Woodwork

Building Codes for Decks in Michigan – 4 Tips to Consider

Do you know there are building codes for decks in Michigan? Yes! There are permits that guide the construction of decks and stairs in every state in America. And Michigan isn’t an exception.  Therefore, homeowners have to observe all safety rules.

Building codes are not just rules put on Michigan dwellers for the sake of it. They are actually for safety purposes made to keep both young and old safe, even in not-so-friendly weather, which leaves the floor slippery.

What is a Deck?

A deck is an exterior floor framework upheld by at least two opposite adjoining structures or posts, docks, or other free supporting frames.

It is advisable to build decks according to specific codes to guarantee safety for all who use or live in the home with decks.

It is crucial to consider safety when building decks, especially in cold areas such as Michigan. This act increases the life span of the wood and curtails injuries from slipping during the winter months.

As there are codes for building other part of the house in Michigan, the deck isn’t an exemption.

Requirements for Building a Deck in Michigan

So, what are the codes guiding the building of decks in Michigan?

Let’s see.

1. The Deck

The Deck - building codes for decks in Michigan
Image from Pixabay
  • Build your decks according to the current Michigan building codes.
  • The decks should at least support a 40-pound live load.
  • Materials used for the building of decks must be naturally rugged or from treated timber.
  • Use galvanized Clips in construction or use other corrosion-resistant material.

2. The Material

The options:

  • Lumber treated with preservative for durability.
  • Use durable lumber.

The preservative lumber gets treated with creosote and arsenic. The natural lumbers become rot-resistant due to some chemical compounds stored in them that protect them.

These include cedars, old-growth cypress, redwood, etc.

3. The stairs

  • The step riser which separates one step from the next must be a minimum of 4 inches long.
  • The steps must be a minimum of 36 inches wide for enough space.
  • The part of the stairs your foot lands on called the tread must be a minimum of 9 inches thick. Around 1 inch of the tread should meet the riser.

4. The Handrails

  • Stairs lower than four steps may be without handrails. And above four steps must have a handrail.
  • The Handrails are expected at 34 to 38 inches away from the steps.
  • Handrails must start from the beginning of the stairs to the end.
  • And, Handrails close to the wall require appropriate spacing of at least 4.4 inches from the wall.

Other questions asked by deck builders in Michigan:

Do you Need a Permit to Build a Deck in Michigan?

Of course, just like all other states in the United States, you also need a permit to build a deck in Michigan.

The process starts with submitting to the appropriate authority an architectural design showing different parts of the deck. And these parts include beams, stairs, railings, and other things you may want to add.

The usual perception is that this process delays your project, but it’s worth waiting for so many reasons. To start, it’s the law in case of an accident, and you get fined for not following the codes. Another thing, it adds value to your property.

Do I need a Permit to add Stairs to my Deck?

You can include the stairs in the architectural design of the deck, and the permit covers everything in the design. So, you don’t need a separate authorization or whatsoever for your stairs.

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