Deck Repair Gone Awry!- Del Mar Home Inspection
Often, by the time I'm called in to perform a home inspection, the subject house has already been inspected by a termite company. Such was the case at this Del Mar, CA home. The previous owner had not kept up on the home's maintenance and there was extensive exterior wood repair and replacement to be done.
When I finished my home inspection, my clients had a rather lengthy list of necessary repairs to be done. They were mainly concerned with two items in my report. One was the rat-infested attic area. Numerous trees were growing next to the home allowing the rodents to enter. After further evaluation, it was determined that the attic insulation was so full of rat droppings, urine, and dead carcasses, it would have to be completely removed. The seller agreed to the request. The insulation was removed, the attic area was sanitized, and blown-in cellulose insulation was installed.
The other item of concern was the master bedroom deck. It was a cantilever deck, meaning there were no posts supporting the deck. (The floor joists protrude beyond the exterior wall of the home and provide support for the deck.) As you can imagine, the structural soundness of these joists is extremely important with a cantilever deck. When I did my inspection, it was noted that the deck had dry rot in many of it's components.
Now, let's fast forward three weeks later when I received a call from my clients. The termite company was completing repairs to the dry-rotted wood in the deck and my client's final walk-through had been scheduled. They asked if I would return to the property and inspect the deck and some of the other repairs that had been done. I was able to make it back to the property a few days later and was surprised to find the contractors still working on the deck. As it turned out, I'm glad they were still there.
There are certain rules to be followed when it comes to notching joists, especially cantilever deck joists. When repairing the dry-rot in several of the joists, the contractor had begun to cut the top edges of the joists off almost the entire length of the cantilevered section. A filler piece was then nailed into place and they were preparing to reinstall the deck boards.
See the problem here? What were once 2x8 joists were now 2x6 joists! Cantilever deck joists are engineered components and cannot not be modified without engineering approval. This deck will no longer be able to hold the weight load it was originally designed for! Serious injury and death occur every year from collapsing decks. Extreme caution should be taken whenever repairs or modifications are made to structural components of your home!
Deck Repair Gone Awry!- Del Mar Home Inspection: Steve Stenros is the owner of First Choice Inspections and is a CREIA MCI inspector. Clients receive a FREE lifetime appliance RecallChek with every standard home inspection. Appointments can be obtained by calling 888-335-3040.