PA#6996 | Full Insured
PA#6996 | Full Insured
We're happy you came to our site for deck services and we're glad you landed on this page. Deck safety is important to us and we'll do what we can to raise awareness in Lehigh Valley and The Poconos.
First, we'll explain how to inspect your deck yearly and second, we'll detail what a building inspector looks at when inspecting a permit deck build.
Your deck faces the harsh elements of the outdoors all year long. Being exposed to extreme heat and cold can take a toll on even the most well-maintained decks. So, when you or a professional inspector check to see if your deck is up to spec, here are a few things to look out for regarding repairing your deck and its overall safety:
Most modern-day decks are made of wood or composite that’s treated with chemicals to keep the bugs away. In some cases, including decks built before the early 2000s, the wood isn’t treated with insect repellent, making it more likely for ants and termites to get into the framework and cause damage that can pull the deck away from the house.You can check for this by noting whether your deck has any movement when you first step out onto it. If you notice a slight sway when you walk out, call a professional to come out for a thorough inspection and to check for insect vulnerabilities.
One of the biggest factors in determining whether your deck is safe and sound is not outwardly visible. That’s why it’s important to look under your deck to ensure that fasteners, connectors, and joists are all in good shape. That includes making sure that the nails, bolts, screws and other metal connector pieces aren’t rusted or otherwise compromised. If you detect rust, call an inspector or qualified repair service.Furthermore, it is highly recommended that any deck over 10 years old be inspected by a building professional with knowledge of the current code. As building code evolves, new techniques and materials aimed at making sure decking projects are safe may need to be implemented. Also, if you recently moved into a new house you should inspect your deck - you don't know if the previous owner tackled the project and cut corners to save money.
It’s no surprise that after extended use, wood tends to crack. Small cracks aren’t anything to be alarmed about, as long as they don’t continue to grow. However, you do need to keep an eye on any cracks located around fasteners or between joists; these can exploit weaknesses in your deck and lead to serious problems down the line if not properly treated.Regularly sealing and staining your deck every 2-3 years in Lehigh Valley and The Poconos can help reduce cracking from water, cold and heat exposure. And if you do have a cracked floorboard that keeps growing, replacing deck boards is your best safety option. The same tactic applies to wood deck rot. If you have a noticeable portion of boards that are rotting, you’ll want to replace those for both safety and aesthetics.Remember, it’s your duty as a deck owner to regularly inspect your deck’s frame for safety vulnerabilities. Perform the “pick test” on deck posts to check for areas of decay or rot. If the wood slowly bends and doesn’t splinter much upon breaking, then you may have decaying wood that will need to be addressed.
If your railing is loose, fix it immediately. The risk for injury is simply too great for a railing repair to be put off. The railing is a critical area of the deck, and as mentioned above, it is important to ensure proper code-compliant construction techniques are employed. To ensure they remain sturdy, don’t allow anyone to sit or lean excessively on railings; after all, this is what deck furniture is for!
In Lehigh Valley and The Poconos, nearly every deck will develop a bit of a green tint from some mildew during its lifespan. Steps are the most susceptible to mildew growth, which can make them slippery and unsafe. Regular washing and staining will help prevent mildew growth. Mold and fungus, on the other hand, is nothing to take lightly. If you notice a fuzzy or mushroom-like growth, immediate attention is required as it could
Flashing Inspections - Inspectors will want to see the flashing installed between the ledger and house wall before any cladding is reinstalled, you'll want to leave the siding off until the flashing inspection is complete. Framing Inspections - They will be verifying that you are building precisely what your plans indicated. Are you using the same size and type of wood as you specified and was approved for your deck? Is the joist spacing correct? Inspectors will also be looking closely at the specific wood connections as they are assembled across the frame. They will want to see that you are using the proper joist hangers and they are not missing any fasteners and they will also be checking the fasteners used, they will check if the right length and thickness were used for connections. (50% of inspection failures are for fasteners, a shady builder will sell you the right fastener at a bargain price then use non-compliant cheaper fasteners). They will also be interested in seeing how well your beams are connected to your support posts ( the popular carriage bolt you see on a lot of decks is not an approved bolt, it's cheap and easy and looks like the right bolt to those that don't know). Inspectors will be checking your framing to make sure it is consistent with your plans. They will be checking joist and beam spacing and all hardware connections. When all your work is completed, you will also need to pass the final inspection before the permit can be closed. If you fail an inspection, you should be given a correction notice for what needs to be fixed before you can pass the inspection. Homeowners should raise the red flag amd be cautious when a builder fails an inspection, keep an eye on each step of the work before it get covered up
Be sure to schedule the footing inspections before mixing and pouring the concrete foundations or they will not pass. As the homeowner on a non-permit job, you need to get eyes on the holes before concrete is installed. Never pour concrete until after your footings have passed inspection. To pass the footing inspection, you will need to have an inspector measure to verify that the base sizes and depths of the holes meet the specifications of the approved plans, weight loads and frost line depth is 42-inches deep with a 24-inch diameter base in Lehigh Valley. The holes must also be free of loose dirt and water. If there is water in the holes, you may try to pump the water out or allow them to dry out over a couple of days. Once you have sign-off, you can finish building your footings. It’ s important to note that you’ll want to continue to inspect your footings regularly. As a primary part of your deck’s foundation, your footings secure and support your deck. In cases where footings are compromised, it’s most likely that they weren't large enough to support the deck in the first place. If you notice the concrete pour around your footings beginning to crack or pull up from the ground, then you should have a professional come out to perform a full inspection. Most contractors that aren't true deck builders will mix rocks, stones, and debris when filling the footing holes with concrete to save on the concrete expense and workload - you should watch the concrete is mixed and placed in the footings, the inspector will not be present when the concrete is placed into to holes and can only trust the contractor will do the right thing. Mixing debris to save on concrete can be dangerous to the structural support of your deck.
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