What are the requirements for building a residential deck?


Click here for examples and construction tables (pdf)

Permits are required to build or rebuild decks. The permit fee is based on Table 3A, which will include labor if any. on construction cost of material and labor if any.

1. A covered deck may be constructed in the rear yard and may extend only to your rear yard set-back area.

2. An uncovered rear deck that has a height no higher than the height limitations of your zoning area may be constructed so it extends a no more than 10 feet into the rear yard set-backs area.

3. An uncovered rear deck that is no higher than 30 inches may be constructed so it extends no closer than 3 feet from the rear property line and no more than 3 feet into the required side yard set-back area.

4. An uncovered front deck that is no higher than 30 inches may be constructed so it extends no more than10 feet into the front yard set-back.

5. Any deck that is constructed in the zoning set-back area may have a guardrail or railing that is no higher than 36 inches above the deck.

6 . Any guardrail that is within 5 feet from a property line will be required to be 50 % open for visibility.

There are other rules pertaining to visibility at the corners of streets and streets & alleys. Bring a copy of your plot plan showing your lot with dwelling location shown. Indicate on it where the deck will be erected..
(Your plot plan should be with your house mortgage papers). You will need to fill out a building permit application denoting the address where the deck is being constructed (Job Address), #2 owner's name, #3 who is installing the deck (yourself or a company), #7 describe what you are building, the size, and location (Such as rear, front, or side of dwelling), #8 the valuation (cost plus labor if any), and last your signature
with date at the bottom. (The #numbers are the numbered lines on the building permit application).

You need to provide 2 copies of your plans (to scale), showing a plan view (top) and elevation view (side). You need to show the species of wood (treated, redwood, or cedar), you need to show how the deck will be attached to the building,(size of ledger board and size of lag bolts with spacing), the size, spacing, and distance of span for the floor joists, the same for the beams that will support the joists.

Show the size of the posts and location, the size and depth of the footings (minimum depth 42 inches, minimum width will be twice the width of the supported post and 6" minimum thickness)

One of the installation methods is using the pier type footing where you dig an 8" or wider hole 42" deep, widen the bottom to twice the post width diameter, fill the hole completely with concrete, set a bolt or pin in the concrete so it protrudes a few inches above the concrete, when the concrete is cured the pin will insert into the bottom of the post and will hold the post from lateral movement, also the wood will last longer above the ground. The floor joists will be supported either by 1 ½ "bearing on wood or use the proper Tyco or Simpson type joist hanger that has a support under the joists. (Not by nails only). (Tyco and Simpson are listed by name only as recognizable examples, we will accept any 'listed' joist hanger.)

Use only stainless steel, high strength aluminum, or hot dipped galvanized nails or screws. The exterior deck screws seem to be superior. Deck joists should not overhang beams by more than two feet, nor should beams overhang posts by more than one foot unless a special design is approved.

When the deck is 30" or more above the ground level you need a guardrail that extends 36" above the finished floor with all spaces or holes in the guard rail small enough so a 4" round ball will not pass though. When there are stairs, the minimum width is 36 inches. The maximum rise is 8 inches, minimum rise is 4 inches. Minimum run is 9 inches.

The largest tread width or riser height shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch. A handrail/guardrail is required when there are more than three steps (counting the top landing) The 4" spacing rule, also applies to the steps if the steps are more than 30" above the ground. The top of the handrail shall be between 34" and 38" above the front edge of the steps.

The handgrip portion of the handrail for the steps will be 1 1/4" to 2" round, however we accept a 2"x6" if laid flat.
and the corners are rounded , sanded smooth with no splinters. This would allow about 1 ½" to grip.