A Deck Inspection Can Save Your Life
Buying a new property? An outdoor deck is one of the best assets on your new home. That is if your alfresco space is in good nick. Do you know what red flags to look out? Signs that could indicate underlying issues with your verandah? You wouldn’t want to find those faults when the deck collapses with your family on it! That’s why you need a deck inspection.
Why are decks great for Aussie homes?
Decks or verandahs have become an integral part of alfresco spaces in Aussie homes. Outdoor lifestyles and warm climates call for living spaces to extend outside. Let’s be honest though, would you feel inclined to bask out in the hot sun of your wide open back yard? Not as much as you would when relaxing on your contemporary wooden deck, or covered Queenslander verandah. Bonus points for a pergola, complete with strategically placed greenery and modern outdoor furniture. Decks add value to your home. Decks add comfort to your living space, too. Having a cool and comfortable outdoor space to relax or entertain friends in the heat of the summer is an unquestionable advantage to your home.
Why do you need a deck inspection?
A well-built deck or verandah will last for many years, even decades. Sometimes though, your alfresco space needs some TLC; other times a complete repair overhaul.
When you buy a new property, you might not know when or how your deck was installed. Was it a home DIY job? Work should be compliant; a deck inspector will be able check that. Having said that, even a professionally built verandah can be dangerous if it hasn’t been checked in the last fifteen years or so. Serious injuries, even fatalities can happen when decks collapse. The good news is, a deck inspection can identify underlying problems and most fixes are quick. Deck inspections will check that your deck is strong and most importantly, safe for you and your family.
A professional deck inspection will check for:
- Decay – rotting posts, loose screws or bolts or missing nails, broken or weak boards;
- Timber sizing – to ensure the correct type of timber has been fitted, correct dimension of timber used;
- Bracing and structure – loose railings and inadequate bracing or tie downs;
- General building compliance – the overall structure of your deck.
Red flags to look out for
Deck inspections will identify exactly what needs to be fixed, although you will probably like to know what sort of problems might occur. Here are some red flags for you to look out for on your deck.
- It doesn’t look right. ‘Go with your gut’. If there’s something on your deck that just doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. Is it your eyes or is that deck wonky? It’s probably not your eyes. A professional deck inspection will make sure your deck is level with no subsidence issues.
- The wobbles. You may have serious concerns if your verandah or deck has the wobbles. Wobbles mean instability, and instability equals danger. There are many reasons why decks have the wobbles – poor foundations, rotten posts or inadequate bracing etc. It is a deck inspector’s job to thoroughly check your deck’s underlying support.
- Water damage. It’s usually evident if a) you notice water stains, and or b) you can see rotten wood. Water damage is not necessarily evident on the surface, if you can, get underneath your deck and check the underside of the deck. This is easy to do on a Queenslander verandah, but not necessarily simple to undertake on single story properties. That is why you need a deck inspection.
- Inadequate railings. This is particularly important on double story properties. Incorrect gaps in-between rails are a hazard, and poorly fitted or loose railings are a catastrophe waiting to happen. Whether the issue is due to missing nails, screws or poorly secured boards, railings must be fixed on your verandah before moving in. Don’t try and fix dodgy railings before you’ve arranged your deck inspection.
- Cracked boards. It goes without saying that creaky or cracked boards are not great for your deck. Even worse, splintered boards or completely broken flooring. If you’ve got one or two broken boards, they need to be fixed quick smart because you don’t want your foot to go through your deck.
How much will it cost to get my deck fixed?
The most important task is to get your deck fixed, but you will want to know how much it will cost. Before knowing the cost of your deck fix-up, you will need to get some professional advice. A deck inspection is a valuable investment, and will avoid bigger issues in the future. Your deck inspection will also identify exactly what needs to be fixed now, and a price estimate to bring it up to scratch. It might be a case of a few replacement boards and a couple of nails, or a complete restructure. Don’t guess what will fix your deck or verandah though, get the experts in first to report back.
How to maintain your deck in the future
What can you do to maintain your deck so that it remains safe, secure and looking good? Regular repairs and maintenance will further the lifespan of your deck, and keep it safe for your family to enjoy. Keep your verandah, pergola or deck in tip-top shape with regular checks. When it rains, does the water bead on top of the boards on your deck? If so, then it’s safe to say that the wood on your deck is sealed. If water absorbs into the wood, you’ll need to get it retreated to avoid rot and damage. Check regularly for broken or damaged boards. As soon as you see a break in your wooden boards, fix them before the problem becomes a bigger task. If anything on your deck looks out of the ordinary, call in the professionals and book in a deck inspection. The money you spend on your deck inspection will be worth it.
An Action Property Inspection will check your pergola, deck or verandah, which is part of a greater house exterior inspection. Call Freecall 1800 642 465 and ask the experts for a quote, or fill out the home inspection booking form online.
Action Property Inspections include deck inspections on all full pre-purchase building inspections. Contact us today.