Do You Ever Have That Sinking Feeling?............................An OMG FIle.

Home Inspector with Aspect Inspection


Do You Ever Have That Sinking Feeling?............................An OMG FIle.

Do you ever feel like you are just floating along, not connected to any thing. Not grounded. Well you might not be if you are on a deck like the one shown below.

deck supports

You can see that the support beam that's been added to this deck at mid-joist span to support and stiffen it is doing neither. It's not even touching the joists or the footing post below itself.

It could be removed and it would have no effect on this deck. You'd never know it was gone.

Usually as support beam is larger than the joists it is supporting (or supposed to be supporting). This one IS a double thickness built up beam, but it's 2/3s the size of the joists. The original joists and decking are pressure treated.

The footing of course is the floating type on the surface of the ground. That means it's going wherever the frost takes it. So this deck will be having its ups and downs. A footing below frost depth is the only thing that is stable in this climate.

So you can see that nothing is touching here like it should be. You can also see there are no connectors. No nails, no screws, or no brackets.

Footings and foundations for buildings and structures, like decks, that are not anchored below the frost depth are described as floating footings.

In this case the structure might be more accurately described as flying rather than floating.


So when you buy a home you want to know you wont be sinking under repair bills. Get a full professional inspection.



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  1. Not a real person 05/29/2011 10:04 AM
ActiveRain Community
Canada, eh
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Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

That looks like quite the scary situation, I hope that none of the homes that I am under contract on run into this issue.

May 27, 2011 05:16 PM #1
Doug Bullwinkel
Envoy Mortgage, NMLS 6666 - Roseville, CA
Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS #281609

This is why everything should done with building permits and inspections.  I have a feeling this was a do it yourself project gone wrong.

May 27, 2011 05:22 PM #2
Dan Edward Phillips
Dan Edward Phillips - Eureka, CA
Realtor and Broker/Owner

Good evening Robert, you do post some of the best photos!  If the home owner paid some one to do the work, they were ROBBED!


May 27, 2011 05:46 PM #3
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC


I think we all can write up a deck before we even show up.

May 27, 2011 06:27 PM #4
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

That is just great. Air support for the deck.

May 28, 2011 03:35 AM #5
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

It looks like you have come across some decks that seem to be temporarily defying the laws of gravity Robert, it's only a matter of time before they come down.

May 28, 2011 05:43 AM #6
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

Robert, their waiting for it to settle some more so they can put a shim in.

May 28, 2011 08:07 AM #7
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector


Nice job on that one. They need to put a plastic notebook in there to work as a longterm wedge. You know, the plastic ones are kind of waterproof.

May 28, 2011 04:53 PM #8
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

That certainly would not be appropriate for out here in earthquake country.

May 29, 2011 09:58 AM #9
James Loftis - West Palm Beach, FL

Hello Robert,

 Great post , Just shows that it is always good to have an inspection done on any property prior to the execution of a contract.

May 29, 2011 11:33 AM #10
Charles Hendricks
The Gaines Group, PLC Architecture and Design - Harrisonburg, VA

Great post, another item to keep an eye out for.

May 29, 2011 11:53 AM #11
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Thanks for your comments folks. I normally respond to each one but I've been away for about a week. Catch you up as can.

May 31, 2011 05:23 AM #12
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Robert Butler

Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
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