Inspect the Deck Before Buying a Home
Decks are one of the most common DIY projects among homeowners. They are also among the most common DIY projects that are not done properly. If you are planning to purchase a home that has a deck, having a home inspector investigate the deck during the home inspection will ensure you’re purchasing a home with a safe, secure and functional deck - instead of a DIY disaster.
What could go wrong with an improperly built deck?
Deck could be unsafe or even collapse.
If the previous homeowner decided to build the deck themselves, instead of having it built by reputable deck builders in Calgary, it could have some issues. The most common problem is that the DIYer hasn’t followed building code requirements for deck additions. These requirements act as a set of instructions to ensure the deck is secure enough to hold people and is safe to use. Things like incorrect height, railing spaces, footings, materials used and even clearance from the property line can make this deck a danger. The last thing you want is to be enjoying a barbeque with friends and family on your deck and have it collapse.
It could be damaging the home.
Besides having some serious structural hazards, a deck that improperly attached to the house can cause water infiltration and expensive damage. In an article in the National Post by Mike Holmes, he states, “This kind of water infiltration can lead to having to replace doors, windows, flooring, sub-flooring, sheathing, structure - everything - in the area where the water has crept in.”
When a deck is attached to a house, it is built off a ledger board that is attached to the home’s exterior wall. The ledger board must have flashing installed around it and each bolt on the board must be caulked and sealed, to prevent water from penetrating the house. A deck builder will also install vinyl spacer pins to help water drain away from the home. If this is not done properly, water from rain and snow will penetrate the home.
If the deck in question is a free-standing deck that is not attached to the house, then this water infiltration problem isn’t an issue. A home inspector will still be able to determine if the free-standing deck has pilings that are compliant to local building code.
What if I find a home I want to buy with a bad DIY deck?
If you’ve found your dream home, but the deck isn’t built to code or might be causing issues, not all hope is lost. The home inspector will be able to tell you if water infiltration has occurred and if there is extensive damage to the home. With that information, you will be more informed before making a purchasing decision.
If the home is okay, you can include deck repair in your offer’s conditions, or decide to repair or replace the deck when you move in. An experienced deck contractor will be able to easily detect damage and what needs to be fixed or they might recommend tearing it down and building a new deck entirely.