terrace

A Terrace and Balcony: What Are the Differences?

Have you ever looked at adding an additional living space and wondered whether you should add a balcony or terrace? You are not alone. Balcony decks and terraces have long been confused with each other though, so to help you distinguish between them, here are a few key differences:

 

Size

The most obvious difference between a balcony and terrace has to be its size because the terrace is much bigger than a balcony, which is considered a smaller extension of the indoor living space.

 

Location

Another key difference between the two is their location. Balcony decks are extensions of the upper floor space. This means that they could be attached to the side of a house or a building, which makes them elevated.

Terraces, on the other hand, are usually flat platforms that serve as an extended outdoor living space. In recent years, a terrace could also mean a flat platform on the rooftop of a building where an outdoor living space could be created.

 

Finally, balcony decks and terraces are different from how they are accessed. Balconies are smaller and they are always attached to a room in the house while terraces are open spaces that have a separate entrance.

 


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

contractor

The Five Things to Look for in a Contractor

Constructing or renovating a house can be very tricky, tedious, and stressful. Although the idea of doing it yourself can look enticing and easy, putting yourself in a situation that requires a lot of time, work and money could make you easily lose your cool. So before that happens, it’s best to hire a contractor to get the job done for you. Here are five important things that you should look for in your contractor:

 

  1. Credibility

It goes without saying that you need a contractor that’s not only good at marketing itself but also credible enough to really give you the results that you aspire.

Credibility is very important when hiring a contractor because you’re essentially putting your project in his hands, no matter how small it is.

For instance, if you need your apartment to be inspected as part of your requirements, a professional apartment deck inspection team should do the job to ensure that everything is checked properly.

 

  1. Bonding capacity

No matter how small your project is, it’s a smart move to find a contractor that could offer you a bond for your project because it’s a sign of their financial strength and credibility. An un-bondable contractor could actually be a sign that they’ve had problems with past projects and paying their bills.

 

  1. Tenure

Although there are some good contractors that are new in the business, the experience still counts a lot when you’re looking for someone to do even the simplest home renovation projects for you.

Good contractors have already worked on numerous projects in the past, which means that they’ve dealt with a lot of situations and know how to handle them properly by now.

 

  1. Safety ratings

Safety should be a top priority in all your projects. So whether you need an apartment deck inspection or a full renovation, it’s very important to look at a contractor’s MOD rating (Experience Modification Rate), which is a plan required on all employer’s meeting a premium eligibility criteria for every state.

You’d want to book a contractor with less than 1.0 MOD rating, which is based on its industry classification and the number of OSHA incidents that’s been recorded by the company over a certain period.

 

  1. Technology

The construction industry is all about adapting to new techniques, tools, and technologies to make projects more efficient.

So if you want to get things done fast without sacrificing its quality, it wouldn’t hurt to hire a contractor that’s already adept with technology and uses it for projects to be completed more quickly.

A renovation or remodeling project is a lot more serious than it looks. You’re putting your money on the line, for one, and you might also need to make some sacrifices while the project is being worked on.

So if you want things to go as smoothly as possible, it’s very important to look for a contractor that will give you the most value for your investment.

 


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

building permits

How Expensive Is It to Get Building Permits?

Whether you’re building a new house, renovating some parts of it, adding an extension, or just want to get your house inspected by expert deck inspectors, you will need to secure building permits before you can start working on the project.

The truth is, building permit costs are growing exponentially every year that you really need to prepare financially for it to avoid any hiccups in the process.

But how expensive is it really to get building permits this year?

 

The Average Cost

In the United States, the national average cost for getting a building permit is $1,184, but it can range between $396 and $1,973. The cost can even reach as high as $7,500 in some big cities while smaller towns can charge as low as $100.

A building permit is strictly required for all types of building or remodeling projects in all states to make sure that the building code safety is complied with.

Whether you’re doing an electrical or plumbing project, doing any structural additions, or doing a complete renovation, you will be required by your local state to secure a building permit before any work can start.

 

Here are the average building permit costs of some of the most common renovations and rebuilding projects:
  • Building a house: $1,200-$2,000
  • Construction: $1,200-$2,000
  • Garage conversion: $1,200-$1,500
  • HVAC: $1,200-$2,000
  • Electrical: $10-$500
  • Bathroom: $1,200-$2,000
  • Plumbing: $50-$500
  • Deck: $0-$500
  • Basement: $1,200-$2,000
  • Building inspection: $200-$500
  • Demolition: $200
  • Window: $260-$600

 

The actual cost of securing a building permit will depend on the extent, type, and specifications of your project. This is why it’s very helpful to seek professional advice to know exactly how much you need to prepare and to avoid any hassles in securing the building permit itself.

