lower than the pros, so, obvious problems. Now, it's like I know what I'm doing! Anyhow... lou.