SB 721 Inspection

Balconies Through the Ages: History of Elevated Balconies

Through the years, balconies have played an essential role in architectural history. From the medieval ages to modern times, balconies have added a united aesthetic to homes where homeowners can gather, entertain guests, and enjoy the outside world without stepping out of their property lines.

A Little Background of Elevated Balconies

The word balcony originates from “balcone”, an Italian word which means scaffold. The earliest balconies were constructed in ancient Greece thousands of years ago, mainly for functional needs such as to boost interior light and improve air circulation for homes in hot climates.

During medieval times, balconies were used for ceremonial and recreational functions, such as when people of importance stood out on a balcony as they made proclamations to those listening below them from the ground.

While balconies were once used by dictators to show power, during more recent times they hold many functional uses such as providing spectators a better view of plays, operas, and sports games.

Most recently, due to the Covid19 Pandemic, balconies have served as brief escapes for people in large cities and apartment buildings around the world.

Different types of balconies then and now


An ancient balcony made of wood, animal skin, or manure. While most balconies are associated with love and romance, a hourd is purposely built to protect a territory from invaders during the war. Castle defenders will stand on the hourd while dropping more manure or rocks to invaders below.

Juliet balcony

This is a compact type of balcony put up outside a French window or door on the second floor of the house. Juliet balcony is the most popular type and is a common architectural feature in countries like Italy and Spain. Balconets or balconettes, are other terms used for Juliet balconies and come in a wide range of designs – from minimalist to intricate railings.

French balcony

This one is a false balcony that opens into a railing with no space with the view of the surrounding around and below.

True balcony

Elevated balconies of this type add beauty, appeal, value, and some extra space to homes. In some states, properties with outdoor spaces add to the actual value of the property.


Besides, true balconies give homeowners the privacy they need without leaving the house. It becomes a private spot to enjoy the view around, watch the sunset, and get a breath of fresh air.


This is an indoor type of balcony commonly seen between two stories in a building. Mostly, a mezzanine serves as a nook to entertain guests which features a deck with protective railings.

Hung balconies

These types are commonly featured in residential and modern buildings that sit perpendicular to the building. From the cable fixes to the platform the material mainly consists of steel.


Hung balconies work by fixing the metal cable on the metal platform and is then connected to the wall at 45 degrees.


Today, elevated balconies are used for both functional and recreational purposes. Balconies are now additional parts of the household to communicate with neighbors, hang clothes, enjoy the sunset over a cup of coffee, and so much more.

Got more questions about elevated balconies or need some guidance with inspections? Reach out by clicking here!

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 an Elevated Deck

What New Codes Mean for Deck Inspectors and Owners

Decks attached to residential properties add to the aesthetics of the structure and allow for owners and renters extra space for entertaining guests, for soaking in some vitamin D, or for relaxation.

However, most homeowners do not give too much thought to the status of their decks, leaving them in a poor state because of a lack of regular maintenance.

In the United States alone, there are about 45 million decks of which just 40% of these are safety compliant.

Since updated deck codes have been developed and implemented, qualified deck inspectors conduct inspections to see if existing and newly built decks are safe according to new deck codes and standards.

What deck inspectors look for during deck inspections?

Deck loads

  • Building codes require any construction of decks to have evenly distributed loads on the entire deck. For a deck to carry a uniformly distributed load 50% of the load is carried by the deck-to-house connection and the half is carried by the post.

Posts and Footings

  • Qualified deck inspectors will see to it that the depths and sizes of the holes meet the state’s building standards and what is on the approved building plan.


Normally, the depths standard is 12 inches below and the holes should be free of water and loose dirt. Posts should also be on undisturbed soil, be pressure-treated, and must be attached to its footing so it will not slip off.

Beams and Girders

  • Girders must be 12 inches away from the ground should be properly bolted on a notched post. But as always there is an exception to the rule and is only applicable if the elevation of the property does not provide the minimum 12 inches distance or if the deck is the property is on a very dry location.

