Can we lower a deck after it is built?

by Marie
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Our two tier deck is in the mid stages of completion. Now that the cedar deck boards are being installed I'm realizing that the lower level is too high for any privacy in our suburban Toronto backyard (our grade is higher than the neighbors behind us).

The upper level deck coming off the mudroom door is about 54" high and must stay as is to clear a basement window. We have built the lower level around 42" high with the intention of having one step down from the patio doors off the kitchen.

Is it possible to lower the whole lower level (around 16x13ft) to no more than 2'off ground now that most of that deck is complete and beams are cemented in the ground?

The deck is attached to the house and we have used 2 x 6 PT joists. If its possible to fix this, I'll try to hire someone to make the changes as I think my father-in-law might have a heart attack after all the work he's put into this deck. At least there are no stairs yet (o:

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May 13, 2021
Must lower 4 inches NEW
by: Susan W

I am stuck having to lower a huge deck are over 1000 feet due to patio doors rotting. What is the best process?

Aug 21, 2020
Update NEW
by: Marie

Original poster here. Just wanted to provide an update. We didn’t end up lowering the deck and rather waited for the cedar hedge to grow taller. We also planted another couple of trees at the side to give more privacy. Have also since sold the house.

Aug 21, 2020
Lower Deck - Glass Railings & Composite NEW
by: Danielle

Do I need to remove the glass railings and composite on my deck before lowering the deck by 3 inches to 6 inches? Do I need to move ledger board too?

Aug 15, 2017
Follow up
by: Sabina

Hi! I'm having the same issue with my deck in Hamilton just wondering what you ended up doing to get your deck lowered (process it took).

May 15, 2011
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much....I may get an estimate to see if it would be worthwhile. Its now or never....

May 14, 2011
Yes your deck can be lowered with a lot of effort
by: Editor - Rich Bergman

You have just described a major repair job. The answer is absolutely yes. But not without some intense labor involved and some advanced construction techniques.

This is an unfortunate situation that your lower deck is not low enough. When I design and build for someone one of the first things I do (did) was take a photo of the area against the home and then do perspective sketches of the proposed design to give the homeowner a true sense of what the final deck is going to look like.

You can do this over and over again for virutally no cost. In fact some guys are very proficient using a number of the deck cad software avaiable and that does an even better job. Bottom line is make sure the customer can really see and feel the finished product before a penny is spent.

Now you have a major repair job and here is how I would envision making this happen. None of which is going to be cheap or easy.

The entire lower deck has to be detached from the ledger, the beam to support post connectors have to be removed and any screws or nails attaching the beams to the posts have to be severed with a reciprocating hack saw blade.

The entire structure has to be temporarily supported safely and then the top ends of the support posts have to be carefully and precisely cut at a shorter height.

This is advanced carpentry and not something an amateur should attempt. Once all the support posts have been lowered to the correct height and all the posts are now within a very tight tolerance to each other the deck can be slowly lowered so the beams rest back on top of the posts, into new or reused post to beam brackets or however you had them attached before.

The key here is finding someone who is very experienced who can do the job quickly and efficiently to save time which is money. No easy fix here. I am sorrry to say. But the deck can be lowered after built if you really want to.

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