August 30, 2022

Deck Inspection

Deck Inspection Montreal

People often think that just because they can have 50 people in their house at one time, they can have 50 people on their decks as well. I’ve heard of many horror stories of deck collapses. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), around 90% of deck collapses are a result of the separation of the house and the deck ledger board.

Some other causes of deck collapses are:

  • Ledger board issues
  • Rotting deck boards
  • Rotting deck posts and beams
  • Decks not built to code and without proper permits

Therefore I don’t recommend building a deck on your own.

Deck Safety: What to Look For

Your deck faces harsh weather all year long. Being exposed to extreme heat and cold can take a toll on even the most well-maintained decks. You can bring in a qualified home inspector if you have concerns about your deck.

As a homeowner, there are also some signs of damage you can look out for:

  • Ledger Board issues (Deck is improperly attached to the house)
  • Visible rot
  • Visible Cracks
  • Insect Damage
  • Rust on fasteners and connectors
  • Loose Stairs Railing
  • Rotten deck posts
  • Wobbly deck

Is Your Deck Safely Attached to The House?

Your Ledger Board

The problem area for most decks is where the ledger board is attached to the house wall. You don’t want any water getting in behind the ledger board and entering your home.

You need to make sure each bolt is caulked and sealed. And that ledger board must be properly flashed to prevent water damage.

One of the common reasons for deck collapses is the failure of nail-only connections between the deck and the primary structure.

The deck ledger is the deck floor rim board attached to the house, and it should be positively connected to the floor structure of the main building with bolts or lag screws, not nails.

Missing Ledger Flashing

 If you can, crawl under your deck and look at the ledger board. If you don’t see a metal or plastic lip over the top of the ledger board, you will need to add flashing.

Check For Lag Screws in Ledger Board

Your deck can fall off if the ledger isn’t fastened properly. This is a common issue with DIY decks.

Wobbly Deck

When you step on your deck, if you sense a lot of movement, that is not a good sign. Deck movement puts extra stress on the fasteners and connectors. Over time, the joists can pull away from the rim joist or ledger board and twist out of their vertical position. This makes them weak.

Insect Damage on A Deck

Check the wood for rot and insect infestation that would look like damage to the wood. This can be from termites, carpenter ants, and carpenter bees. The presence of termites is an omen of serious damage in your home. Termites eat wood for food.

When you step on your deck, do you feel any slight movements? If you do, I highly recommend bringing in a professional inspector to do a thorough deck inspection.