Tag Archives: deck

DANGEROUS Settled Deck Support Posts Discovered!

Tim Hance with All Islands Home Inspections recently discovered dangerous, settled support posts, subsequently unprofessionally repaired, at a home inspection in the San Juan Islands. This issue was referred to a qualified contractor for further evaluation and repair prior to closing for obvious safety reasons. Thanks for watching!

VIDEO: Discovering ROT at Deck/Siding Interface

At a recent Oak Harbor home inspection, I discovered deterioration, rot and water damage at the interface between the deck and exterior siding. This interface really should be flashed with a metal flashing detail to prevent water intrusion which can lead to WDO (wood destroying insect) activity and water damage. When deterioration is presenting at this interface, there’s always the possibility of underlying structural damage not visible without invasive inspection. A qualified contractor should further evaluate, invasively, to determine the extent of deterioration and make necessary repairs.

VIDEO: Oak Harbor Home Inspection Discovers ROT at Deck/Siding Interface

At a recent Oak Harbor home inspection, I discovered deterioration, rot and water damage at the interface between the deck and exterior siding. This interface really should be flashed with a metal flashing detail to prevent water intrusion which can lead to WDO (wood destroying insect) activity and water damage. When deterioration is presenting at this interface, there’s always the possibility of underlying structural damage not visible without invasive inspection. A qualified contractor should further evaluate, invasively, to determine the extent of deterioration and make necessary repairs.

VIDEO: Unsafe deck structure

At a recent home inspection in Anacortes, I recently discovered beetle exit holes in one of the deck support posts. When I probed the post, my screw driver went directly into the heart of the post! I discovered several other deteriorated posts and beams, together with some unconventional deck construction practices, which warranted further evaluation and repair by a contractor for safety reasons

Deteriorated deck ledger

The deck ledger of this home was completely deteriorated.  Amazingly, the ledger installed wasn’t pressure treated or bolted to the home.  Because the most common point of failure for deck systems is at the ledger, e.g., where the deck abuts the home, this is a definite safety issue.  I recommended further evaluation and repair by a qualified contractor.  This was discovered at a home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island.

New deck joist hangers on old siding

New deck joists hangers were installed directly onto older wood siding, without the installation of a proper bolted 2x deck ledger at a recent home inspection in Anacortes.  The most common point of failure for deck systems is at the interface between the deck and home.  For this reason, a bolted deck ledger is advised and the deck joist hangers are attached to this instead of thin siding.  I recommended further evaluation and repair by a qualified contractor who will likely install a new deck ledger underneath the existing deck joists to the whole deck doesn’t need to be dismantled.

Handyman deck construction practices were noted at a recent home inspection in Bellingham.  Here you see deck boards unprofessionally installed over OSB sheathing at an exterior deck platform where the OSB sheathing is completely deteriorated.  OSB sheathing is not rated for exposure to the elements and will deteriorate quickly if allowed to get wet.  It certainly isn’t an acceptable material for exterior deck systems.  In this case, the deck boards will need to be completely removed, OSB sheathing removed, and then deck boards installed again.  I think in this case, the homeowner was attempting to provide shelter to the underlying exterior storage area, not realizing that it would deteriorate in short time.

Deck inspections

More than 2 million decks are built and replaced each year in North America.  InterNACHI estimates that of the 45 million existing decks, only 40% are completely safe.
Because decks appear to be simple to build, many people do not realize that decks are, in fact, structures that need to be designed to adequately resist certain stresses. Like any other house or building, a deck must be designed to support the weight of people, snow loads, and objects.  A deck must be able to resist lateral and uplift loads that can act on the deck as a result of wind or seismic activity.  Deck stairs must be safe and handrails graspable.  And, finally, deck rails should be safe for children by having proper infill spacing.  
(read full article on InterNACHI)

Creating an outdoor oasis for your home

What makes outdoor living so appealing? Being outdoors allows for a connection with nature as well as allowing homeowners to fully enjoy all of their property. It can provide an environment promoting relaxation and comfort, and even extend the useable area of a home.

