Calculating the load on 2x6 deck hangers.
I’m upgrading a deck that has 2×8 joists with 2×6 joist hangers that are screwed in with bugle-head decking screws. Are the 2×6 hangers OK, or should they be replaced with 2×8 hangers? Also, is it OK to remove the decking screws and use regular hanger nails to refasten the hangers?
— John Heneghan, via email
Mike Guertin: The capacity of 2×6 hangers is pretty high. The only way to know for sure is to calculate how much load is on each hanger. Determine the load by measuring the tributary area: half the distance between the ledger to the beam multiplied by the joist spacing. (For example, the tributary area of a deck with a 12-ft. span and joists at 16 in. on center would be 6 ft. by 1.3 ft., or 7.8 sq. ft.) Then multiply this area by the deck load required by your jurisdiction’s building code (typically 50 lb. per sq. ft.) The example would be 390 lb. I checked the capacity of a Simpson Strong-Tie LUS26 hanger, and it looks like it would have more than enough capacity to handle the example load.
Nails driven into the holes that were left by the old screws may not grab securely. Rather than using nails to refasten the hangers, you can use structural-connector screws such as Simpson’s Strong-Drive SD Connector screws.