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What does a Home Inspector Look for when it comes to decks?

Decks face the harshest elements of every season. Hot and cold temperatures cause the wood to expand and contract, gradually compromising the quality of wood and joints, and rain and snow soften and weaken the wood. Due to these influences, there are many attributes home inspectors look for, including:

  • Rusted Components: The inspector will make sure the connectors, fasteners, and joists are in good shape and the nails, bolts, and other metal connectors aren’t rusted.

  • Cracks and Rot: Growing cracks, cracks located between joints or near fasteners, and wood rot can reveal safety risks.

  • Mold Exposure: Most decks will experience light mildew, which can be removed by washing and staining, but mold can penetrate the wood and compromise its structural integrity.

  • Loose Railings: Unsteady railings can lead to serious falls. Railings must be secure using code-compliant building techniques.

  • Insect Damage: While newer decks are treated with chemicals to defend against termites and other pests, older decks may suffer a pest infestation that damages the framework.

If you've had your old deck replaced with a new deck, consider having a deck inspection prior to paying your contractor his final payment. You could use that report for a punch-list to ensure that you are getting a quality product that will last.

In temperate weather, the deck is often the focal point of your family’s entertainment, from cookouts to leisure. However, it often doesn’t receive the tender loving care of the rest of the home, despite its constant exposure to the elements. This oftentimes leads to extremely dangerous structural defects. If you’re interested in buying or selling a home with a deck, it helps to become familiar with what home inspectors look for in a deck.

Contact BHI today to schedule an inspection of your new deck, or to schedule the inspection of your older deck for safety and peace of mind.

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