elevated balcony

Building a Balcony? Here Are Your Design Options

It’s been a long-time dream of yours to wake up and look out from your elevated balcony. And now that you have the chance to add that extra feature to your home, you want to do things right by choosing the right design elements for your balcony. To make things easier, we rounded up some of your best options:



The railing


Your railing will be the most visible part of your balcony, so it’s only fitting that you find the right design to match the rest of your house and make the balcony as safe as possible, especially if it’s an elevated balcony.


Wrought iron railing is a common choice because of how it gives off that classic look, especially when paired with a wrought iron spiral staircase. This option is perfect if your house has a European or old-world feel.


Glass railing, on the other hand, offers uninterrupted views without compromising safety. It is perfect for modern minimalist homes, but it can also blend well with most home designs.



The décor


Decorating your elevated balcony is an exciting part of this entire process because you have endless options to choose from. One of the most popular décor pegs for balconies its urban charm. Think about a mix of industrial and rustic charm where you can use wrought iron railings and add bistro-style seating for that urban effect. This style is especially perfect if you have brick exterior walls.


A lot of homeowners also love modern design, which is basically keeping things as simple and minimal as possible. Use muted palettes for your theme and dress the space up with pops of color through your outdoor cushions or even some wall décor.


Play with different textures and shapes to give your balcony extra flair. If you’re into Moroccan-themed spaces, you’d love the eclectic design for your balcony. This style is all about using bright colors, unique accessories and gold accents to create a space that makes you feel like you’re on a holiday.



The floors


Aside from your railings, your floor also needs to be chosen well to create the look and feel that you want for this outdoor space. Wood is usually the go-to option for a lot of homeowners because it can match with any theme and essentially easy to maintain.


You can also go for concrete flooring for your elevated balcony and use reactive or nonreactive stain to make it less boring. If you want to get the look for a marbled floor for your balcony, you can use an acid-based reactive stain that will change the color of the concrete to natural earth tones. But if you want a stronger color, you should use nonreactive stains.



The bottom line


The possibilities are endless when it comes to dressing up your balcony. From awnings to lighting, there’s a lot that you can do to create an outdoor space that’s conducive for relaxation and even entertaining. You just have to choose your design elements wisely to achieve a cohesive and structured look for your elevated balcony.


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

qualified deck inspectors

Here’s Everything You Need to Do to Pass a Deck Inspection

Like any part of your home, a deck has to be functional, sturdy and safe for you to use it well. This is why you need to have it checked by qualified deck inspectors at least every two years. But before you do that, you have to ensure that you will pass the deck inspection by following these tips:



Look for Any Signs of Damage


Your deck goes through more wear and tear than other parts of your house because it’s constantly exposed to the elements. Since it’s made of wood, it’s also more prone to pest infestation and other problems.


Check every nook and cranny of your deck and take note of any signs of damage. You’ll most likely see ants and termites in its framework or rust in its bolts, nails and other metal connectors.


Most of these damages are not really visible outside, so make sure to look under your deck. Address these issues right away to avoid flagging by your inspector.



Clean your Deck Regularly


If your deck has been around for many years now, you probably start to see some green tints around it due to mildew growth.


This is especially visible on your steps where mildew can make it slippery, which is why it’s very important to wash your deck regularly to get rid of that mildew and other dirt that’s a red flag for qualified deck inspectors.


You should also be on the lookout for mold and fungus growth, especially around the pillars of your deck because it could be a serious health hazard if not addressed right away.



Make sure to Follow your Decking Plans


If you’re building a deck for the first time, you will need to have qualified deck inspectors come over before the deck is installed so they can check your framing from above the deck. These inspectors will usually look at your construction plan and compare the end result to ensure that you are complying with standards. Aside from the form of your framing, inspectors will also look into the type and size of wood that you’re using and the proper joist spacing. If you don’t adhere to your original floor plan, your deck could be flagged as failed.


Of course, nothing beats a good walkthrough of your deck on a daily basis to make sure that it’s still in tiptop shape. When you walk on your deck, do you notice any screeching sounds from the wood? Do you notice that some areas are not as sturdy as they were?


