qualified deck inspections

Checking Your Home’s Deck Frequently

Structural problems can be avoided with prompt and regular inspections of all elevated decks. But people often fail to address this issue until it is too late to react.


According to deck professionals, it is best that homeowners know when the appropriate time is to conduct inspections.


Sadly, homeowners ignore regular deck inspections because they often think decks will last forever. On the contrary, the age of exterior elevated elements, such as decks, could mean a possibility for trouble.


Deck Inspectors for Southern California

Expert deck inspectors would suggest a number of activities to be done to avoid this from happening:

  • Search for decaying or split wood in all areas
  • Test banisters and railings and make sure railings are no less than 36 inches in height
  • Check fasteners, nails, and screws, and replacing those that are suspicious
  • Examine each step for any decay. If the area behind the stair treads is open, the opening should not be higher than 4 inches
  • Clear debris to keep fallen leaves and other items from causing mildew that would damage the wood.


Take note that decks have an expected life span just as roofs do. Just imagine your deck sitting out there in the weather for a whole year, which should be pretty tough for extreme weather conditions. Thus, always follow the advice of expert deck inspectors and have your home’s deck checked frequently.



Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

sb-721 - durable wood options

Balcony Design: Durable Wood Options

Wood construction for mixed-use is very popular in the Western U.S. In fact, it has become a favorite all around the country due to its availability, construction, favorable cost, and thermal performance, among others. But waterproofing properties are important, particularly when using wood for construction. The 2018 International Building Code (IBC) even made changes to its guidelines to address occupant safety of wood-frame balconies and in compliance with California State Law SB-721.


In the changes stipulated, a section in the IBC now requires an impervious moisture barrier system to protect wood structural framing exposed to the weather. That is possible with the use of an alternative to preservative-treated or naturally durable wood.


Therefore, this type of wood should provide a water-resistant or anti-moisture barrier system to protect the structure that supports floors. So it should have positive drainage of water to infiltrate the moisture-permeable floor topping.



Durable Wood Options For Balcony Design


The IBC allows both preservative-treated (PT) wood and naturally durable wood. But when it comes to balcony framing, the former is considered a better choice than the latter.


According to the IBC, naturally durable wood is the heartwood of decay-resistant species, with the exception of the occasional piece with corner sapwood. Among the decay-resistant species are a black locust, black walnut, cedar, and redwood.


Such species are quite good choices for lower structural demand applications like deck boards in which the attractiveness of the wood is exposed. That is why PT lumber is favored because it has been certified and treated to specifications of the IBC 2303.1.9.



PT Wood


An adequate and proper specification of PT wood would require knowledge and use of the revised IBC 2018. However, the specification for PT wood that means all-balcony framing lumber should be PT wood by project designer is said to be vague and insufficient for balcony framing critical for life safety.


If you are considering balcony design, it would require the inspection of any components that are load-bearing and associated with waterproofing elements. The text in the SB-721 would require inspectors and any repairs to be done by January 1, 2022. That would go along with subsequent inspections in a five-year interval.





The new balcony code IBC 2018 provides an opportunity to address the reliability and safety of in-service balconies. Thus, design professionals are urged to adopt the new balcony provisions before being adopted by the governing state code and jurisdiction.


At the same time, owners of new construction projects such as decks should be informed by the balcony safety issue, the need for periodic inspections, and the new provisions to address water-related issues. That is to ensure that the balcony framing will be protected from moisture conditions that might compromise the integrity of the structure.


Building elements, such as connector hardware, guardrails, landings, stairway systems, structural frame, walking surface, and others critical to balcony design should be corrected by the property owner if found hazardous, in need of replacement, non-compliant, or structurally deficient.


The balcony bill or SB-721 requires building owners to follow the requirements associated with balconies and decks called exterior elevated elements commonly featured in most multi-family buildings in California.



Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon

elevated decks - outside

Building an Elevated Deck with Key Elements in Mind

There are a number of things to consider when you are planning to build elevated decks. Take a look at the essentials of building an elevated deck before you proceed with the project.



Planning Before Pursuing A Deck Project

Basically, you need more planning in doing this compared to any common project in your home. That is because you need to establish a budget, choose the materials, and the spot where you can do it. Likewise, it is best to determine if you should hire a professional or do it yourself instead.



Purpose Of Building A Deck

Perhaps you should ask yourself why you need to build elevated decks in the first place. So see to it if that project can answer to your problem if you need to extend your indoor living space or you want to push it outside.


Most of the reasons why people build a deck area for entertainment, dining, privacy, or a patio garden close to your home.




Oftentimes, the location of your elevated deck will be determined by the size of your property.


So before doing so, you may consider the size of the lot, microclimates, wind, privacy, proximity to the house, rain and snow, sun and shade, and the view.




Needless to say, there is something that surely stands in the way of building your elevated deck and that is your budget.


Among the issues that need to be addressed are the choice of materials, the intricacy of the design, the size of the deck, and who is going to use it.



DIY Skills

If you are thinking that your deck building project is pretty basic, then you might be able to do it by yourself over the weekends.


But you may need to have a particular set of skills like carpentry, engineering, and a bit of do-it-yourself experience.


However, if you are building elevated decks on a questionable foundation, such as those over clay, mud, sand, water, or unstable soil, then you need to consider professional skills.



Decking Materials 

Take note that wood is not the only material for decking available. Among these alternative materials are plastics and aluminum, composite materials like recycled plastic and wood fiber.


Of course, there are also hardwoods and pressure-treated woods that can be used to complete your project.



Deck Design, Size, And Shape 

Deck design, size, and shape all have an impact when building your deck. The design should complement the architecture of your house and coordinate with the surrounding landscape.


Likewise, the size should be driven by the location and your budget. Lastly, the shape of the deck should be dictated by the design of your house.



Building Code 

You should make your project legal by letting local authorities approve the blueprints to it. Laws may vary from one city or state to the other.



Deck Lighting

Elevated decks are quite attractive to see during the evening. So you need to consider installing deck lighting. For instance, you need to put landscaping spotlights, overhead lights, path lights, and wall or post-mounted lights.




The storage is one of the things that you can consider when building a deck. These are quite useful for keeping garden tools and supplies, outdoor toys, patio cushions, and outdoor furniture and accessories.



Deck Inspectors for Southern California is happy to offer our services in Los Angeles, Orange County as well as San Diego and all Southern California surrounding areas like: Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Santa Monica, Anaheim, Temecula, Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and El Cajon