For instance, if you want to add a deck or renovate an existing one, it’s best to hire expert deck inspectors who can do a full assessment of your deck and help you determine if you need a permit and what the costs will be.

If you’re planning to build a new deck, for instance, you may need to pay a permit fee of up to $500, which is relatively low as compared with other projects because decks don’t usually need any additional components like outlets, roofs, and wiring.

There will be instances, however, when you might need the services of a land surveyor to know exactly the best spot and the size for your deck.

Finally, you need to keep in mind that permit costs are different for commercial and residential buildings since an additional valuation is usually applied to the permit application fee.

At the end of the day, it’s best to work with contractors who can help you with the nitty-gritty involved in securing building permits and take care of your project so you don’t have to do the hard work yourself.

Once your project is complete, you may be required to hire a team of inspectors to make sure everything is done right and appraise your home if you’re putting it on the market.

 


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

deck inspectors

3 Quick Tips for Inspecting Your Deck

Regular deck inspection should be part of your must-do’s as a homeowner and here are three quick tips that you can use when inspecting your outdoor living area:

 

Check for signs of mold and mildew growth

You can expect mold and mildew growth on your deck, especially if you don’t clean it regularly. But if you already notice fungus growing on your deck, you should consult qualified deck inspectors in California right away to address the problem because it can pose a serious health hazard to your family.

 

Look for any missing nails or screws

Being an extended living space, your deck should be able to stand on its own while still being firmly attached to your house.

The ledger board does this job, but when you see that there are missing screws or the board isn’t well fastened, you need to have it fixed right away before your deck separates from your house.

You should also look out for missing nails that could make your deck weaker and dangerous to stay in.

 

Inspect posts for signs of rotting

 Finally, you have to make sure that all the posts in your deck have no signs of rotting. Over time, your deck may start to weaken because of constant exposure to the elements, which is why it’s best to have qualified deck inspectors in California over to make sure that everything is in good shape and to recommend any replacements or repairs if needed.

 


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

exterior elevated element

Are You Planning to Add a Balcony in Your Home? Here’s What You Should Consider

It’s almost every homeowner’s dream to have a balcony. This exterior elevated element doesn’t only add some extra space in the house, but it also adds a luxurious feel to space. Just imagine waking up and drinking coffee in your balcony.

But adding a balcony in a finished home is not an easy task. So if you’re planning on this as your next project, here are some of the things that you should consider:

 

The Materials

Most balconies are made from wood, cement, vinyl, or wood composite. Your choice of material should be based on what your existing home’s materials are so the balcony easily blends in with the rest of the house.

Cement is a popular choice because of how it can hold up to the elements, but some prefer wood because it offers that relaxing ambiance that a lot of people are looking for.

 

Accessibility

Building a balcony is more than just tearing down a wall and creating an exterior elevated element where you can look at your views outside. You also need to pick a spot in your house where you can easily build a doorway and access point from the room where you choose to connect your balcony too.

You also need to think about how the balcony will affect the overall look of your home and it should be placed in a convenient spot that doesn’t put a dent on your current living arrangement.

 

Size 

Most experts would recommend building an exterior elevated element that extends at least four feet outwards because it can already accommodate two to three people and maybe some chairs for lounging. Consult your contractor on the best size for your balcony considering your house, your need for that extended living space, and of course, your budget.

 

Balustrade 

Your balustrade will be the focal point of your balcony’s aesthetics. Depending on the look that you’re going for or the current theme of your house, you can choose from metal, wood, vinyl, concrete, and glass panel railings. You can also choose from balustrades that form a single straight line, semi-circle, and angular line.

 

Cost 

A typical balcony will cost you between $15 and $35 per square foot. This cost will depend mainly on your choice of materials, the cost of labor, the style that you want, and of course, the height and size of your balcony.

But if you’re willing to make that investment, you can guarantee a good return value once you already put your home in the market.

Of course, there are permits. Any exterior elevated element will need permits before you can start construction, especially if you’re building a second-story balcony where you need to make sure that the added structure is safe and sturdy.

This is when it matters to work with a contractor with the appropriate license and credentials, so you can make this part easier and move on with your project.

 


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

deck inspection services

4 Tips for Checking Your Deck Before an Inspection

Your deck is the focal point of your home’s outdoor space. It’s where you entertain, spend time with the family, and just relax under the stars during the summer. With all the benefits of having a deck as part of your property, you should also invest in routine deck inspection services to make sure that this outdoor space is safe and sturdy for its purpose.

