New Deck Code Confusing
The addition to the 2009 IRC about lateral load connections
for decks is confusing. Section R502.2.2.3 states that the
required lateral load connection “shall be permitted
to be in accordance with Figure R502.2.2.3,” which
shows a pair of hold-downs — one on a house floor
joist, one on a deck joist — connected by a threaded
rod. The phrase “shall be permitted” is
rather abstruse if you don’t have a legal education!
Looking at the code, you may think that these hold-down devices
are required. Combined with the requirement that the
floor sheathing inside has to be nailed at 6 inches on-center
rather than the usual 12 inches, this detail makes decks a lot
more difficult and expensive to build.
It’s a shame that this clause has clouded the really
great advance the code made when it finally included a
prescriptive fastening schedule for the ledger. Looking ahead,
this code section will most likely persuade homeowners to build
patios instead of decks.
Quick Drywall Patches
“The Eight-Hour Kitchen Remodel” (8/10)
mentions that patching holes in the drywall was one of the most
time-consuming parts of the job. On my last kitchen remodel, I
learned a great trick from the lead carpenter who, instead of
letting the electrician and plumber knock out the drywall, was
using an adjustable hole cutter — a Hole Pro
— to make access holes. He made 6-inch-diameter access
holes for the electrician and 8-inch holes for the plumber.
Then, using a scrap piece of drywall, he made perfect plugs in
a few seconds. He did the same with the access holes he needed
for installing a pocket door in the kitchen.
Facing the Future
Sometimes it seems like trade subcontractors view a new
product like SharkBites the way buggy-whip makers feared the
automobile (“Leave Plumbing to Plumbers,”
Letters, 11/10). I’m sorry, but a
code-approved connector is not inappropriate in many
situations. I often marvel at the skill and effort that went
into installing galvanized DWV pipes, yet I doubt there are
many plumbers who are eager to throw away their PVC fittings
and buy 11„2-inch dies.
Avalon Home Improvement
Your recent article on thermography (“Solving
Moisture Mysteries With an Infrared Camera,” 10/10)
was very interesting. The technique may be helpful in a
building I own. Where do you find a competent
Buena Park, Calif.
Author Peter Hopkins responds: Submit your request at
moisturefindir.com, and it will be forwarded to a technician in
A recent JLC Update newsletter referred to the truss
bracing section in the JLC Field Guide. This brought
to mind how important education is, and how good the Field
Guides are. As a contractor for over 35 years in the same
locale, I see a lot of the problem cases. It continually amazes
me how often roof and floor trusses are improperly installed.
It’s relativity simple to do it right, but to correct
problems after the home is finished can be extremely expensive.
Your guides provide a great overview. Though the information
may not be comprehensive enough for every installation, reading
the Field Guide chapter first makes it much easier to
understand a product manufacturer’s instructions.
These books are a must for anyone setting out in the light