Home Inspection Update in Covington: Before You Buy,
Make Sure You’re Playing with a Full Deck
As you examine every nook and cranny of a home you’ve fallen in love with, the deck may be one of the elements that ultimately sells you on the property. But while you’re imagining days of knocking back cold ones with friends, it’s important to make sure the deck is in top shape. Problem areas may not be readily apparent. And that’s why a home inspector should be called in long before you host your first backyard cookout.
Experts estimate that only four in ten decks are totally safe. It’s no secret that a deck collapse can cause serious injury. So, your inspector will be checking to see if the deck can support the weight of people and loads; has properly built steps and handrails; and is safe for children. During A-Pro’s 500-point roof-to-foundation home inspection, here are some of the common problems our inspectors typically encounter in regard to the home’s deck:
Poorly Maintained Wood: Unless you have a composite deck, expect your deck’s wood to suffer the effects of fungal rot. Regularly checking and sealing your deck – from above and below – will give it a longer life. The inspector will note if the deck’s wood has gone too long without proper care. Decks should be constructed with pressure-treated, moisture-resistant wood; end posts should be treated as well.
Handrail Issues: Decks are required to have graspable handrails, meaning they must be between 1½ and 2 inches wide (sorry, folks, a 2×4 or 2×6 on its side won’t do). Further, there should be a 1½ inch space between the rail and the wall.
Nails and Hanger Joists: Your home inspector will report on missing nails and hanger joists that compromise the structure. For example, the home inspector may find joists connected by nails and glue, disregarding the essential hoists and putting the deck in jeopardy.
Lack of Gaps in Decking Boards: When boards are nailed down without a gap between them (ideally a minimum of 3/8 inch), tree droppings and other debris can get lodged in between the tight spaces, speeding up deterioration and leading to water pooling.
Other issues that affect a deck include wood contact with soil, support posts that are too small, inadequate bracing and ledge board fasteners, improper attachment to the house and substandard flashing at the house, weak guardrails, failing post connections, improperly attached stairways, and other problems.