But before your reliable inspectors get to your house, you should do a self-inspection first following these tips:

 

Look for Signs of Insect Damage

Being exposed to the outdoors, your deck is the ideal breeding ground for insects. Although most materials for making decks are now treated with chemicals that keep insects away, there’s still some chance that your deck might be infested with ants and termites that could cause serious damage to its framework.

If you notice even the slightest sway when you walk on your deck, it is worth noting this observation to your deck inspector to see what can be done to address this problem.

 

Look for Cracks 

Small cracks are a normal part of your deck’s wear and tear, especially if it’s been around for a long time. But cracks around fasteners and between joists could be a sign of serious damage to your deck and should be addressed right away before it causes serious problems in the future.

Depending on the recommendations of your deck inspection services, you should seal and stain your deck at least every two years to reduce cracks that are caused by water, heat, and cold exposure.

 

Look for Rusting

Your deck may look good on the outside, but it could be suffering from some serious damages on the inside. So when inspecting your deck, you should look closely at your connectors, joists, and fasteners for any signs of rusting, which could make your deck weak and potentially dangerous to use. If you detect any rust on nails, screws, bolts, and other connectors, you should call deck inspection services right away.

 

Look for Signs of Mold and Mildew Exposure

Because of its constant exposure to the elements, your deck will develop mold and mildew at some point during its lifespan. Your steps are most susceptible to mildew growth, which could make it slippery and unsafe.

If you notice any green tint on your deck, make sure to wash and stain it regularly to address the problem. But if you see mushroom-like growth in your deck, it could be mold and fungus that could be a sign of bigger problems. Call your deck inspector right away to have your deck checked.

Your deck offers a lot of benefits to your house. Aside from being an extension of your living space, it also adds value to your property and makes it more attractive to future buyers.

So if you want to make the most of this investment, you have to make sure that regular deck inspection services are done to protect your deck from any serious damages.

 


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 balcony

Ideas on How to Beautify your Elevated Balcony

There are many simple and doable ideas to transform your elevated balcony into an adorable elevated balcony. Below are some of them.

 

  • Put a small coffee table on your patio. Add some table decors like a colorful flower arrangement in a geometrical vase, a torch, silver or golden candle holders, or candlesticks.
  • Add pillows on your elevated balcony chairs to make it stylish and cozy. Or if you do not have chairs, opt for colorful floor pillows.
  • Bring in some fresh air by adding pots of greens and flowers. If possible, add few pots of herbs as well for relaxing farm feeling.
  • Light up your elevated balcony using outdoor lights or lantern string lights.
  • Create a privacy wall using attractive stylish screens. Or if you are into arts and crafts, bamboo poles are affordable options that can be decorated with natural accents or string lights.
  • Add some shade by adding a fabric canopy.
  • Add pattern to your patio’s dull floor by layering outdoor rugs.
  • Make use of your elevated balcony wall to add spice on by hanging an art piece or hang planters.

 

Small touches can create big impressions on your elevated balcony. Now, decorating and transform your outdoor space according to your style and personality.

 


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

deck railings

Codes for Deck Railings

A deck with no railings is like inviting an accident to happen. Every state regulates certain qualifications for construction to ensure safety. But apart from the local restrictions, IRC and IBC have set stricter codes for residential, commercial, and business buildings.

International Residential Code (IRC) regulates codes for decks attached to homes and residences while the International Building Code (IBC) implements standard building codes for decks attached to apartment buildings and commercial establishments.

If you are planning on a deck project, it is best to be familiar with deck railings codes to ensure they meet community building standards. This way, you are sure of getting that much-needed permit to get the project started.

 

What is the Standard Deck Railing Height?

Homes with attached decks that are 30 inches from the surface must have guardrails of at least 36 inches high will while commercial establishments like apartments, condominiums, or bars need to be at least 46 inches high.

The same height standards apply to deck stairs. Expert deck inspectors measure the height from the nose of the stair tread to the top of the rail. Handrails must have a minimum diameter of 1 ¼ inch and a maximum of 2 inches. Guardrails must also be well-built to sustain 200 lbs. force in the middle, side, and top of the post.

 

Do Lower Decks need Railings?

In some cases, railings are not required for decks below 30 inches. However, if you opt to install guardrails, you must still conform to the code requirements. Expert deck inspectors require the rails to be as sturdy as to guards installed on higher decks.

 

What is the Standard Railings Spacing?

