Received a phone call today regarding ledger bolts being used to attach a deck to a house instead of lag bolts.

Here is what I found;

Many years ago it was standard practice to attach a deck to a house using nails and for years there were no real issues. However as time went on the wood would swell from moisture and then dry out and shrink. This process created three issues: 1. As wood swelled, the movement will cause the nails to back out of the lumber much like what we still encounter with our deck floor when it is installed with nails. 2. The swelling and shrinking would loosen the nails in the sub structure to the point they would no longer hold the deck tight to the side of the house. 3. The moisture around the nails would cause corrosion and the nails would deteriorate and become loose.

The unfortunate part is many decks collapsed and a lot of people got hurt. It took some time to adjust our practices and we now know that safest and long term method of attaching a deck to a home is with bolts and the most and most recognize method is lag bolts.

In today’s market there are other alternatives like LOK Line. They manufacture a full line of bolts designed for many applications of which is especially for attaching decks to homes. The 2009 and 2012 IRC (International residential Code) section R502.2.2.1 requires galvanized lag screws or bolts.

LedgerLok bolts meet the above criteria and were approved under ICC Acceptance Criteria AC233 (ESR #1078).

Sorry I got technical there and no I am not a code inspector and during a home inspection I do not inspect for code. My research has shown that using the LedgerLok bolts to attach decks to homes in old construction is an acceptable alternative to lag bolts. In new construction I would direct your questions to your local code officials.

How is your deck feeling today? Saggy, droopy, ready to give up?

Please check, the fourth of July is close at hand.

Tune in next time.