Can I tie a hammock (with a rope) to deck posts instead of a tree???

I just built a deck and I dont want to damage it, and I dont have large enough trees....but I have a hammock! I wanna use it (please dont tell me to buy a stand....)...any tips????

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MarianneJ41 year ago

I have posts 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 also locked in at the top because I have a roof attached. ...should this be strong enough?

mikeasaurus8 years ago
I'll go against Gorfram and cookiemonster here and say this is a bad idea. You deck posts are strongest when taking a direct load (directly on top of post) or a load from the railing (which would be dissipated along the entire railing and picked up by the posts), not a lateral load from a hammock.

I understand that much depends on the size of the posts and how they are attached to the deck/building and/or railing design, but in many cases the posts are not designed to take such an exaggerated lateral load. For a deck post to safely accommodate a hammock there would need to be further support on the top to prevent the weight from toppling the deck post.

I can't stress enough though that deck design and post size dictate most of this. I hope your hammock works with your deck, just be safe!
"For a deck post to safely accommodate a hammock there would need to be further support on the top to prevent the weight from toppling the deck post."

That sentence points out an ambiguity here:
Are we talking about the deck posts that are underneath the deck, supporting the weight of the deck & its occupants; or are we talking about the rail posts, which are above the deck supporting the hand rail?

I've added a cautionary comment to my original Answer, in case the Asker was thinking of the handrail posts. Slinging a hammock from them without carefully distributing the load would indeed be a Very Bad Idea.

But if we're talking about attaching a hammock to the deck support posts, I will stand by my original answer as long as the deck (and its support posts) meet the building code.

To meet the 2006 International Building Code (which, although not internationally binding, is what most state and local Building Code are based on), a deck on a one- or two-family residential dwellings must support a combined load which includes:
  • 40 pounds/square foot of deck surface area
  • the full weight of the deck itself,
  • rain, snow, wind, flood and earthquake loads
  • contraction or expansion loads due to thermal & environmental factors
In theory, a properly designed Code-compliant deck would not fail during an earthquake that occurred in the middle of a flood accompanied by high winds and with the deck covered in wet snow. (In practice, I'd buy the flood and earthquake damage insurance anyway. :)

Any post or column is designed to resist buckling forces, which are structurally modeled as a lateral load applied at the column's midpoint. The scope of the combined live loads described above should greatly exceed the 100-150 lbs that a hammock could expected to exert on each of two attachment points.

Admittedly, this is in excess of the design load: if the Asker were to have a party on the deck during the above-mentioned combined earthquake-flood-rain-snow-wind worst case scenario, I would recommend against using the hammock during that event. :)
I accept.
Gorfram8 years ago
As long as your deck is reasonably sturdy (it meets your local Building Codes, right?), and the combined weight in the hammock never exceeds a couple hundred pounds, it shoud be no problem at all. In fact, deck posts are often a better choice for hammock-slinging than a tree is. You could even install hooks for the hammock at just the right place on the deck posts.
Curious.
just wondering how deck posts would be a better choice than a tree? Assuming the tree and post in question were the same size, the tree is anchored more securely (roots) and is also designed to take lateral loads (wind), a deck post is not.

Can you expand you answer?
Mostly because it's better for the tree: hammock slinging can damage a tree's bark; and sometimes the underbark layer that delivers water and nutrients to the tree - messing up too much of that is catastrophic for the tree

And while the Asker is not dumb enough to do this, slinging a hammock from too small a tree could stress and ultimately damage the root system. (And what he's really not dumb enough to do is drive an iron or steel hook directly into the tree trunk, which would sooner or later poison the whole tree.)

interesting how you were looking at it from the tree's health standpoint and I was looking at it from a structural standpoint. Your words about tree preservation deserves some careful thought by all those who wish to tie anything to flora.
Gorfram Gorfram8 years ago
Ooops! I may have misunderstood -
... Are we talking about the deck posts that are underneath the deck, supporting the weight of the deck & its occupants; or are we talking about the rail posts, which are above the deck supporting the hand rail?

...Because if we are talking about the rail posts, that is a whole different ballgame:
Do NOT attach your hammock (or anything else that could create more than a 100 lb load) to a single anchoring point on your deck railing or deck rail posts.
They're not designed for it, and they can't take it - it would be a very bad idea.

I apologize if I misled you earlier due to my confusion over which set of posts we were talking about.

yes you should be able to use the deck posts to support yoursekf as long as they are big enough!!!