In temperate weather, the deck is often the focal point of your family’s entertainment, from cookouts to leisure. However, it often doesn’t receive the tender loving care of the rest of the home, despite its constant exposure to the elements. This oftentimes leads to extremely dangerous structural defects. If you’re interested in buying or selling a home with a deck, it helps to become familiar with what home inspectors look for in a deck.
What Does a Home Inspectors Look for in Your Deck?
Decks face the harshest elements of every season. Hot and cold temperatures cause the wood to expand and contract, gradually compromising the quality of wood and joints, and rain and snow soften and weaken the wood. Due to these influences, there are many attributes home inspectors look for, including:
- Rusted Components: The inspector will make sure the connectors, fasteners, and joists are in good shape and the nails, bolts, and other metal connectors aren’t rusted.
- Cracks and Rot: Growing cracks, cracks located between joints or near fasteners, and wood rot can reveal safety risks.
- Mold Exposure: Most decks will experience light mildew, which can be removed by washing and staining, but mold can penetrate the wood and compromise its structural integrity.
- Loose Railings: Unsteady railings can lead to serious falls. Railings must be secure using code-compliant building techniques.
- Insect Damage: While newer decks are treated with chemicals to defend against termites and other pests, older decks may suffer a pest infestation that damages the framework.
An experienced home inspector will also ensure it meets current building codes, as the deck may be old enough to outdate newly implemented codes.
Inspecting the Specs of the Framing and Footing
Beyond the aforementioned issues, two important additional factors home inspectors analyze on a deck are the framing and footing. For the framing, they will determine if the joist spacing is correct and ensure the same size and type of wood is used consistently throughout the structure. For the footing, while a home inspector is not permitted to dig, they will perform a close visual inspection to ensure the base sizes and depths of the footing adhere to regulations.
Understanding what home inspectors look for in a deck can make you aware of the accompanying hazards. That’s why when you’re looking to buy or sell a home with a built-in deck, you need to hire a trusted home inspector for the job. At the Homeinex Corporation, we include decks in our basic home inspection to ensure it’s safe for the new owners of the home. To ensure your family is safe from house hazards, contact our trained and licensed inspectors.