How to perform deck inspections - Cantilever Decks

The course didn’t mention cantilevered decks. In doing offline reading from the course work, it’s appearing they aren’t a great idea. But, they aren’t mentioned…

thoughts on cantilevered decks and a response to them? “Contact qualified deck builder for further evaluation”??

Tom Baty

Note: These are “stock” photos.



Tom, I personally refer to any deck that’s only accessible from the inside as a balcony. Your photos would be a propped balcony. A cantilevered balcony is only supported on one end. Building codes only address the most common deck or balcony configurations, unusual construction like the photos you used would require custom drawings and specifications from a structural engineer.


Randy -

thank you for correcting me. I knew that were balcony’s. I was so engrossed on the decks course I didn’t get the proper word out.

Would the guidance, or narrative, direct back to the original drawings or approvals for the structure? In their absence require review by a qualified structural engineer?

Not unless the balcony is not performing or you see some failure, damage, deterioration etc. We only call out defects.

Or, you could just refer the entire house, all of its engineered trusses, joists etc. out to a structural engineer and get out of the inspection business. (sarcasm, but I hope you get my point)

Completely understand your point. My view is that the “other items” are ‘standard items’ that I feel comfortable commenting on their status. This would be an item that falls outside of my ability to review with any level of confidence or knowledge base. And, I hate to just ignore it as if it didn’t exist. And that our training is silent on this matter doesn’t help our cause.

Say nothing and it fails.
Comment ‘further review’ and you pass the liability.

Neither way feels particularly awesome.

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Your training is not silent on the matter. Your SOP aligns with your training. Also, your training does not end with InterNACHI. You will be on an never ending quest for information.

The big thing to remember is “how is the component performing a the time of inspection” and did you follow your SOP when evaluating said component?