Ledger Connection

  • Qualified deck inspectors would check if ledgers are correctly attached to a structure using lag crews and bolts. Bolts and crews must be strategically placed at least 2 inches; top and bottom and at least 5 inches from ledger boards.


Also, spacing for the ledger fasteners must be based on the moisture content, deck loads, sheathing thickness, and type of wood species (which are beyond visual inspection) but primarily, as what most building codes require, the spacing of the ledger fastener is based by the length of the beam.


  • Deck inspectors will also check for existing and developing cracks as these can cause the connections from splitting which can weaken the deck bracing.

Fasteners or Connectors

  • Qualified deck inspectors will also take note of missing fasteners or connectors, rusting crews, loose fasteners, and any signs of degradation. In some instances, deck inspectors will carry new fasteners to replace those they remove during the inspection.

Decks may look so simple and easy to construct, but there’s more than meets the eye. Decks at home are bounded by safety regulations to avoid serious injury or death.


Looking for qualified deck inspectors to get your inspection done right? Click here to get in contact with some of our best! 

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

The Best Materials to Use for Modern Elevated Decks

Homeowners are now presented with a wide range of materials for home elevated decks, providing limitless ways to customize your deck just to your liking and stand out from the crowd. But with so much to choose from, picking the right material for your elevated decks can be a grueling process.

Before pushing through with your home deck plans, have a look at the list below to see which material might be the best fit for you.

Your choice deck materials are as follows:

Pressure-treated lumber

This is an affordable, easy to find, durable material and is generally recommended for small, elevated decks; however, PT lumbers are prone to warping, shrinking, and swelling when exposed to harsh elements and might require more upkeep depending the climate you live in.


This choice is easy to clean, weather-resistant, almost maintenance-free, and available in a variety of colors and features. Composites are more expensive compared to PT lumbers.


This is probably the perfect material for elevated decks as it is excellently rot and mold resistant. Aluminum is also a lot lighter when compared to wood, composite, and plastic materials. More so, it is exceptionally durable compared to most elevated decks materials.

Tropical hardwoods

Naturally resistant to insects, makes tropical hardwoods a good material choice. However, expect to shell out a good amount of money as this can be a harder find.

Red and Cedar

These materials add natural beauty to your elevated decks due to its rich and natural color. Both are also chemically treated making them resistant to rot, decay, and insects.

Have an elevated deck that’s up for inspection? Click here to get in contact with our qualified deck inspectors! 

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

Do Elevated Walkways Have A Clear Future?

There are speculations that elevated walkways can make way for the future of how public parks, particularly in urban environments, will be designed.


The only problem for urban development is the lack of space for creating such necessary sanctuaries that residents enjoy.


Concept Design Proves It Is Possible


In a concept park designed by a team in a park in Istanbul, Turkey, they featured elevated walkways weaving in and out of the trees above ground. It even had trampolines high above the ground level for everyone to have fun.


They are planning to create a series of different zones that might not be possible for densely packed locations just within 6 miles north of the bustling city center of Istanbul.


  • The Plaza.
    • This is the entrance of the park where visitors gather, sit, or lie down the lawn.
  • The Loop.
    • This is where visitors can enjoy a series of hammocks and swings above the park floor.
  • The Chords.
    • This invites people to wander the footpath twisting around the tree trunks, giving it a signature look different from any other public park that exists today.


The elevated walkways in mind will allow people to experience nature that is typically non-existent, creating a new interaction with trees in various heights.


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

What to Keep in Mind While Planning Your New Deck: How to Pass That Deck Inspection

Do you often envision the deck you are planning to build for special outdoor activities and celebrations of the family? Well, you must ensure that the deck is safe and up to the latest regulatory codes. This can be done by performing routine deck inspection.


Deck Safety


Since your deck is located outside of the house, it is often subject for the harshest elements the entire year. This means that the deck is often exposed to heat and cold weather conditions taking a tool even on the most well-maintained outdoor structures.


