The interesting thing about this deck is that it was a bit overbuilt but then they cheaped on other things. The joists are 2X10, very large for a structure only 24" off the ground (meaning using more posts wouldn't be unusual, then use 2x6). The beam supporting the joists was about 10' from the house, with about 6' of cantilever, which was why they used such large stock. The chevron design was probably an afterthought since the joists were 16" OC, standard for a chevron is 12" (I designed the CA deck with a chevron pattern and the joists were properly spaced, I looked it up). The planking was the standard 5/4 x 6" treated but it had never been sealed or painted and had warped, cracked, and discolored. Those planks are going to be recycled into raised garden beds so they're being removed with care. The ledger (beam attached to the house that the whole deck hangs off of) was only bolted once every two feet and had no flashing. I've always used two lag screws set vertically between every other joist, but it seemed secure. Since it's attached to brick, maybe there's no need for traditional flashing but a good bead of silicone would keep the water from getting behind the board and causing problems. There was a funky space between the ledger and front door threshold that we decided would be sealed with insulating foam and proper flashing. Thankfully, there were no crazy surprises, like the rotted walls in my master bath, so after one day of work, we had the deck to a place where bunny's husband could continue on his own. We chose the joists to keep and cut them to 5' long. Removed the end joist, which was improperly installed and about to fall off anyway, recut and rehung it with a corner brace for good measure. Using a circular saw, the other end of the ledger was cut in two places and we removed a chunk so the other end joist could be installed. Once the depth of the deck was established, we realized it was only 15" or so from the deck surface to the ground. It was decided that a separate step would be built after the ground was leveled a bit, being installed on precast cement footers sunk into the ground. The deck itself would be supported by posts though and I let bunny's hubby have the joy of digging the holes. He did three, one on each corner and a center one. The deck ended up 8' wide so having three posts was probably overkill (that word again!) but, hey, that seems to be my MO. The only real glitch was when the first hole was being dug, a cement block was in the way. No problem, dig it out and continue, right? After way too much digging, Bunny's hubby discovered it was multiple blocks, cemented together, at least 24" deep. The solution was to remove the end joist and move it over 5" making the deck less wide but clearing the cement blocks. Everything was leveled, plumbed and perfect and we stopped for the day. The intention was to get the end board installed and the deck bolted to the posts and ready for planks the next day but we were foiled by rain. I left that day after assurances the rest could be done without me.
There's a ton of work to still be done before this deck will be ready for flower pots and stain, like removing the old deck and picking out all the rubbish that was tossed under the old deck.
We found a fork, a submarine and other toys, cement blocks, rocks, and general trash. Bunny and I went to Art school together and we both have the imagination to look at the scary state the front it currently is in and see a cute deck with planters on both sides, specimen trees and beautiful plants along a welcoming rounded path to the front door. The reality is it might take a couple of years (for the landscaping) but imagination is a serious motivator.
There are many good books on deck building, giving spacing for joists and posts and beams depending on the wood available locally -yellow pine, doug fir, etc- I highly suggest using one as a reference if building a deck. The first deck Wino and I built was at ground level but I still used 4 different books as reference.