To make the most of those outdoor opportunities, creating an exterior oasis can be done with some forethought and a few crucial elements. One that is often overlooked, but can really make a difference, is screening. Mesh screening stapled to the underside of the deck (if this area can be accessed) will prevent bugs fr-om crawling up through the deck’s floor. Mosquito netting or other screening around the upper portion of the deck can also provide privacy, while serving double-duty as insect prevention. Since mosquitoes and other insects can really spoil cocktail hour, here are a couple of other tricks that may keep them at bay. Strategically placing waterproof fans on the deck or outdoor patio will ‘inhibit mosquitoes for a couple of reasons. The wind stirred up by fans may make it difficult for mosquitoes to smell humans as well as making it difficult for mosquitoes to fly and maneuver. Planting flowers and other plants that are known insect repellents can also help. Some 0f these plants include basil, marigolds and lemon grass.

Comfortable seating is important, including getting rid of rickety, plastic lawn chairs. Today’s outdoor furniture is designed to be attractive, easy to lounge in a_nd weather-resistant. Adding a fire-pit is almost guaranteed to draw attention and company. Cool fall nights are nights to look forward to when there is a warm fire glowing.

There are a number of home fixes that can make the interior of the home appear to extend seamlessly to the outside. One may be the installation of sliding glass or French doors, which allows for easy entrance to the outdoor realm, as well as allow site lines that beckon outside.
Another trick is to install matching flooring from inside to the outdoors. For example, the use of the same weatherproof flooring-such as stone tile­ outside as well as indoors will unify the two spaces.

While the sun and natural light will take care of daytime lighting needs, to keep the party going into the evening requires the help of some exterior lighting. In fact, when prospective buyers are queried about outdoor features, exterior lighting is one of the most frequently mentioned requirements. Adequate outdoor lighting makes outdoor areas safer, more accessible and allows for more outdoor living. Uplighting (a bulb or light set in a cylinder or container at ground level with a beam of light directed upwards) can be used to create focal points, highlighting trees or other outdoor details. From a practical standpoint, solar or other landscape lighting will illuminate walkways, railings, stairs and doors for safe and unrestricted movement. Scones or pendants can light up patio or deck areas used for entertaining
or grilling. And strings of lights add a sense of warmth and celebration to any evening.
Finally, in an electronic age, no outdoor area can be considered finished without accommodating the needs of texters and tablet-users. To keep everyone connected, online, wireless outdoor Wi-Fi antennas can provide an extra boost of service, and solar USB charging stations will ensure all devices -as well as their owners-remain charged up. While not overtaking the market for indoor flat screens, all-weather outdoor televisions keep the games on alongside the grill.

Pool and deck safety tips

Backyard heated Swimming Pool

  1. Make sure all gates in the isolation fence for your pool are self-closing and self-latching.
  2. Remove all chairs, tables, large toys or other objects that would allow a child to climb up to reach the gate latch or enable the child to climb over the pool isolation fence.
  3. Reaching and throwing aids like poles should be kept on both sides of the pool. These items should remain stationary and not be misplaced through play activities.
  4. All pool and hot tub drains (suction outlets) must have a cover or gate that meets industry standards for suction fittings marked to indicate compliance with ANSI/ASME A112.19.8 2007. Check to see that these covers are not broken or in disrepair, and that they are anchored firmly over the drain openings.
  5. Install a pool alarm to detect accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. While the alarm provides an immediate warning, it does not substitute for the fences, door alarms and safety covers required by the code.
  6. Install either an automatic or manually operated, approved safety cover to completely block access to water in the pool, spa or hot tub. Never allow anyone to stand or play on a pool cover.
  7. Check for warning signs for an unsafe deck, including loose or wobbly railings or support beams, missing or loose screws that connect a deck to the house, corrosion, rot and cracks.