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A home inspection is a critical step in the home-buying process. It helps to ensure that the home you are considering is safe, functional, and in good condition. One of the key components of a home inspection is the deck inspection. This is because decks can be a source of potential danger and can also be expensive to repair if they are not properly constructed and maintained.

Decks are often one of the first construction projects that a handyman will tackle. Unfortunately, this can result in a high number of defects in both design and construction. Given that decks are a critical component of any home, it’s important to take the time to carefully inspect them and make any necessary repairs or upgrades.

Hazardous construction caused this beam to post attachment to fail

One of the most important things to consider when inspecting a deck is compliance with the DCA 6—Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide. This guide provides detailed information on the proper construction of residential decks and is widely used by contractors and building inspectors. It covers issues such as proper attachment to the structure, ledger board installation, and the use of hold-downs.

Simulated deck collapse. This failure of attachment at the house. Proper hardware would prevent this kind of failure.
From the DCA 6—Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide

When it comes to proper attachment to the structure, the deck should be securely anchored to the house. This is typically achieved by using hold-downs, which are fasteners that secure the deck to the house. Hold-downs come in two capacities, 2-1,500-lb. capacity through bolted to floor joists and max 24 in. from each end of the deck, or 4-750-lb. capacity hold-downs.

examples of 2-1,500-lb. capacity through bolted-to-floor joists and max 24 in. from each end of the deck, and 4-750 lb. capacity hold-downs.

Another important aspect of a deck inspection is the ledger board. The ledger board is a structural component that is attached to the house and supports the deck. It is important to make sure that the ledger board is properly installed and securely attached to the house. This is because the ledger board is critical to the stability and safety of the deck.

In addition to these structural considerations, it is also important to ensure that the deck is in good condition. This includes checking for any rot, decay, or signs of damage. If the deck is made of wood, it is important to check for any signs of termite damage. If any damage is found, it is important to have it repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage and to ensure the safety of the deck.

In conclusion, a deck inspection is an important part of a home inspection. By ensuring that the deck is in compliance with the DCA 6—Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide, properly attached to the structure, and in good condition, you can help to ensure the safety and longevity of your deck. By working with a professional home inspector, you can be confident that your deck is safe and secure for you and your family to enjoy.

JJ Greive

JJ & Suzanne are both licensed, highly skilled inspectors and educators. We are the authors of our class curriculum, and truly enjoy sharing this with our students