As the owner of an Archadeck franchise in suburban Boston, I've been building residential decks full-time for 18 years. Usually we fasten the deck to the house with a structurally attached ledger, and the house wall provides lateral and horizontal bracing as well as vertical support. But sometimes circumstances force us to build a self-supporting freestanding deck. I don't mean that the deck is all alone out in the yard - just that it doesn't rely on the house for bracing or support. Typically, it touches the house and appears to be connected, but the framing underneath is structurally independent....

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