Are you seeing any signs of damage around the deck? Be vigilant enough to notice anything that warrants a repair or replacement. Whether or not you are having qualified deck inspectors around, following these tips will make your deck safer and more functional for a longer time.


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 - waterproofing

Protecting Balconies, Decks And Elevated Walkways Against Water Intrusion

There is a common problem in enclosed balconies, decks, and elevated walkways that boils down to structural concerns due to water entry. But such common problems can be easily avoided using some very simple measures taken during the design and construction process.



Nevertheless, there is not a single organization being developed to bring industry-wide standards for the proper design and construction of balconies, decks, and elevated walkways. This is because the materials used for waterproofing such structures are the same materials in the roofing and waterproofing industry.


Failure to determine how a deck or balcony will accommodate the drainage of water both at the wearing surface and waterproofing membrane will be a great concern for the designer and the contractor or the builder.


Concrete Pavers

Therefore, proper considerations must be given to the utilization of concrete pavers that can be removed easily and replaced whenever necessary for the investigation, maintenance, or repair. This also includes other wearing surfaces to provide access to the waterproofing beneath a balcony, deck, or elevated walkways.


However, without accessible routes, it must be assumed that the building has been built with the right materials and the proper construction techniques that are required to last through the life expectancy of the structure.


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

waterproofing methods - balcony decks

Waterproofing Methods And Types For Balcony Decks

Building waterproofing methods are basically the formation of impervious barriers over the surfaces of foundations, roofing, balcony decks, and walls. This includes other structural members of the building to avoid water penetrations through such surfaces.


Materials commonly used for building waterproofing include cementitious material, bituminous material, liquid waterproofing membrane, and polyurethane liquid membrane, among others.


Waterproofing in buildings is needed for the basement of bathrooms and kitchen, balconies, decks, green roofs, structure, terrace or roofs, walls, water tanks, swimming pools, and the like.



Cementitious Waterproofing

This process is among the easiest waterproofing methods in any construction. Cementitious waterproofing requires materials that are easily available from suppliers of masonry products, which are easy to apply or mix.


The common applications for cementitious waterproofing include the following:

  • Bridges
  • Dams
  • Marine cargo ports and docks
  • Parking structures and lots
  • Railway and subway systems
  • River locks/channel and concrete dikes
  • Sewage treatment plants
  • Tunnels
  • Water treatment plants



Liquid Waterproofing Membrane

There is a thin coating that consists of a primer coat and a couple of coats on top applied by roller, spray, or trowel. Liquid membrane waterproofing methods can offer more flexibility compared with the cementitious type of waterproofing. The liquid will cure the surface into a rubbery coating on the wall.


Basically, the elongation properties of the coating can reach as high as 280%. But the durability of the coating will depend on the type of polymer that the manufacturer will use for making the liquid waterproofing.


Liquid waterproofing membrane can be composed of polymer-modified asphalt, which can be applied by spray. Polyurethane liquid membranes are also available for different manufacturers in separate grades for roller, spray, and trowel.



Bituminous Coating Waterproofing

It is a type of coating that can be used for waterproofing buildings and provides a flexible protective coating. The bituminous coating uses formulation and polymerization grade to provide protection and flexibility against water due to the polymer grade and the reinforcement of fiber.


Bituminous coating is otherwise called asphalt coating in which the most common applications include areas that are under screed wet. Such would be an excellent protective coating and waterproofing agent, particularly on surfaces like concrete foundations.



Bituminous Membrane Waterproofing

Membrane waterproofing is a famous process used for low-sloped roofs or balcony decks because of its proven performance. The self-adhesive membrane and torchon membrane are used in the bituminous waterproofing membrane.


Self-adhesive compounds contain asphalt, fillers, and polymers. In addition to that, some compounds like oils and resins are also added to improve adhesion characteristics. Torchon membrane is also another type that can either be exposed or covered. The exposed membrane has a mineral granular aggregate to withstand wear and tear.



