If The Deck Is A Movin' - You'd Better Stop a Groovin'

By
Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

DeckA deck has to be one of the more sought after features in a home. Relaxing out on the deck on a nice morning enjoying your coffee is definitely one of life's simple pleasures. Unless the deck collapses, now it's a nightmare. Truly the likely hood of a deck falling while one or two people are on it is very slim, but put a group on a poorly supported deck and you greatly increase the odds. Either way there is no need to tempt fate.

Look at this large deck. Part of it is built on the ground and part off because of the slope of the yard. At the far end the surface is about 5 - 6 feet from grade level. I don't know about anyone else, but I wouldn't want to fall from that height. The house this deck is attached to has been totally renovated. In other words it's a flip.

As a Connecticut home inspector when ever I am told or learn that the house I'm inspecting is a flip, my inspection radar goes into super sensitive setting. A good majority of flips are done by inexperienced people and or cheap labor. Often inferior materials abound, but this house was more the exception in that department.

support pierExcept with the deck.

To be fair it was clear the deck was never originally built very well. The work that was done by the flippers was repairs, not new construction. But if your going to fix something, especially a deck where safety is a concern, would you do work like this?

The first support pictured is an example of more than a few others I found. What really gets me is the top shim is not pressure treated wood. The others were all the same!

The crown jewel, the piece de résistance, the biggest piece of crap of the lot is the last photo. Care for a game of Jenga anyone? Could anyone honestly believe that is okay?

piece of crap

These issues were just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The largest section I wrote up on the entire house was the deck.

My advice when looking at a deck, don't just look above also take a look below. You might find a few surprises.

 

 

James Quarello
2010 SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

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Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.

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Rainer
32,089
Jeff Wicklander
Corwick Home Services LLC - Libertyville, IL

Good advice...we've had a few deck collapses in the news recently in Chicago. Seems to be an annual event.

Sep 23, 2010 02:11 AM #1
Rainmaker
576,879
Gloria Valvasori, Accredited Senior Agent
BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS REAL ESTATE SIGNATURE SERVICE - Mississauga, ON
REAL Experience | REAL Commitment | REAL Results!

James, great post on an important topic. You are so right... many people don't think to look under the deck. Looks like this one is an accident waiting to happen!!

 

Sep 23, 2010 02:12 AM #2
Ambassador
1,154,605
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

Love the title and the Jenga reference here James. Great job with the pictures to emphasize your points too.

Sep 23, 2010 03:30 AM #3
Rainmaker
2,666,854
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

OMG, I was abt to write almost the exact same thing as Craig.  I can not believe that last picture.  Also, what would happen if one of the kids threw a baseball against it?  Wow.

You know, I keep hearing about flips and inspectors.  Obviously, it's a big red flag.  So, do you think people try to hide the fact that it's a flip (or is that impossible to hide?) Just curious.

Sep 23, 2010 10:16 AM #4
Rainmaker
233,461
Reuben Saltzman
Structure Tech Home Inspections - Minneapolis, MN
Delivering the Unbiased Truth.

It's going to take a lot of duct tape to fix that deck.

Sep 23, 2010 02:53 PM #5
Rainer
639,083
Carl Winters
Canyon Lake, TX

Unfortunately many folks no longer take pride in their work. Why not do it right the first time.

Sep 23, 2010 03:52 PM #6
Rainmaker
1,244,530
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Speaking of Groovin, a great uncle to Nutsy and I had a huge smash with a tune of that name in the late 1960's.  Lord knows I can rock, Mr James.

Wheat, supperstar and living legend

Sep 23, 2010 04:14 PM #7
Rainmaker
684,209
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Jeff, It happens every year all over the country with the warm weather.

Gloria, It sure is.

Craig, Maybe I should call Hasbro and tell them I have a new idea for a game, Deck Jenga.

Debbie, It's usually not hard to spot a flip because the home has been almost totally renovated. In my experience these homes are often full of issues.

Reuben, Yep.

Carl & Ceil, In this case it's about money.

Wheatmouth, I think those late nights you describes as for health reasons have turned your brain to wheat.

Sep 24, 2010 12:02 AM #8
Rainmaker
1,244,530
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

James,

You really ought to hear Wheat, he is quite the exciting singer.

Sep 24, 2010 07:33 AM #9
Rainmaker
179,891
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

Don't know why people think that just anyone can build a deck.

Sep 24, 2010 08:46 AM #10
Rainmaker
684,209
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Steve, I sure his voice is quite moving.

Jack, I wonder that same thing time and time again.

Sep 25, 2010 06:02 AM #11
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James Quarello

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