Atlanta Home Inspector Warns About Potential Dangers of Decks!

When you think of a home inspection, you probably don’t think about the deck. Deck structures are very important to ensure the safety of your deck, and many times are improperly installed.

A great example was found recently by Champia’s own Andrew Binosa, an ASHI Associate Inspector.

“Not having proper anchoring and support will cost you your deck,” says Binosa.

Andrew goes on to say the ledger board on this deck in the pictures is deflecting because of insufficient anchoring. “The gas pipe under it is about to be in trouble. Lag screws are undersized and it is starting to pull out.”

More than 40 million American homes have decks, making the deck a staple in American culture. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) cautions that decks need to be inspected regularly to prevent serious deck failures that could result injury or death. Decks can collapse unexpectedly. An inspection from a certified inspector can help you avoid these catastrophic accidents.

ASHI goes on to say that your deck should be inspected every 2-3 years. Most deck collapses were easily preventable and are a result of poorly built structures, aging, and neglect.

The most common deck and patio hazards often are simply the result of aging which causes wood to deteriorate and metal structures to weaken. Other areas to examine include, according to ASHI’s report:

  • Railings – By code, railings have to be between 36 to 42 inches high. Vertical rails are also required to help prevent objects from falling over the side. Railings are often the first part of a deck to deteriorate.
  • Structural joints – Decks should never be fastened to the adjacent building by nails. Although common, and illegal, this is a major indicator that the structure is not secure. The deck should be fastened with bolts. An ASHI inspector can recommend the correct type and size if needed.
  • Joist systems: These systems are the major support structures of a deck and should be installed with steel supports and ties. Over time, this system can fail allowing decks to sheer away from the home and fall straight down.

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Check back for more tips and problems to avoid on the Champia Real Estate Inspections Blog.

To schedule Andrew or one of our other experienced inspectors for your residential or commercial inspection, call us at 770-753-0767. Or visit us online, where you can schedule the home inspection yourself.

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