Chicago porch danger still exists (part two)

Home Inspector with Elliott Home Inspection

Porch and Deck safety


Now that I have posted a few examples of badly constructed porches ,and decks have been mentioned here, do you know what the difference is between porches ,balconies and decks is?

A balcony has no support at all from the ground (no posts for support)and hangs off the structure.

I often refer to Chicago code since it at least on paper is tough and has good detail I can reference so according to local ordinance (and other national sites seem to back this up) the following is what makes Decks and porches different .

A porch is a roofed but unheated portion of a building that  has stairs for entering and exiting a building and also a floor area separated from the principle building.

A deck is open with no roof and is used in conjunction with the building (meaning not just for exit and entry)

Also a deck can be attached to the building or it can be detached as in self supporting.

Admittedly there is a grey area between the two as many use their over sized porches for entertainment and think of them as decks.

If you are an Agent representing a client,a person looking for property, or already have a deck or porch and simply wish to feel safe ,it is a good idea to know what you are looking at.

A inspection either by yourself or a professional should be performed at least once a year.

I honestly think I can explain the basics here as it is not rocket science and there are many good checklists on the internet.


This past summer alone there were at least 100 injuries and a death.

These figures may go up as the United States has an estimated 40 million decks that are over 20 years old.

Many have the issue I mentioned in part one of using nails that in many cases are ready to give at the ledger board attachments and pull right off the structure.

Free standing or detached decks have their own set of issues such as poor footings and lack of cross members that keep the post in solid position.

Have no idea what I mean?

Do not worry cause as Chris Currins mentioned in his comment on my first post it all starts at the bottom.

My next part three will get into easy ways to understand these structures.

I love pictures and illustrations so do not get used to this all text post.

Please return and feel free to ask away .

I am not all knowing (just think I am) but with 190,000 plus Active Rain members at this point I think we can get an answer.:)



Comments (7)

P.J. Virgilio Jr., Realtor 408-568-6578 Selling homes in the Greater San Jose area and South through San Martin, Gilroy
Keller Williams Realty Silicon Valley - Gilroy, CA
San Juan Bautista and Hollister as well!

Thanks Bob,

Good info!

Oct 18, 2010 05:28 PM
John Puplava
ABC Home Inspections,L.L.C. - Prescott, AZ
ABC Home Inspections,L.L.C.


How are you doing? You had lots good information in your blog. Good job.

Oct 18, 2010 05:29 PM
Stanley Stepak
Howard Hanna - Avon Lake, OH - Avon Lake, OH
Realtor - Avon Lake, Avon, Bay Village, Westlake,

free standing is a bit scary. In those old complexes alone.  Twere should be modifications to assist support to those structures.

Oct 18, 2010 05:29 PM
Bob Elliott
Elliott Home Inspection - Chicago, IL
Chicago Property Inspection

Your welcome.


Just started again because I had lost RainMaker status.Same way with my art in that I need a down hill push start.




Business has been going up and down but gets a little better every year since I went full time 3 years ago.

More and more is referral and less internet so I need to get back to basics or enjoy only slow and steady growth.

Active Rain was certainly a help with that.

Hope your biz is well and I will check on you after my nightly Pandora music walk.


Stan I am not so sure about the free standing comment because I noted in my little research that most (majority )of failure in the structures is ledger board related and with free standing decks that attachment has been eliminated.

May also be easier to inspect. Just need this shape attached to the support posts.XXXXXXXXXXXXXX.:)

Oct 18, 2010 06:00 PM
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy and evening to you Bob

Bob, it sure is good to see that you have came back to the AR community! There ain't that many of the ole gang as active, like back many many many moons ago. There sure have been a lot changes made here in the community, if you should need any help getten cought up with them. Just let me know, and I'll sure be glad to give you a hand. As one of the AR Ambassadors, thats just one of the thing I do here in the AR community for members. Going to go let Carl down in Texas, know you have posted two new blog posts.

Have a good one
Dale in New Hampshire

Oct 25, 2010 12:10 PM
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Hey there Bob

I forgot to leave you a link to our Hang Out blog post, Carl postes it eaver month. Do come on by when ever you can!


The link will open in a new window

Have a good one

Oct 25, 2010 01:05 PM
Bob Elliott
Elliott Home Inspection - Chicago, IL
Chicago Property Inspection

Thanks Dale I will be sure to catch up.Glad to hear Carl is still on and it would be nice to find out all the advancements I missed.

Must admit the first cosmetic changes made it difficult for me to see a time line for whoever made last comments and pushed me away but maybe there is a work around that would help me to enjoy the separate forums such as a quick links add on.

Back to subject but will discuss more at "your house".

Oct 25, 2010 01:44 PM