Baluster railings post must be installed close enough but not more than 6 inches apart. Expert deck inspectors will test the spacing using a 4-inch ball. On average, a baby’s head diameter is 4 inches, so the 4-inch rule is to ensure that babies will not stick their heads between the railings spacing.

 

Strength and Durability Standards

The top of the railings is expected to withstand 200lb pressure vertically and horizontally. Infill rails must sustain a minimum of 125 pounds of force from any direction.

Deck railings for homes and buildings must meet the International Residential Code and International Building Code tests. The series of tests are performed by expert deck inspectors or accredited professional inspection services provider.

The existing deck railings codes and requirements are specifically designed to ensure everyone’s safety. Although these codes are adopted by cities and states, local building departments might have additional restrictions. Thus, it is better to speak with your local building authorities before starting any deck projects.

Above all, getting in touch with certified expert deck inspectors can do you a lot of benefits. It saves you the trouble from submitting the necessary requirements to secure a permit. Expert deck inspectors save you from thorough government inspections, possible fatal injuries due to structural failure, legal woes, hefty government fines, and penalties.

And do not forget that these certified inspection services companies are your sure ticket to that daunting deck building permit.

 


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

deck permit

Why Permits are Required for Building a Deck

If you are building a deck, it is worth checking if a permit is necessary. As per Senate Bill No.721 or SB-721, or widely known as “Balcony bill”, “the law requires inspection of exterior elevated elements and associated waterproofing elements, as defined, including decks and balconies.”

 

Getting a permit before construction begins is quite a bit like a hassle, but the process ensures that the structure is built to standards and regulations. Securing a permit does not only ensure safety but also saves you from penalties and legal woes.

 

Securing a building permit will cost you extra money. Some homeowners consider this daunting, but we cannot skip the SB-721 law. The best way is to work with a company or inspector that will streamline the process. A local property inspector knows the ins and outs of the building codes, thus making the building phase at an accelerated level.

 

There are two common reasons why a deck permit is likely to be denied. First is non-compliance with zoning law. Depending on your local zoning law, it is best to consult first your zoning department before starting a project. The location where you are installing your deck must not affect the overall comfort of the neighborhood.

 

Second is an incorrect plan. Your proposed deck plan should indicate the correct dimensions of sizes and footings for beams and joists. Any error on your design drawing can cause project delay.

 

 

What will happen if a deck or balcony permit is not secured?

Building standards were created through constant learning. And if you decide to continue with your deck project unpermitted, these can result in serious consequences.

  1. Deck or balcony projects without a permit will be shut off immediately by building inspectors when discovered. Taking it down completely will not only cost you more money but also imposes legal responsibilities.
  2. Homeowners and contractors will probably pay fines and penalties depending on your area.
  3. You are still required to secure a deck building permit. That being said, you will have to go through the process of permit applications including submitting copies of the proposed design and paying for the permit fee.
  4. You will be required to work with a licensed inspector or contractor.
  5. Most likely you will face thorough inspection since the first project was unpermitted. Making sure that the project is sb-721 compliant, this could potentially delay the construction phase.

 

No one wants to build a beautiful deck only to be torn down apart even before its completion. No one wants to be in danger because of a collapsed deck. No one wants unnecessary physical injury and financial burden. No one wants to face lawsuits for having a non-compliant deck.  No one wants any of these setbacks.

 

Getting a deck permit saves you time and money, but also ensures overall safety. Always get in touch with certified inspectors. Hiring professional inspection services will leave no room for mistakes. Certified inspectors will take care of the permit and inspection process that will meet the existing sb-721 code.

 


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 walkways

Elevated Walkways: How They Came to Be

Elevated walkways have become an important part of urbanization. Aside from being an efficient solution to busy foot traffic, walkways also offer extra business space and are often regarded as a safer alternative to walking beside automobiles. But how exactly did elevated walkways come to be?

 

 

The first sidewalks were built in the 13th century in Chester, England. Although historians couldn’t tell the exact reasons they were built, these old sidewalks known as the Chester Rows are now considered a protected heritage site and have inspired many walkways built in the United States at the turn of the 20th century.

 

 

Elevated Walkways: Sky Bridges

The proposition to make Manhattan a “city of bridges” came about in 1913 with the publication of “The Elevated Sidewalk: How It Will Solve City Transportation Problems.” But that idea never came to life until the 60s when several towns in the United States started to consider the idea of elevated walkways again. The Minneapolis Skyway system was built in 1962 and it inspired many towns to do the same over the years.

 

 

Today, elevated walkways can be seen all over the world. What started as a simple concept of separating humans and cars on the road has now become an indispensable tool for living in a lot of cities.

 


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