The world is filled with technical specification requirements, commercial,
legal and government code restrictions,even engineering design demands-
all of which fall under the general rubric of “Best Practices”.

Most people in most work environments accept the value of these generally
accepted practice templates, usually based on a previous generations experience
of bitter failure from past attempts to achieve a certain desirable outcome.

Architects tell more than a few dramatically epic war stories.

For many, Boston’s John Hancock Building may come immediately to mind. CLICK LINK



But then appears today’s Exhibit A from my little world of residential
repairs and improvement- an example so far off the beaten path as to make
any carpenter question the value of code compliant design or any other generally
accepted “Best Practice”.

Forget about the absence of X braces or the retrofitted angle brackets (and bolts?)
and just meditate briefly on the location of a two story load bearing post positioned
in the middle of a 12 foot open span rim joist! Held in place by nails? Impossible to
determine from the street.

Truly this is a marvel of by guess and by golly backwoods engineering.

The ultimate Best Practices Paradox!

Given the age of materials this structure has been in service at least ten
if not twenty or even thirty years! In all that time people have used these
stairs and no harm has come to anyone.

By what magic does this deck remain upright? Surely BEST PRACTICE protocols
would predict a quick and early demise long ago!

Mortal minds will be hard put to determine whether this edifice is an example of
divine intervention or satanic interference.

But there she stands proud and unquestioned for all to see.


These composite deck boards float freely without any fasteners in two channels made from 3/4 inch treated strips.
The strips for the channel are fastened to the top and bottom rails. This was the original installation nearly ten years ago. The only change over time has been for the treated wood to acquire a weathered patina. Still solid with very little maintenance.



In a previous episode almost exactly a year ago it was hot! It was humid!

The dew point was in the mid 60’s!

Regardless, I repaired a deck in need of a long overdue refurbishment.

Click Link to yesteryear’s deck refurbishment

Imagine my surprise as I went back to the future last week when another deck
in need of a long overdue refurbishment appeared on the assignment list!

And yes, it was hot! It was humid! Summertime in Raleigh!

Yes! It was hot! Yes! It was humid! Yes! The dew point was in the mid 60’s! But this deck still needed a long overdue refurbishment…

Today, the cantilever deck is found everywhere, but back in the dark ages the design was considered to be a somewhat radical proposition.

Until I browsed through the archives, I did not realize what a diehard proponent I must have been in those early days, because most of my deck pictures, even those just a few feet off the ground, are of the cantilever variety.

The advantage, then and now, of course, is the ability to build a square frame that is more or less parallel to the attached house without corner post alignment difficulties.