Installing a deck ledger on an older home where the door onto the deck is only a few inches above a skinny 4x6 sill can be challenging enough. Set that sill on top of an old rubble stone foundation that’s impossible to anchor anything to, and some guys might be wishing they hadn’t taken on the deck job in the first place. That was the situation I ran into on a recent project.

In the past, I’ve anchored ledgers to solid concrete or brick foundations using specialty fasteners such as Tapcons, but the foundation stones on this house were large and nearly impossible to drill into. Also, the mortar around the stones was in bad shape. I couldn’t have anchored a ledger to the foundation even if I’d wanted to. The worst...

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