Deck Safety: Is the Deck You Are Standing On As Secure As You Think?

Date Published: December 1, 2015

Inspection Picture of the Week: Deck Safety and Decking Problems

Deck safety and deck inspections are an area foremost on the mind of all the home inspectors at Scott Home Inspection.

Deck Safety Concern - missing handrail

This deck has some serious structural issues present with the cracked joists, and safety issues with missing handrail guards.  This deck is considered un-safe.

Deck Safety Concern - cracked joist

This is an extreme example of obvious improvements needed on a deck. Often the problems are more subtle, and more difficult to inspect. But, with many decks being elevated and coming off a second floor, an inspection for these type of items is critical to ensure the safety of the occupants.  During a home inspection, we will inspect the deck joists, deck material condition, handrail integrity and safety, stair condition and integrity, support post condition, how the deck is secured to the home, and a general review of the deck finish condition.  Typical comments contained within a home inspection report will include whether repair is needed at this time, or whether maintenance is needed now or in the near future.

If you are a homeowner, you should perform a visual inspection of your deck on a regular basis.  Pay particular attention to the presence of wood rot, cracking of joists or planks, and loose hand-railings. These are common decking problems. Regular maintenance is also needed to re-stain or re-seal the deck material periodically, to ensure rot does not occur causing further safety concerns.  Tighten any deck screws or nail down any loose deck nails to prevent trip hazards from developing.

At Scott Home Inspection, we take deck safety very seriously, and we have noted concerns with decks during our Denver Home Inspections and in other areas where we perform home inspections; Boulder, Longmont, Fort Collins and surrounding areas.

Contact us for more information about decks or any other topic you need input and advice on.  As part of our Ask-Your-Inspector program, you can send us a question on your home and we’ll do our best to help guide you, whether you are a past or future customer, or even if you don’t live in our service area.  Visit: Ask Your Inspector