Q. We had a deck built on our house about eight years ago by an Amish crew that was building a house a couple of blocks away in our neighborhood. My husband did the drawings and pulled the permits. He ordered the materials from our local lumber company; they helped with the list of necessary stuff. They came one day with the whole crew and started working by pulling off the vinyl siding and securing the band board to the 1” foam board subsiding on the house. They then bent a metal drip cap to cover the band joist. The problem is now the band board is failing and compressing the foam board and is now tilting down causing the joists to be barely hanging in the joist hangers and pulling apart. Of course, I can’t get ahold of that crew at all. I even tried to drive up to their community to see if I could find them to no avail. Is there a simple way to fix this problem or do we have to remove the whole deck? — Kiley from rural Butler

A. Boy, folks, you are in a real pickle, and I’m surprised that the building inspector didn’t catch the fault in securing the band joist to the malleable foam subsiding.

Sometimes these things just can’t be seen by an after the fact inspection, besides building inspectors are code enforcers not quality control. Just ask a building official to tell you stories about what they see in their inspections, and you would be shocked.

No, you probably don’t need to remove the whole deck, I’m assuming. It will require some serous work though. First the first several rows of decking next to the house will need to be removed along with the bottom rows of siding including the drip cap.

Then you will need to temporarily support the deck structure from underneath so that you can cut the nails and pull out the failing band board.

Once the bad band board is removed you will want to cut out the foam board subsiding so that you can now positively attach blocking along with bolting the new band board in place. It will have to be slipped into the space once occupied by the original band board. Now you will want to resecure the joists with new joist hangers and fasteners.

Jeff Deahl is past president of the Builders Association of Northeast Indiana. Questions for the Square Corners column may be submitted to jeff@craftsman-design.com.

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