How to Install a 6×6 Wood Deck Post

Today I’ll raise the deck with a hydraulic jack, install the new 6×6 deck post with steel connectors and remove the temporary support post to repair the sagging wood deck. This project is continued from How to Pour a Concrete Deck Post Footer.

How to Install a 6×6 Wood Deck Post

I hand picked a 20 foot long #2 Pressure Treated Southern Yellow Pine 6×6 inch post at the lumber yard that was very straight with few knots. After waiting a couple of weeks for the post to dry (pressure treated lumber is wet from the wood preservatives), I brushed on two coats of Sherwin-Williams Deckscapes® Exterior Oil Toner Stain in the SW 3553 Redwood color. It’s much easier to stain the post while it’s on the ground.

After carefully measuring at least 6 times the required post height from the Simpson Strong-Tie PBS66HDG Standoff Post Base with a long aluminum straight edge held against the top of the other deck post and 5 foot long spirit level at the deck corner (a string line level will also work but I wanted greater accuracy), I marked and sawed the 20 foot long post to 14 feet 9-3/4 inches using my DeWALT compound miter saw. The saw blade wasn’t large enough to cut all the way through the thick post in one pass, so I turned the post over and completed the cut:

Sagging Deck Repair - Saw 6x6 Deck Post

Sagging Deck Repair – Saw 6×6 Deck Post

I brushed on several coats of Copper-Green Brown Wood Preservative (10% copper naphthenate) on both ends of the 6×6 post as required for all field cuts, notches and holes per the Georgia Amendments Prescriptive Deck Details based on the 2012 International Residential Code. I’ve partially brushed on the preservative in this photo:

Copper-Green Brown Wood Treatment on 6x6 Deck Post

Copper-Green Brown Wood Treatment on 6×6 Deck Post

Install Simpson Strong-Tie ACE6Z End Post Caps

The 6×6 corner post will be fastened to the 2×10 deck beams with Simpson Strong-Tie ACE6Z End Post Caps and SD #10 x 1-1/2 inch structural wood screws. Note the ACE6Z must be installed in pairs and come in Left- and Right-Hand versions:

6x6 Deck Post: Simpson Strong-Tie ACE6Z End Post Cap and SD #10 x 1-1/2 inch screws

6×6 Deck Post: Simpson Strong-Tie ACE6Z End Post Cap and SD #10 x 1-1/2 inch screws

The end post caps installed on the 6×6 deck post. The darker end is where I’ve painted the post with the Copper-Green Brown preservative:

Install Simpson Strong-Tie ACE6Z End Post Caps

Install Simpson Strong-Tie ACE6Z End Post Caps

Stand-up the New 6×6 Deck Post

Warning: If the next steps are not done correctly or if your deck is structurally unstable it can result in deck collapse, severe injury and/or death. Hire a professional deck builder if in doubt.

My helper and I set the 6×6 deck post on the Simpson Strong-Tie Standoff Post Base PBS66HDG, however the notched 4×4 guard post was blocking the ACE6Z post caps. I took a few minutes to remove the old 4×4 guard post that was nailed to the corner of the deck. You’ll see this detail in the last photo in this article.

The end post caps automatically seat the deck post with the 2×10 beams as the post is pulled inward, but I was concerned the post can tip out and fall away until the deck is lowered onto the post if we’re constantly holding the post steady. As a safety precaution, I climbed the ladder and screwed a 1×2 guard to the inside post face. The guard will catch against the 2×10 deck beams to prevent the post from tipping too far over and falling.

6x6 Deck Post and Guard with Simpson ACE6Z End Post Caps

6×6 Deck Post and Guard with Simpson ACE6Z End Post Caps

Fasten the Deck Post to the Simpson Strong-Tie Standoff Post Base

I hadn’t thought about the challenge of drilling an accurate hole through the 6×6 post to install 8 in x 1/2 in galvanized bolts in the standoff post base. This is one of those situations where you only get one chance to get it right and I didn’t think I could drill the holes without a drill guide. For now, I fastened the PBS66HDG standoff post base with SD #10 x 1-1/2 inch screws. This is a temporary solution and will not pass the Building Inspection because the deck building code requires 1/2 inch bolts with washers and nuts.

