As a deck builder, I find that using large timbers can transform utilitarian posts and beams into a display of craftsmanship. Structurally these decks aren’t much different from a regular deck: The log posts and rough-sawn beams support the gravity loads, and I use appropriate hardware to make connections so the assembly resists wind and seismic loads.

However, there are always challenges when you’re working outside the norm, and timber decks are no exception. To begin with, codes provide little design information, so it’s likely you’ll need to have the structure engineered. The building department may require you to have the timbers graded, which means finding a certified lumber grader. You...

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