What You Need to Look Out For


Insect damage

    •  Modern day decks are mostly made of wood or a composite of such often treated with chemicals to keep bugs away. You can check for any deterioration if you notice some movement or sound when you first step onto it.

Rusted fasteners or connectors

    • Sometimes the safety of the deck is not visible from the outside. So, you have to look under the deck to ensure that connectors, fasteners, and joists are all in good shape.

Cracks and rotting

    • Wood tends to crack after some time specially between the joints and around the fasteners. This can exploit the weaknesses in your deck leading to serious problems.

Mold and mildew exposure

    • Almost all decks develop a green tint from mildew within its lifespan. In fact, steps are prone to mildew growth making them slippery and unsafe.


Deck Inspection


Deck framing

    • Inspectors for framing would usually require decks to be built low to the ground. This makes the job of inspectors easy without having to crawl down the structure. During deck inspection, inspectors will have to look at the specific connections assembled across the frame.


  • Among the areas to be inspected are the joist and beam spacing, as well as the hardware connections. Before the permit can be closed, you must pass a final inspection when all the work is done.

Deck footing inspection

    • Contractors can save ample amount of time on a project if they coordinate promptly about the footing inspections after the excavations. You can pass the footing inspection by using an inspector measure so that you can verify the base sizes and depths of the holes meet the specifications of the approved plans.


Professional Deck Inspection Cost


Perhaps the most important areas have been discussed and the remaining item to talk about is the cost. Typically, professional deck inspection cost ranges from $25 for a 30-minute inspection to as high as $199 for an hour.


What to Do If You Fail


It is possible to make mistakes as even experienced tradesmen can overlook details. Therefore a deck inspection is necessary because an inspector can look for details that others can’t.


If you fail, it is guaranteed that the next time your deck is inspected, it will become much safer and ready for use. So, it is not that bad to fail at your inspection after all.


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 Elements

Types of Exterior Elevated Elements: Differences Between Balconies and Porches

If you think a balcony is synonymous to a porch, then you should spend some time reading this article and get the true difference between the two elevated elements.  Here are basic differences between balconies and porches to begin with.


What Is A Balcony?


The balcony is a platform built outside the building, commonly enclosed by walls or balustrades, and supported by console brackets or columns. Basically, such a platform is projected from the wall of a particular building mostly above the ground floor.


Types of Balconies


A typical balcony is typically small and not used for entertainment or social gathering. Here are different types of balconies each one unique from the other.


True balcony

    • This one is common to everyone because it is a space with a floor and railings, open to the outdoors. Some can be very big and can hold furniture, such as a table or bench and a couple of chairs.

Faux balcony

    • Designed to look like a balcony, this one doesn’t have a floor. In fact, you can’t stand on it. However, it has some rails to give the impression of an actual balcony. Consider it as a decorative structure intended for making the exterior look more stylish.

False balcony

    • A small regular balcony but not faux balcony. Only a little bit of floor space and railings is available. But it is not built to hold furniture because it is only used to extend a room making it more open and offer breathable space as air can enter through this part of the apartment.

Mezzanine balcony

    • A real balcony located indoors is what best describes the mezzanine balcony. It also has a floor and railings making a space look more interesting as it serves different purposes.


What Is A Porch?


Just like the balcony, a porch is not all built the same. Here are a variety of porches made in different designs, placement, and purpose.


Types of Porches


Open porch

    • This one is something that doesn’t have any enclosures or sidewalls. It is just an elevated structure with a roof.

Front entry porch

    • This type of porch is attached directly to the front door, marking the main entrance of the house.

Farmer’s porch

    • Commonly attached to a farmhouse-style structure, this type of porch has a roof and supports beams and railings, going along the front of the house.

Back porch

    • Opposite to the front entry porch, the back porch is situated at the back of the house, commonly connected to the back door.

Detached porch

    • This one is not attached to the house, but its structure is similar to that of a pavilion or gazebo.

