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Atlanta Home Inspector Deck Inspections

An Atlanta Home Inspection Company shows the highlights of inspecting decks in the Georgia and Atlanta real estate markets. Michael Collins-Smythe, home inspector Atlanta, is the author and owner of The Inspection Company, LLC at
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  • 1. Deck Inspections A presentation from an Atlanta Home Inspector Inspecting Decks on Atlanta Area Homes Michael Collins-Smythe
  • 2. The Posts <ul><li>As part of Atlanta home inspections in Georgia, you often have to: </li></ul><ul><li>Inspect the footings to verify they exist and are deep enough. Probe if necessary. </li></ul><ul><li>Inspect the posts to check for bowing, splitting, twisting, correct girth and positive attachment. </li></ul><ul><li>Posts should also have proper horizontal bracing. </li></ul><ul><li>Some posts should be anchored to protect from impact from automobiles and riding lawnmowers—tension and gravity are not enough. </li></ul>
  • 3. The Attachment <ul><li>The attachment of the floor to the home is the most critical component of the deck construction. Half-inch galvanized through bolts should be used every 32” and staggered. Nails are not enough! Lag screws are not enough! </li></ul><ul><li>The flashing detail is crucial for preventing water penetration and damage to the home’s rim joist. </li></ul>
  • 4. Floor Framing <ul><li>Joists should have proper bearing support with a ledger strip or properly sized joist hangers. Hangers should be nailed with properly rated and sized nails, not screws. </li></ul><ul><li>ACQ pressure treated lumber requires properly rated fasteners. Steel nails cannot be used as they will corrode. </li></ul><ul><li>Check joist spans. </li></ul><ul><li>Deck floor should also have horizontal bracing. </li></ul><ul><li>The deck should support at 40 psf live load. With this requirement met, a 12 by 12 deck should support 60 average sized adults. </li></ul>
  • 5. The Railings <ul><li>As an Atlanta home inspector, I often see problems with railings: </li></ul><ul><li>Railings should support a 200 Lb. load in all directions. </li></ul><ul><li>Railings should be at least 36” high. </li></ul><ul><li>Balusters should be spaced with less than 4” gap for safety of children. </li></ul><ul><li>Grippable handrails should be provided on stairs. They are often too wide. </li></ul><ul><li>Railings should not be a climb hazard for tempted small children. </li></ul>
  • 6. The Steps <ul><li>As a home inspector in Atlanta area, I often observe: </li></ul><ul><li>Open risers: Open risers could be a fall-through hazard for small children. The should be covered to within 4 3/8” for safety of toddlers. Open risers are a common problem and code violation. </li></ul><ul><li>Step boards should be well supported and should have a middle stringer. </li></ul><ul><li>Stringers should be positively anchored to the deck. This is very important. </li></ul><ul><li>The steps should land onto a concrete pad not the ground as commonly observed. </li></ul>
  • 7. Deterioration Prevention <ul><li>Atlanta Area Deck Problems: </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure treated lumber will rot! The deck floor should be kept off the ground by at least 6”. Only specially rated lumber can have ground-contact. </li></ul><ul><li>Decks should be sealed, stained or painted within 6-8 weeks of installation to protect from water and UV light. </li></ul>
  • 8. Common Cures <ul><li>Missing Flashings: You can’t always see if the home’s rim joist is deteriorated if the flashings have been missing for a few years. I always recommend retrofitting flashing. The deck should also be converted to a free standing deck by adding support posts under the ledger board so the deck effectively is no longer dependent on the attachment to the home. </li></ul><ul><li>Add proper grippable handrails with a profile of no wider than 2 ¼”. The deck handrails are very important to help prevent falls on stairs. </li></ul><ul><li>Replace visibly damaged wood—this is usually the deck floor boards. </li></ul><ul><li>Add joist hangers if bearing support is lacking. </li></ul><ul><li>Replace undersized 4”x4” posts with 6”x6” posts where necessary. </li></ul><ul><li>Using strong-tie brand straps to create positive attachments of posts. </li></ul><ul><li>Add boards over open risers where necessary to prevent fall through hazards </li></ul><ul><li>Add additional balusters where necessary to prevent fall-through hazards. </li></ul>
  • 9. The Atlanta Home Inspection Meet Your Inspector <ul><li>Michael Collins-Smythe, an home inspector in Atlanta is a certified Inspector with ASHI and is ICC Code Certified. He also serves on the state board of directors for the ASHI Chapter in Georgia Michael has years of experience inspecting. He inspects older in-town homes, new construction, condominiums, town homes. He is skilled in all areas of inspections including HVAC, electrical, plumbing, framing, structure, foundation, grading, roof coverings, and has written several technical articles related to the home inspection and building consulting industry. He is also certified to conduct Radon testing. He is the owner of The Inspection Company, LLC, , and can be reached at [email_address] . His phone number is 404-219-2766. </li></ul>
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