How to Perform Deck Inspections Course

Good afternoon,
I’m a greenhorn here, but I have a topic I was hoping for some clarification on…

In the ‘How to Perform Deck Inspections Course course’, under section ‘Supports and Connections - Ledger Connections’ it states:

“Most building codes state that, where positive connections to the primary building structure cannot be verified during inspection, decks shall be self-supporting (free-standing).”

However, previously in the course, under section "From the Ground Up - Footings and Posts’ it states:

“The image above depicts a free-standing deck (not attached to the home or building). The footing near the home should not be placed in disturbed soil. Disturbed soils are those which have been altered as a result of grading or construction, etc., giving the soil variable characteristics. Some codes consider soil to be “undisturbed” if it hasn’t been disturbed in more than five years. The inspector may discover that, because of its location, a footing near the home was not properly placed in undisturbed soil. A footing placed in undisturbed soil is desirable because that soil is more compacted and solid. Placing a footing in disturbed soil is less stable and may result in incremental failure of the deck’s support, as the footing is likely to sink lower and lower into the poorly bearing soil.”

Humbly, it seems to me, these statements contradict each other. I am curious, how do I report on this issue if a home has a free-standing deck…

with appreciation,

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If the house is newer than five years with a free standing you could put a note in your report to monitor for settlement. Personally, I wouldn’t worry about it and actually would much rather see a free standing deck than one attached to and being supported by the house, reason being, damn near all of them I inspect are installed wrong.

I use this as my guide, the deck bible.


Deeper footing needed to get to undisturbed soil. Difficult, impractical or even impossible to verify as a home inspector. I look for settlement issues for anything along the foundation such as stoops, walkways and footings because they are often poured on disturbed soil.

The guide @kleonard posted is excellent.


Awesome!!! I just downloaded the Deck Guide…
Thanks a bunch Kevin I appreciate your input!!!

Thank you Brian!!! Great pointers!!!

Welcome to our forum, Terry!..Enjoy! :smile:


Welcome to the forum, Terry, Enjoy!! :smiley:


Thank you Larry :grin:

Thanks Scott :metal:

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