Is Your Deck Railing Safe? - Not This One in Omaha, NE

Home Inspector with Foundation-2-Rooftop, Inc.

A deck railing needs to withstand a 200 lb force exerted laterally against it.  The perfect installation of a wood deck will have 4x4 or larger guard posts bolted and blocked to the joists.  This makes them extremely sturdy.  You don't have to worry about 2 adults leaning against the railing and having it give way.

Then there's this deck installation in Omaha, NE that I ran across this week on my home inspection:

Looks can be deceiving on this deck railing

At first glance, the railing looks beautiful and sturdy.  Then when I grabbed on it, I could easily move the entire railing a good 6" on both directions!  They took 2x4's, routered a groove down through to make them appear like 2x2's, and screwed them together to make a box with a hollow cavity inside.  They then toe-nailed them into the deck boards instead of bolting them to the joists below.  The entire handrail was done this way also.  If I wanted to, I believe I could have pushed hard enough and tore off the entire railing.  How insane!!!  ...but it looked good;-)

Fake guard posts

Fake guard posts on this deck toe-nailed into deck boards only

For more crazy issues we run across, check out our photo galleries on our website:



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Home Buying
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greg wayman
deck railing installation

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Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Wow, that is scary...I am sure many home owners are clueless on their decks safety

Mar 01, 2017 08:10 AM #1
Phillip Timothy

It's amazing what people will build with left overs. That's scary.

Mar 01, 2017 01:20 PM #2
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Greg Wayman

ASHI Certified Inspector - 402-330-1701
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