wood deck inspection

North Shore Sunshine Coast Home Inspections | Top 3 Deck Failure Issues

Field notes from North Shore and Sunshine Coast home inspector on what to look for with a deck. Check for these top 3 failure modes.

Here on the Sunshine Coast and North Shore we love our decks. However in our wet coast climate, decks take a beating. Here’s some tips for deck inspections, for keeping your family safe.

Deck failures are one of the leading causes of home injuries.  An annual deck inspection is a preventative measure that can assist the homeowner in knowing when to take action. Here’s what to look for structurally.

  1. Rot & Cracks – Use an awl or small screwdriver to check for rot. If you can push the tool into the wood then this is a sign of that rot has set in and the integrity is questionable. If a crack is extensive, at the ends and at connections, then the strength of the deck is compromised.
  2. Loose – Does the railing move when leaned upon? Are the steps or the deck surface loose? Has the deck moved away from the wall, that is, is there a gap between the house and the deck frame (ledger board)? Are nail heads popping up? Is so, then this is a safety concern.
  3. Connections – Decks are constructed with approved metal plates, metal hangers and metal supports. If metal is missing at the connections then you have a problem. If the deck is connected with only nails at the house wall, then there are fasteners missing.  If the metal has rusted, then the connectors are at the end of their service life and need attention.

The typical life expectancy of an exposed wood deck is less than 15 years, and much less if it has been covered by an inappropriate material (outdoor carpet).  If your deck is showing signs of failing, seek qualified advice to determine if it needs to be repaired in parts or replaced in its entirety.  Click here for more information.