Screened porch

    • Enclosed by screens, this porch has a roof, often considered an extension of the living room.


As an exterior elevated element, the porch has many other names depending on its design and location inside the property.


Thus, the differences between the balcony and porch have been established. This makes each exterior elevated element a special part of the house with specific purpose.


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

waterproof deck sealer

Best Types of Deck Sealer

You can protect your wooden deck from any potential damage with the right deck waterproofing and sealer techniques. Take note that decks serve as living rooms of outdoor spaces where you can spend quality time with family to barbecue or enjoy a quiet evening with a glass of wine.

Wooden decks are subject to deterioration from exposure from the rain, snow, sun, or wind. This will wear away the wood, leading to cracks, fading, rot, and splinters. That is the main reason why it is very important to consider deck waterproofing with regular applications of deck sealers.


Seal-Once Marine Penetrating Wood Sealer

This is the best type of deck waterproofing. It is a clear water-based sealer that penetrates right down into the wood fibers to provide long-lasting protection against mold growth and moisture damage.


Eco Advance Exterior Wood Water Repellent

There is a reason why this product is the easiest to apply. Simply mix the concentrate with 1 gallon of water and use a sprayer to cover your deck with a light coat of the formula. This will not even harm your lawn or outdoor plants.


Olympic Stain Smartguard Concentrated Sealant

When it comes to the best value for money, this concentrated sealant is a well-priced that comes in concentrate form. Moreover, this sealer prevents water damage, rotting, splitting, and warping.


Olympic Stain Maximum Waterproofing Sealant

Wooden deck sealants typically last a year, but the Olympic Stain sealant lasts up to 3 years. It protects decks from cupping, rotting, and staining caused by humidity and water.


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 326

What to Know About SB 326

The long-awaited Senate Bill 326 (SB 326) has finally been enacted by the California Legislature to protect property owners from building defects. According to the bill, there are three main objectives to accomplish.


Inspection for Exterior Elevation

Associations having 3 or more multifamily dwelling units now need to meet new requirements in accordance with the Civil Code Section 5551 of the SB 326.

So all exterior elevated elements supported in substantial part by wood or wood-based products must be inspected by a licensed structural engineer or architect every 9 years.

Part of this bill also requires the inspector to submit a report to the association board to provide specified information. This includes the current physical condition and the remaining useful life of the load-bearing components and associated waterproofing systems.

Moreover, the inspector must provide a copy of the inspection report to the association right after the completion of the report. A copy must also be furnished to the local code enforcement agency within 15 days after completing the report.

If the inspection of any exterior elevated element has already been carried out, the inspector advises that the exterior elevated element poses an immediate threat to the safety of the occupants.

In this case, the bill will authorize the local enforcement agencies to recover the enforcement costs in connection to these requirements. Then, the association board will also be able to enact rules or bylaws to impose requirements more than those imposed by these provisions.


Membership Vote Requirements to Act Against Developers

The association has the authority to bring formal and informal legal proceedings versus a declarant or developer of the community. Thus, developers can add provisions together with the governing documents limiting or restricting the ability of the association to bring such actions against a developer without the consent of the membership.

Nevertheless, the addition of section 5986 to the Civil Code aims to invalidate the ruling and outright prohibit the governing documents of the association to limit the authority of the board to initiate legal proceedings versus a developer.

Since section 5986 applies retroactively to any association to limit the language in the governing documents, associations are no longer required to comply with the restrictive provisions in the governing documents.


Provide Written Notice

Within the Civil Code section 6150, associations looking to bring action versus a developer for construction defects are required to provide written notice. This is intended to discuss problems that may lead to formal legal action and available options to address the problems.

The new bill SB 326 will amend the Civil Code section 6150 to require associations to notify the membership and discuss the potential impacts of filing a civil action, which includes financial impacts.


