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Ken Meyer
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Just wanted to share some photos from yesterday's inspection. Split level attached deck, the top level is second story, the back of the house faces a creek, which is where the deck is headed if it's not fixed.

The footing for the 6x6 post that is second from the outside corner has settled or slumped, and the post is separated from the beam by at least an inch. The corner post has a long vertical crack, I'm guessing from the added strain. Two of the beams have extensive rot, one has a hole clear through.

English ivy covers the bottom of almost all of the posts, and soil has been allowed to cover the bottom of every post. There are lots of evergreen trees, cedars and firs, dropping wet material constantly. The platform under the hot tub at the lower level has mats of wet, gloppy rotting plant material on it.

It looks like a section was added to the left side of the deck in order to add stairs from the side yard, it's separating from the main deck (4th photo), the arrow points to the beam that has the screwdriver stuck in it in the previous shot. The railing posts are beveled on top with the exposed end grain allowing water in, one of them had mushrooms growing out of the side. Lastly, the ledger was of course, nailed, not bolted.

I spent an hour on the deck alone, some of it fighting with and cursing the ivy that wanted my ladder.

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Yeah,

Based on the photos, if I'd seen that deck, the inspection of the deck would have lasted only long enough to establish comfortably in my mind that a significant amount of the deck is infested with incipient rot, in which case the whole thing needs to be torn off and carted away. No point in hanging around to write every single visible issue when the entire deck is loaded with invisible incipient spore. Probably about five minutes.

Ken, this comment:

The corner post has a long vertical crack, I'm guessing from the added strain.
Be careful when you write this kind of thing up that you're writing about actual "damage," and not just some longitudinal checking caused by shrinkage of the wood. Ever looked at a traditional Japanese post and beam structure and wondered about how all of those wood beams used for the roof and rafters don't split? Traditional Japanese carpenters cut kerfs into the long axis of beams and timbers in their buildings, so that when shrinkage occurred the crack simply widened and the wood wouldn't split randomly. Essentially, many of those timbers used in those buildings are intentionally "cracked." The post is in compression. Longitudinal checking with only the load of a deck on it isn't really an issue.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Originally posted by hausdok

Yeah,

Based on the photos, if I'd seen that deck, the inspection of the deck would have lasted only long enough to establish comfortably in my mind that a significant amount of the deck is infested with incipient rot, in which case the whole thing needs to be torn off and carted away. No point in hanging around to write every single visible issue when the entire deck is loaded with invisible incipient spore. Probably about five minutes.

Ken, this comment:

The corner post has a long vertical crack, I'm guessing from the added strain.
Be careful when you write this kind of thing up that you're writing about actual "damage," and not just some longitudinal checking caused by shrinkage of the wood. Ever looked at a traditional Japanese post and beam structure and wondered about how all of those wood beams used for the roof and rafters don't split? Traditional Japanese carpenters cut kerfs into the long axis of beams and timbers in their buildings, so that when shrinkage occurred the crack simply widened and the wood wouldn't split randomly. Essentially, many of those timbers used in those buildings are intentionally "cracked." The post is in compression. Longitudinal checking with only the load of a deck on it isn't really an issue.

OT - OF!!!

M.

True, but I don't have your level of experience, so I use these things as learning opportunities. About the post with the vertical crack, I was wondering if there is a lateral force on it since the next post over is doing nothing to support the deck beam, and the whole thing is on a downward slope. I agree the whole thing is a mess and needs to be completely rebuilt.
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Ken,

Putting the fact that the wood is rotted aside, there are several problems visible in your photos.

ALL connections need to be positively anchored. The posts must be anchored to the footings, the beam must be anchored to the posts, the joists must be anchored to the beam etc.

The balusters have spacing greater than 4 inches

The steps have open risers; just like balusters, a 4 inch sphere cannot fit thru the risers.

Here is a wonderful booklet that shows everything required for a safe deck:

http://www.awc.org/Publications/DCA/DCA6/DCA6.pdf

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

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Originally posted by Darren

Ken,

Putting the fact that the wood is rotted aside, there are several problems visible in your photos.

ALL connections need to be positively anchored. The posts must be anchored to the footings, the beam must be anchored to the posts, the joists must be anchored to the beam etc.

The balusters have spacing greater than 4 inches

The steps have open risers; just like balusters, a 4 inch sphere cannot fit thru the risers.

Here is a wonderful booklet that shows everything required for a safe deck:

http://www.awc.org/Publications/DCA/DCA6/DCA6.pdf

Darren

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

Thanks for the booklet, Darren. All of the defects you mentioned were in my report, except for the posts not being anchored to the footings; they were, but the bottom of the posts are below grade due to buildup of soil and accumulated organic debris from the trees.

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