Deck Post Fastened with Screws to Simpson Strong-Tie Standoff Post Base PBS66HDG

Deck Post Fastened with Screws to Simpson Strong-Tie Standoff Post Base PBS66HDG

View of the new 6×6 deck post after fastening it with screws to the standoff post base. The deck was raised higher than the 6×6 post and is supported by the temporary support post I built with 2x6s and 2x4s:

Sagging Wood Deck Repair - Install new 6x6 Deck Post

Sagging Wood Deck Repair – Install new 6×6 Deck Post

Jack up the Deck, Remove the Temporary Support Post, Lower the Deck on the New 6×6 Post

I first removed the screws in the 2×6 brace which fastened the top of the temporary support post to the 2×10 deck beams.

The jack post is set next to the new 6×6 post then the deck is raised with the 6 ton hydraulic bottle jack only enough to take the load off the temporary support post. Aside: The cable winch is still pulling the deck together.

Sagging Deck Repair - Raise Deck with Jack to Install New 6x6 Post

Sagging Deck Repair – Raise Deck with Jack to Install New 6×6 Post

Closeup of the hydraulic bottle jack raising the deck:

Install New Deck Post - Raise Deck with Jack to Remove Temporary Support Post

Install New Deck Post – Raise Deck with Jack to Remove Temporary Support Post

With the jack taking the load off the temporary support post, I removed the Tapcon concrete screws from the post base and we took down the support post. I gently lowered the jack until the deck was resting on the new corner post while my helper on the ground pushed the new 6×6 post inward against deck so the Simpson post caps were flush against the 2×10 deck beams.

We next took down the hydraulic jack and jack post. I then fastened the Simpson Strong-Tie ACE6Z End Post Caps to the 2×10 deck beams with SD #10 x 1-1/2 inch screws:

Sagging Deck Repair - New 6x6 Post and Concrete Footer

Sagging Deck Repair – New 6×6 Post and Concrete Footer

Closeup of the Simpson Strong-Tie ACE6Z End Post Caps. I’d already soaked the 2×10 beams and nail holes with the Copper-Green Brown wood preservative:

Corner 6x6 Deck Post with Simpson Strong-Tie ACE6Z End Post Caps

Corner 6×6 Deck Post with Simpson Strong-Tie ACE6Z End Post Caps

Looking down from the deck at the new concrete footer, 6×6 deck post and end post caps:

New 6x6 Deck Post with Simpson Strong-Tie PBS66HDG Standoff Post Base and ACE6Z End Post Caps

New 6×6 Deck Post with Simpson Strong-Tie PBS66HDG Standoff Post Base and ACE6Z End Post Caps

Next I’ll drill and install the 1/2 inch bolts in post base in How to Drill Accurate Holes for Deck Post Bolts.

Take care,

Bob Jackson

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2 Responses to How to Install a 6×6 Wood Deck Post

  1. Larry A December 9, 2015 at 9:05 am #

    I can find nowhere that placing the 6″ x 6″ under the band and tying it together with a plate is allowed in the IRC. It seems clear that one is expected to notch the posts, place inside the band, and bolt through with 1/2″ galvanized. Would this be a State by State issue, or is the deck shown built out of compliance?

    • Bob Jackson December 9, 2015 at 9:42 pm #

      Hi Larry,
      That’s right – the deck is out of compliance per the current Building Code.

      The house and deck were built in 2000 way before the 2009 IRC which (implicitly) prohibits the placement of support posts at the corner and toe-nailing the beams to the top of the post. Because my project was a repair and due to the way the deck was originally built using outdated methods, it was grandfathered in. The only way to completely bring the old deck fully up to the current Building Code would be to demolish the deck and rebuild from scratch. So I repaired it while complying with the current code when possible (e.g. footings, stand-off post base) and improved but not code compliant techniques (Simpson Strong-Tie post caps) when compliance was not possible.

      For new construction it is required to fully comply with current Building Codes based on the 2012 IRC. I live in Georgia which published the 2014 IRC Prescriptive Deck Details. See FIGURE 11: POST-TO-BEAM CONNECTION OPTIONS on page sheet 8 for the construction method you described.

      As a new construction example that must comply with the 2012 IRC and 2014 Georgia amendments:
      I tore down the two flights of rickety deck stairs & landing, and am in the process of rebuilding the structure with new post footings per the current code. See the Wood Deck Notched Post to Beam Connection photo for the correct construction method.

      Thanks,
      Bob

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