Don't Trim Those Toe Nails!

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723
http://activerain.com/droplet/4vRk

Toe nailing is a valid carpentry technique.  But for the most part it is a temporary tacking of one thing to another by nailing two things together at an angle.  Then proper attachment can be made.  Toe nailing is seldom, if ever, intended for long-term attachment or support with heavy material.

Walking around this deck, only about 4' high, I noticed that every single guardrail post had been toe nailed to the decking!

Don't trim those toe nails!

You can see how substantially attached that post is to the deck (he sarcastically notes).  Many wobbled a lot!  Rock on dude...

Despite the VERY FINE paint job, this is a huge problem.

Sure, the deck is only 4' high.  Do you want to fall 4', land on top of a broken guardrail, and land at an angle you can't control?

Didn't think so...

Where do people end up when they go out onto a deck?

The guardrail!  They lean.  They put weight.  They ASSUME it's safe.

The code would like the guardrail to easily support about 200 pounds.  That is all well and good.  But often more than one person is leaning against the rail!  Remember, the code is a MINIMUM STANDARD!  And a well-attached, or properly-attached, post can support far more than 200 pounds.  How should deck posts be attached?

There are various ways.

They can be attached on the outside of a joist, or the inside.  Two can be attached surrounding a corner.

BUT ALL MUST BE ATTACHED WITH TWO THROUGH BOLTS THAT ARE SEPARATED FROM THE WOOD WITH LARGE WASHERS.

The bolts, washers and nuts should be of the same material that resists corrosion (stainless steel, galvanized or zinc dipped).  The most common would be galvanized.

Carriage bolts are not good bolts to use!

Why?

The round head is not wide enough and when the nut is tightened the round head actually gets sucked into the wood.  And the square end under the round head does not accept a washer.  Carriage bolt use was emphasized by the engineers at my recent Strong-Tie seminar.  Carriage bolts should not be used for post or beam attachment.

There are other criteria regarding guardrails that are important, but not the point here.

Proper attachment affords strength and safety.  Safety is always the bottom line.

My recommendation:  when you see a deck, have a look!  Feel its strength as you walk on it or carefully lean on the guardrail.  Check attachments.  How does it make you feel?  And get an inspector to have a look see should you put a contract on the house!  Decks COMMONLY have problems.  You want to know what they are!

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Chris Smith 06/03/2011 08:39 AM
  2. Robert Butler 06/04/2011 03:53 AM
  3. Maureen McCabe 06/04/2011 05:12 AM
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
Groups:
Ask the Home Inspector
Professional Home Inspectors
Adventures in Home Inspecting
The Law of the Land
WeBlog Anything (almost)!
Tags:
flipping houses
deck safety
unprofessional work
improper installation
deck guardrails
carriage bolts

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Show All Comments
Rainer
176,514
Dale Samples
304.741.4705 • www.dalesamples.com - Charleston, WV
REALTOR -Homes for Sale Charleston, West Virgini
Did you get the name of that painter? Classy work!
Jun 04, 2011 05:01 AM #35
Rainmaker
1,316,773
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
I started to lean against a rail the other day and decided to stand straight instead. Never know if it is secure or not.
Jun 04, 2011 07:18 AM #36
Rainmaker
191,849
Gregory Bain
Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
For Homes on the Jersey Shore

professionally written by a professional. thanks

Jun 04, 2011 08:23 AM #37
Rainer
380,654
Cathy Criado
Criado Realty - San Antonio, TX
Making Real Estate Profitable

Nicely written.  Good information.  I have a new listing coming up with multiple decks. Thanks!

 

 

Jun 04, 2011 08:49 AM #38
Rainmaker
792,132
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

Jay:

Before I read your blog, I didn't know a toe-nail from a hobnail.  Thanks for the very clear explanation of what should not be done on a deck.  By the way, whose picture are you using now?  Kinda of reminds me of a surprised gnome.

