By Jeff A. Mudd | Best-Rate Repair
Wonder what a deck inspection entails? Lets cover a deck inspection and the components that the inspector will be looking at.
There is a lot that goes into making sure your deck is safe. It is best to have a licensed contractor come out and inspect your deck. Here are some things to look for:
The ledger is the part of the deck that connects to the side of your house. If the ledger is damaged or weak, it could eventually cause the deck to break away from your house and collapse. This would need to be inspected to make sure that the ledger is fully attached properly. Another area that would need to be checked when it comes to the ledger is the fasteners. Some other signs to look for are rust, termite damage, wood rot.
Take a look at this video demonstrating a ledger failure. This was shot at the Deck Expo that Jeff Mudd attended. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH30w4hsge0
Over time, the ground may shift beneath your deck and/or erosion could make the footings shallow and less secure. Assess the depth and foundation of the post footings. The posts themselves will need to be inspected for any indication of rust, cracks, wood rot and or termite damage.
The posts of the deck need to be properly secured to the joists of your deck so that the entire structure is stable. Check to make sure there aren’t any signs of termite damage, wood rot or cracks. It is very important to have an inspector check to make sure that all of the nail holes are filled with fasteners and that the girders (if present) are attached properly. Knee bracing (angled brace to stop sideways movement or sway) can be a collection point for debris and the beginning of rot.
Joists are used to support the floor of the deck. The wood repair expert will make sure the joists are solid and the connectors or nails don’t show any signs of rust or corrosion. This is an area where it is harder to see the signs of damage.
The stairs and floor of the deck take the brunt of weight over time. It is very important to make sure they are solid and strong. You don’t want to risk the chance of one breaking and hurting someone. This includes checking for wood rot, termite damage, exposed nails or screws, splintering and softness due to excessive moisture. It is also important to check the gaps in the deck boards to make sure they aren’t too wide or too narrow and that they are not clogged with debris, which could lead to wood rot.
Over time damage from wood rot or termites can cause handrails to become loose. If someone leans up against a loose or weak handrail, it could give way. It is very important to test the strength of the handrails, making sure they can support the body weight of several people. Shrinkage of lumber drying out can cause handrails to become loose. Also check for cracks, rust and confirm the spacing of the rails are up to code and meet the industry standards regarding spacing and height.
If you have any questions or concerns about the safety of your deck, please feel free to call Best-Rate Repair at 619-229-0116 or visit www.best-rate-repair.com for more information.
Jeff Mudd President of Best-Rate Repair has a Master Deck Certification and attends trainings on deck safety annually at the Deck & Remodeling Expo. He has passes his knowledge on to his crew making them experts when it comes to deck safety.