Authority for Legal Proceedings

The act also states that an association has the standing to institute, defend, intervene, or settle in the litigation, arbitration, mediation, or doing administrative proceedings in its own name.

SB 326 requires the board to determine whether an association may start to make legal proceedings versus a builder, declarant, or developer of a common interest development unless specified.


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

apartment deck inspection

Benefits of an Apartment Deck for Tenants

Aside from enjoying the perks of turning your apartment deck or patio into an oasis, creating a cozy, stylish spot for tenants can also be beneficial during the pandemic.

Decorating a balcony can be a bit tricky, but sprucing up your rental house or apartment can be even harder. Nowadays, since the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the apartment rental industry, it is good to have a better option for tenants.


Adapting To the New Normal

An apartment without a balcony is obviously not a popular choice. In fact, many people living with at least one person are becoming more desperate for an escape, particularly from the rising tensions indoors.

Thus, having personal space is now a precious commodity. As a matter of fact, there are lots of benefits to getting from balconies in terms of livability, lovability, mental health, and pleasure of living in urban settings, even before the coronavirus pandemic.

Staying indoors can be the only option for tenants now that 95% of the population in the U.S. is under lockdown. However, it can also take a toll on mental health. Leaving home can be quite a scary option nonetheless.


Why Build Balconies

This makes sidewalk widths and balcony depth more significant for people living in the city. If you are going to build bigger balconies, however, it only means that lesser internal space will be left available.

Top offerings that property owners have added or upgraded to their apartment spaces include common outdoor spaces big enough for residents to gather. Thus, you can maximize balcony spaces by hiring apartment deck inspection services.

In some localities, regulations regarding the renovation of balconies have been modified in order to serve other goals. So developers are able to expand the amount of exempted balcony spaces if they can show three improvements, including the livability of the home, architectural interest, and green performance of the property.


Balconies Help Lower Energy Use

You can benefit from an apartment balcony as it can provide a passive shade to naturally cool down homes. Thus, it can help lower the use of energy because you don’t have to turn the air-conditioning more often than usual.


Help Neighborhoods Engage In Social Connection

Neighborhoods with balconies facing the streets can also be a great way to engage in community resilience and social connection. In some popular cities around the world, many residents engage in nightly cheering for health workers from the balconies. This can also enable them to build connections with their neighbors from their own home without going outside.


Offer Pleasant Living Spaces

If you want to have a pleasant living space, it is best to consult an apartment deck inspection service. That is because balconies have become pleasant living spaces with the absence of air pollution due to the reduction in car traffic.


Escape From Quarantine Stress

You can actually appreciate stepping into a netted balcony seeing the empty road with deafening silence and hearing the chirping sound of birds in the open. This serves as a quick escape from the stressful experience of the quarantine.

If you want to maximize the benefits of your apartment space, make it a point to seek help from apartment deck inspection professionals. During the coronavirus pandemic, balconies play an important role to provide fresh air without anxiety.


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 an Elevated Deck

A Quick Deck Safety Inspection

There are 40 million estimated decks in the United States with half of these existing decks are safety and code compliant. While decks and balconies give added aesthetics to the exterior beauty of your homes, these can also cause tragic accidents or death without a proper safety inspection.

A deck safety inspection can save lives. But for peace of mind and overall safety, certified deck inspectors can do an excellent deck safety inspection.

  • Check for improper or loose connections. Use nuts, bolts, and washer for the new installation of decks. If the wood deck is connected using nails, have this replaced immediately by a certified contractor.
  • Routinely check the joints between the deck and the house for rust or corrosion. If this can eventually cause the deck to collapse.
  • Deck inspectors will check for rotted support posts. Rotted deck supports become weak and can no longer support the deck’s weight. Your hired deck inspector will recommend if deck posts require replacement.
  • Check if your deck wobbles every time you walk across it. Most of the time, deck inspectors will fasten an angle bracing under the deck.

Regular deck inspections carried by certified deck inspectors and corrective measures prevent fatal injuries and accidents from happening.


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