CommunityCategory: CommunityThe Best Ways to Attach a Deck to Your House

The Best Ways to Attach a Deck to Your House

I’m buying a house and the inspector noted that the deck was improperly attached to the house. It is a brick veneer home and they attached the deck directly to the brick instead of making it a floating structure. Will this cause a problem with my brick along the deck area?

If I fix it, should I detach it from the brick and install a beam to support it where it is up against the house, or should I try to put anchors all the way through the structure into the basement with long bolts?

The Money Pit Answer

This is a really important find on the part of your home inspector. Improper attachment to the house is the number one reason decks fail - and they fail with alarming frequency. Typically, you use a deck every day for family gatherings. But on the occasion that there's a holiday or party, the deck gets overloaded and tragedy can ensue. The best way to avoid this is to firmly attach that deck to your house. (Here are some deck design ideas for safer structures.)

As you pointed out, there are two ways to do this. You could completely isolate the deck from the house by adding supports along the beam that attaches to the house at present. You should really do this with the help of an engineer or construction expert because it is not clear how the entire deck is put together from your question.

The other option is to attach that ledger to the building itself by the use of long bolts going all the way through that foundation wall and bolting on the other side. Mind you, that's probably the strongest way to attach a ledger. The fact that your ledger beam was attached just to the brick veneer is dangerous, and needs to be fixed immediately - before there is any opportunity for people to be gathered on it. Again, great job to your home inspector for finding it. You are absolutely right to be concerned, and this is one repair project you need to hop on right away!

Again, great job to your home inspector for finding it. You are absolutely right to be concerned, and this is one repair project you need to hop on right away!