Jun 04, 2011 09:07 AM #39
Ambassador
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Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

What a great title! I love substance with humor. Great job Jay... 

Jun 04, 2011 09:28 AM #40
Rainmaker
642,599
Patricia Aulson
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate - Exeter, NH
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

ha....your title had me going in a different direction.   THanks for the information today.

 

Patricia/Seacoast NH & ME

Jun 04, 2011 09:49 AM #41
Rainer
405,180
Cliff Keith
Today Sotheby's International Realty - Redwood City, CA
Redwood City Real Estate

Nice play on words.  Enjoyable and informative.  Thank you.

Jun 04, 2011 10:14 AM #42
Ambassador
951,579
Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate

Jay - I can't tell you how many decks we come across in our inspections when we have them that they are done so poorly. Great job on this post... Keep em coming

Jun 04, 2011 12:06 PM #43
Rainmaker
1,743,319
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Jeremy - they were regular driving Teamsters!  Whips, whoas, get along little doggie!

C'mon Reubs!  That'll hold!  Those Simpson guys don't know everything, for sure.

Peg - it's all out there just waiting to be found!  Get on it!

Craig - I see a lot of work that was supposed to be finished "later!"  And thanks.

Jun 04, 2011 02:25 PM #44
Rainmaker
1,743,319
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Glad you enjoyed it Paula.  When you're out there, don't wear high heels!

Charlie - it sure was a mess!  And wobbly!  Like I said, rock on dude...

Dale - I think his name was Good Golly Dali.  Yeah, that's it.

Cheryl - lean gently!  I had a deck rail today where one side of the deck was strong and the other not!  Don't assume!

Jun 04, 2011 02:27 PM #45
Rainmaker
1,743,319
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you Gregory.  I hope too much of my sarcasm didn't drip through!

Check'em out Cathy!  Every one, over, under, sideways and down.  Wasn't there a song about that?

Evelyn - and now your hobnail is different from a hang nail!  That, by the way, is Mr. Jay, of Mr. Jay's Neighborhood!    http://activerain.com/blogsview/2019273/mr-jay-s-neighborhood-meet-flipper-

You're welcome Paul!  Gotta rope'em in with marketing.

 

Jun 04, 2011 02:30 PM #46
Rainmaker
1,743,319
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Patricia - pedicures and home inspections don't often cross paths...

Glad you liked it Cliff.  Stop by again!

L&R - there are usually, not seldom, usually problems with decks!  You really have to check them out.

Jun 04, 2011 02:32 PM #47
Rainer
161,719
Greg Riley
Prudential AllStar Realtors - Rio Rancho, NM
e-PRO,RECS, Rio Rancho Real Estate

Way hilarious!

Jun 05, 2011 02:23 AM #48
Ambassador
1,667,981
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

jay,

Came to thhis post from the reblog by Maureen. It is both entertaining and informative, and you got a good balance here.

take  it from the  guy who does not deal with decks (we sell condos), and still I read it with interest

Jun 05, 2011 05:34 AM #49
Rainmaker
1,743,319
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Greg - hopefully with a little instructive content thrown in!

Jon - one day, one day...  you will be dealing with a deck one day when you least expect it!

Jun 05, 2011 06:10 AM #50
Rainmaker
543,681
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

haha. carriage bolts installed the proper way Always are better than toe nails for support. Thanks for the post, Jay

Jun 05, 2011 01:02 PM #51
Rainmaker
1,743,319
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Toe nails don't cut it Eric!  For any reason!  Surely, though, don't trim them!

Jun 05, 2011 10:33 PM #52
Rainmaker
1,428,263
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

These seems like a really good series.  I am going to follow you and catch more of it.

Jun 07, 2011 01:30 PM #53
Rainmaker
1,743,319
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Gene.  Simpson still has not gotten back to me.  I am wondering if they will...

Jun 08, 2011 12:20 AM #54
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Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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