• 888-750-4777
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1

TOPIC: Deck Safety - Don't Trust What You See

Deck Safety - Don't Trust What You See 9 years 3 months ago #33573

We home inspectors have lots of message boards and ways to communicate with each other.  And we do!  We send around photos and report verbiage and ask advice of each other all the time.

Another thing we do is pass around photos of schlock work and we all laugh at some of the unbelievability of what we see!  But even we jaded home inspectors understand safety, and you should know that it is a big part of what we do.  Some of the things we report may seem innocuous and insignificant, like, "There is no anti-tip device installed behind the range," or something along those lines.  While those things may sound stern and nit-picky, they really are safety commentaries.

My post the other day about the Deck Trampoline may have seemed ridiculously funny and the title delivered the post in a funny way.  But it really is a safety issue.  That deck provided fodder for a dozen posts, which I won't do.  My advice for whoever buys that house (because my clients wisely ran away like scared little girls) is to rip it down.  It is unsafe.  And I'm not just talking about the deck!

Sometimes things aren't as they appear.

My routine when I walk out onto a deck is to push on the guardrails.  Why?  Because we all have the habit of leaning on a rail when we are next to one.  I am checking on the safety of the rail.

If it is wobbly my job is to determine why.  The rails on this deck were extremely weak and wobbly.

Look carefully at this corner post.  There is a lot wrong here.

The decking is notched around the post.  The lower guard rail is inappropriately attached (as was the top rail).  The balusters are nailed on with one nail, and all were rusting, which indicates interior nails were used.  All of that is not, what we call, "best practice," and screams unprofessional work.

When something is unprofessional on a deck, mostly everything else will be too.

But why the wobble?

The notched post is an indicator that the deck is not secured properly to the post.  The connection should be a through bolt.

On this deck, the connection on both sides was provided by three nails!  And they were rusting too! Exterior applications should always use nails, or screws, or bolts - materials - that are made for outdoors use!

But look at the bottom of that corner post!  It is merely resting on top of the deck column!  There were seven guardrail posts and ALL were installed this way.

The deck is only 5' off the ground.  BUT IT IS STILL DANGEROUS!!  And dangerous for anybody!

My recommendation: You know what happens when we assume.  When you see a deck, don't assume it is correct unless you have a home inspector look at it first!  Every year we hear the stories of a deck collapse and subsequent injury.  There are reasons for that.  Hire a home inspector!  Lean safely, my friend...

Attachments:

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
www.jaymarinspect.com
Northern Virginia Home Inspector
Festina Lente - Make Haste Slowly

Re: Deck Safety - Don't Trust What You See 9 years 3 months ago #33577

Please Log in to join the conversation.

The Charlotte Home Inspector
www.thecharlottehomeinspectors.com
Home inspections in Charlotte, Monroe, Mooresville, Gastonia, and Concord.
Meta Key: Charlotte Home Inspection, Mooresville Home Inspector, home inspection in Monroe, Gastonia home Home Inspections in Charlotte, Mooresville, Concord,...

Re: Deck Safety - Don't Trust What You See 9 years 3 months ago #33581

It was like that on all seven 4x4's!!

Look carefully - that isn't a cut in the 4x4.  It is different 4x4 guardrail post set on top of the 4x4 deck column.  You can tell if you look at the grains in the wood.

Please Log in to join the conversation.

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia
www.jaymarinspect.com
Northern Virginia Home Inspector
Festina Lente - Make Haste Slowly
Last Edit: by Jay Markanich.
  • Page:
  • 1
Time to create page: 2.374 seconds
Q
© 2004-2019 Home Inspector Pro Inc. All Rights Reserved.