Elevated decks can provide a great spot for entertaining, relaxing, or simply enjoying the outdoors but many homeowners question whether their decks are sturdy enough to support large groups of people or even added design features. Since elevated decks are often suspended a full floor or two above the ground, it’s imperative that homeowners understand their decks’ weight limitations to avoid potential damage or injury.
The average elevated deck can support between 50 and 100 lbs per square foot, so a 10×10 deck it could theoretically hold up to 1,000 pounds. However, this number varies depending on the type of decking material, the age and condition of the deck, and how it was built. For example, a newer deck made with pressure-treated lumber should support more weight than an older deck made with cedar.
Before you decide to host the next block part from your elevated deck, take a moment to read more about weight restrictions and discover just how much weight your deck can handle. This includes outdoor furniture, added design features, and guests sitting and enjoying the outdoors from your deck.
What Do Building Codes Say About Elevated Deck Weight Restrictions?
As long as your home was built to code, you’d be surprised by how much weight a deck can support. The International Residential Code (IRC) requires that all elevated decks support a minimum of 50 lbs per square foot. This means that a 10×10 deck must be able to support at least 500 lbs, which is more than enough for most furniture, people, and even some added design features.
However, it’s important to note that the IRC is only the bare minimum requirement for elevated decks. To calculate a more accurate estimation, you should contact the builders who installed the deck and request specific details about the materials and methods used to construct the deck. They can likely provide an exact weight limit based on their knowledge of the project.
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Building Materials Will Affect the Total Weight Limit
The type of decking material you choose will have a direct impact on the amount of weight your elevated deck can support. For example, decks made with pressure-treated lumber can support more weight than those made with cedar because pressure-treated lumber is stronger and more durable. If you’re unsure about the type of material used to construct your deck, you can always contact the builders for more information.
In addition to the decking material, the railing, posts, and foundation must also be considered when calculating the total weight limit. For instance, a deck with a concrete foundation will be able to support more weight than one with a wooden foundation.
The same is true for railings – a deck with a metal railing will be able to support more weight than one with a wooden railing. To get an accurate estimate of your deck’s weight limit, you should contact the builders and ask for specific details about the materials used to construct the deck and how they cast the original foundation.
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How Age and Condition Will Affect the Total Weight Limit?
As a deck ages, it will inevitably start to show signs of wear and tear. This is especially true for elevated decks, which are exposed to the elements and subject to more stress than ground-level decks. Over time, the deck’s supports, joists, and railings will start to weaken, which will reduce the amount of weight the deck can support.
If you’re unsure about the condition of your deck, you can always contact a professional for an inspection. They will be able to assess the condition of the deck and provide a more accurate estimate of the weight limit. Furthermore, if you haven’t had your deck maintained recently, a professional can identify potential weak points and offer advice on how to fix the problem.
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Should You Be Concerned Above Putting Furniture on an Elevated Deck?
Most elevated decks are designed to support a significant amount of weight, which means you shouldn’t have to worry about putting furniture on the deck. However, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution and avoid putting too much weight on the deck all at once.
For example, if you have a 10×10 deck, you should avoid putting more than 1,000 lbs on the deck at any given time. This includes people, furniture, and any added design features. If you’re ever in doubt, you can always contact the builders for more information about the weight limit for your specific deck.
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Are There Any Added Design Features That Could Affect the Total Weight Limit?
There are a few added design features that could potentially affect the weight limit of your elevated deck. For example, if you plan on adding a hot tub or other large pieces of furniture to the deck, you should contact the builders to get an accurate estimate of the weight limit.
In addition, if you plan on adding a roof or other type of overhead structure to the deck, you should also contact the builders. This is because the added weight of the roof could potentially exceed the weight limit of the deck, which could cause the deck to collapse under excess pressure.
As a general rule of thumb, you should always err on the side of caution and avoid overloading your elevated deck with too much weight. If the wood were to give out, it could cause quite a lot of damage to your home and lead to physical injury for anyone sitting or standing on the deck.
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Final Thoughts on Your Elevated Deck’s Weight Limit
Generally speaking, your elevated deck should be able to support most outdoor activities, as long as you’re sensible about the total weight limit. Any deck built to code must support at least 50lbs per square foot, providing ample support for people and furniture. If you have any concerns, contact a professional and have them inspect your deck, or contact the original builders for more information.