Triple-decker On a Victorian house is beautiful, isn’t it?
We think so too. But there is one thing most triple decks might not have: footings that can support the deck.
It is easy to see Victorian houses that were built in the 1890s, especially in the Boston area. Back in the olden days building inspection was not a requirement that the builders had to follow. That changed however, nowadays to build a deck, you will need at least one inspection - the “footing inspection”
Basically, the building Inspector is going to check the depth of the footings to make sure it is below the frost line. This requirement will prevent the deck from moving when the soil freezes in the winter. It has to be according to the minimum depth required by law in Massachusetts. So, we had this customer once, she owned a Victorian house built around 1925, and at that time when building inspections were not required by town, her father together with two other friends built, themselves, the triple-decker on the back elevation. And instead of using pier footings to support the dead load of the deck, they had simply used concrete blocks. But the blocks were not even two feet in depth, so, as the years passed by, the deck was sagging because the concrete blocks were not enough to support all the load.
After tearing down all three decks, the fun began; using a jackhammer, we broke the concrete blocks, and using a mini excavator, we dug three holes, 5 ft wide each, to set in place 3 BigFoot with a pier tube. Once everything was in place, it was time for the inspection, and since everything was according to the requirement, the building Inspector gave us the green light 🟢, so that we could finish our work. We used 48 bags of 80 lb of concrete to fill in the footings and after two days, they were as solid as a rock.
Three 14 inches by 5 feet with BigFoot footings were more than enough to support this triple-decker and the roof on the 3rd floor.
And as we all know: BUILT RIGHT, BUILT ONCE.
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