Heavy Timber

The bottom structure of the deck relies on two very large beams to handle the long spans and cantilevers. I had some leeway on this, but decided to go at the upper end of what would reasonably fit. Modern engineering practise is always cutting it close to the tolerances of the materials, but I am a big fan of over-engineering, and we could afford to buy big timber.

6x10 beams in the back of the truck

What I considered but obviously not enough was that 16-foot long 6x10 beams weigh a ton.

Noel picked the timbers up at Economy Lumber this morning, and he also bought a few rolls of Grace Vycor Deck Protector, which is an anti-corrosive membrane that you can use between the metal connectors and pressure-treated wood. I would have preferred to use redwood for the beams but the lumber guys just laughed when I asked about it in sizes that large.

Holy cow that beam is heavy

We got the first beam in and in place without too much drama. The second one was a lot damper, which means heavier, and I just could not hold it up long enough to move it anywhere. I can lift some pretty heavy weights for somebody my size, but that was beyond me. So I got the Radio Flyer wagon and we set my end on it. I still had to lift it into place on the posts, but at least that happened during this lifetime.

Beams in place

(This photo was taken hand-held in darkness. My low-light lens is awesome.)

We just set the beams in place for now. It's supposed to start raining tonight and rain pretty much solid for a week, so we're not going to be making much progress on the deck this week.

You can see how the membrane wraps around the beam where it is in contact with the metal. When we're ready to put the joists in place, we'll cover the entire top of each beam with the membrane, as well. We've also got bolts to hold the beams in place, but lumber this heavy is going nowhere, so we decided not to worry too much about it for now. I guess we'll be doing a lot of paint stripping and wall scrubbing this weekend.

posted by ayse on 03/23/12


You can get redwood beams that large; you just have to buy another house built before 1960 and disassemble it first. :)

You DO need to bolt those beams into place as part of earthquake-proofing your deck. Just sayin'........

We need to bolt those beams in place not for earthquake proofing, but because the building code and common sense requires that the deck be fastened in place. We just don't need to bolt them right now, in the rain, to keep them from moving in the high winds we're supposed to get this week. There was never any plan to leave part of the deck unconnected.

You DO need to bolt those beams into place as part of earthquake-proofing your deck. Just sayin'........

Actually, Gayle, I was just planning on making an unfastened pile of lumber. That seemed like the easiest way to make a deck, and it saves me all that fussy nailing. Thanks for reminding me that structures need to be stuck together! I'm such a ditz I never would have figured that one out on my own! OMG, thank goodness for my readers!

Seriously, there's no need for this deck to be "earthquake proof," if that even made sense as a concept, which it does not. I don't know what you're going on about.

Wow, your low-light lens *is* awesome. Do you have a post where you mention what camera equipment you use? We're sort of in the market right now.

And I totally think you're on the right track with the pile of lumber technique. Nails are for those who lack faith and gumption.

OK, I will do a post on the photography equipment we use this week. :) I'm in no way a photography geek, but I'm pretty happy with the choices I made about this stuff a while ago.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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