Fixing the deck

Over the years a single 4×4 support post has been warping on the deck:

Warped 4x4

It was perfectly straight when we built the deck three years ago:

straight 4x4's

That post has been pulling its counterpart away from the house:

I went to the ol’ HoPot yesterday and bought a comealong. I pulled the warped 4×4 back enough to where I got the counterpart 4×4 close to the house again:

It’s looking a little better:


But it’s not good enough. I’m going to the HoPot today and picking up either an 8-foot 4×6 or a steel bar to clamp to the warped post to “retrain” it.

I’m hell-bent on getting that post unbent.


We went to the HoPot where I went with the 8-foot 4×6. I also picked up six heavy duty clamps that are tested at 550 lbs.

I had Elise hold the 4×6 up against the warped 4×4 post on the outside of the deck while I clamped the top and the bottom to the 4×6. Here you can see how badly the 4×4 is warped (keep in mind that the post is still being pulled 3″ toward the house with the comealong):

Clamps are in place and I’m starting to straighten out the warped 4×4:

And now I’m happy that I have a straight 4×4 post:

It's straight!!!

Now to do a little research to see how long I need to keep my 4×6 brace clamped to the 4×4.

6 Replies to “Fixing the deck”

  1. Hi Josh,

    Posts usually bend towards the sun. The sun-exposed part dries out more than the shaded parts. The drier part of the wood becomes shorter, so it bends in that direction. I have 100’s of 4×4 fence posts to prove my theory (I now only use 6×6’s, and they are affected less.

    Anyway, if you coat the side exposed to the sun with something… Linseed, varnish, wax, etc, the coated side won’t dry as fast and the warpage will be reduced.


  2. What’s the status of the 4×4’s now? straight? Or did it warp again after removing the 4×6?

  3. Steven,

    It went right back to it’s warped shape. :-( Luckily it’s only cosmetic, and we’re used to it being warped. Maybe one day I’ll replace the entire 4×4.

  4. The real problem is that you used a 4×4 for a job that required at a minimum a 6×6. The distance from the ground to the ceiling is way too far for a 4×4 to span without bowing. Scale wise this looks bad and is done to be on the “cheap”. If you box all of those 4×4’s in with 2×6 boards all the way around, it’ll not only look better because of the scale, but you can also fix the bowing timber permanently.

  5. I just built a privacy fence and my 4×4 warped 1 month after I built it. I had the same idea you had, but if its just going to warp right back again I guess I’ll have to replace it instead. Thank you for posting your story and pictures. You probably saved me a lot of grief.

  6. Like Eric
    A 6 week old 4×4 bowed out 4″.
    I just took the picket off .
    Poured water on the 4×4
    And covered it from the sun

    We’ll see

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