I spent a lot of time reviewing the deck inspection course, the DCA 6 manual, and discussions on this site (all multiple times) to ensure that my deck inspection went well. I’m a buyer knowledgeable in construction, not an inspector. That being said, this deck was so bad that even if I don’t purchase the house due to the deck, I’m worried for the safety of the current sellers and future owners. I know that inspectors are limited to a certain scope but I don’t know how forceful he could have been with regards to warning/condemning the deck. As a fellow human being I feel like the seller’s really need to understand the risk they currently have or may pass on to someone. I’m worried that if this deck isn’t immediately addressed it’s going to kill someone, not just cost them money.
I’ve attached a few picture collages with multiple examples of very poor support. There are many more I could have added. The deck was built at the earliest in 1986 but no later than 2011. The main summary of this deck is:
1.) No bolts used to anchor the ledger board. Not a single bolt in the entire structure, only nails or screws are used, with many attachment points unused.
2.) Ledger board is a 2x6 attached to a 1x6 attached over brick veneer, using only nails. Very large gapping over the entire attachment. More than half of the joists are not flush to ledger/rim joist and are sitting forward in the hanger. Many joists do not contact the rim joist at all.
3.) There is a long ~2ft deep overhang that the ledger board is directly attached to with no additional support.
4.) Each one of the 7 primary posts (4x6) has very large vertical cracks running the length of the post. Every post is either warped, not sitting completely on its brace, lacking a proper brace, or sitting on gravel/dirt in the case of the stairs.
5.) No flashing anywhere. Extensive moisture, algae, rot, and areas where nails rotted out. Plates and nails are rusted.
6.) They removed the bottom half of the chimney to put in a door downstairs. The top half of the chimney, or the wooden frame is still in place and rests on the deck. There is extensive moisture damage directly underneath it.
7.) A million other problems, boards spanning only two joists. Board spacing all over the place. Boards not being properly staggered. Balusters spaced too far apart. Stair risers are too high. No diagonal bracing.
I previously walked on the deck. I assume the current homeowners use it as well. It just seems completely unstable, in very poor condition, and simply dangerous… but I’m not an inspector or engineer. Maybe if I had inspected hundreds of decks this wouldn’t seem as bad.
My fear is this: I won’t accept the house without negotiating in the replacement of deck, end of story. But the seller had many other offers and it seems as though they may fight this and attempt to try their luck with someone willing to accept it ‘as is’ or with some repairs. I won’t be getting killed or injured on that deck, but if everyone tries to skirt around it or not deal with it properly then someone could be seriously injured or worse. As a human being I don’t feel right walking away without trying to get the homeowner to understand that this is serious.
The inspection said they recommended a structural engineer evaluate it and a licensed contractor to repair it. I know this doesn’t go to the seller or their realtor but it felt like someone should be telling them to stay the hell off the deck. Again, I’m not an inspector and haven’t seen enough other comparisons. I just wanted to hear from other experts on the danger of the deck.
I apologize if this isn’t the right place to discuss this or if I shouldn’t be posting here as a non-inspector. Thank you for your time.