Polyurethane Liquid Membrane Waterproofing

This process is used for the flat roof area, balcony decks, and areas that are exposed to weathering. However, this type of waterproofing is said to be expensive. That said, it can offer higher flexibility. Nevertheless, polyurethane is very sensitive to moisture content, so it is essential to evaluate the moisture content in the concrete slab. Otherwise, de-bonding or peeling of membranes can happen after some time.


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

inspection services

How Buildings Can Collapse


There is more than one reason that causes buildings to collapse. Here are some of the chief causes of why commercial and residential buildings collapse in recent years. Thus, it is essential that deck inspection services be consulted to avoid this from happening.



Structural Failure

 One of the main reasons why buildings collapse is a structural failure. Buildings are designed to carry a particular load. Nevertheless, there are factors that can affect its integrity. Some of the factors include the increase in the number of occupants that deviates from what was earlier planned for the designs.


Likewise, when structural designs are done poorly, the overall stability is bound to collapse. Thus, when considering structural overload, people are required to pay attention to dead loads, live loads, and wind loads.


Basically, a dead load refers to the elements of the building, such as the weight of the permanent partition floors, roofs, and walls. On the other hand, the live load refers to the furniture or people that move from one area to another. Wind load considers the direction in which the wind blows and specifications need to be catered so that the building can endure the wind pressure.



Design Inadequacies

 The builder should follow the structural designs closely. When the instructions are not carried properly, then the structure of the building will weaken. A civil engineer stated that any change of earlier planned building structural design into a more complex design not accounted for can increase the weight. It leads to some tension to the columns which could lead to collapse. Perhaps considering deck inspection services to existing designs can help fill in the inadequacies or neglect.



Incompetence In Engineering Practices

 Improper mixing of concrete is also among the main incompetence by engineers that could lead to issues of building durability. Concrete should undergo three different stages to be approved. Such would include batching, curing, and testing.



Counterfeit Materials

 There are building materials manufactured in some places where cement or steel bars are counterfeit. This can be used in buildings when the engineer is not cautious, leading to the collapse because building strength is not guaranteed.



Poor Workmanship

Having a role allocation that is poor in the case of building construction can lead to the mixing of materials poorly. So engineers need to supervise the builders accordingly to avoid this.



Wrong Building Use

 Switching to another building to be used can pose a threat to the building itself. That is because when a building has changed from its planned intentions, they can be subject to overloading. That could lead to challenges in the design capabilities of the building. It is essential that deck inspection services be consulted first before settling in the building to be used.



Building Settlement

 In some cases, engineers fail to check the soil strength of the ground where the building is to be constructed. Thus, it could lead to the collapse of the said building in the long run.



Natural Calamities

 Natural calamities are also a factor in building collapse, particularly in foreign countries. They include cyclones, earthquakes, and tsunamis that led to a number of building collapses in recent years.


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

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

Deck Inspection

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

condo balcony decks

Responsibility for Repairs on a Condo Balcony Deck

You might have been wondering if your balcony decks should be repaired or remodeled, who is going to be responsible for it. Perhaps this is a question that many citizens are not aware of the answer.




The Owner or the Association?


Generally, it is important to note that when the property is within the separate interest that belongs to the homeowner, then it is his or her responsibility. However, when the balcony decks are within the common are property, then it should be within the responsibility of the association.


In other words, if your drainpipe from the sink leaks, then it is your responsibility. Nevertheless, when the pool heater breaks down, then it is the association that will be responsible for it.




Hybrid Elements


You may also consider a more ambiguous issue that involves hybrid elements of the complex. These are known as exclusive use common areas, wherein they are outside of the airspace that defines the separate interest of the homeowner. The homeowners are the ones who can benefit from these and may only be used by a particular homeowner. Such would include balconies, garages, and patios, among others.




Assembly Bill 968


Assembly Bill 968 was introduced in order to clarify the declaration of the common interest and the separate interest development. So the association will be responsible for any repairs in the common interest development. On the other hand, the owner will be responsible for the maintenance of the separate interest and any exclusive use common area belonging to the separate interest.




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

How Often Should You Have Your Deck Inspected

Decks have a lifespan so it is important to consider deck inspection services on a regular basis. In fact, it is advised to have an annual inspection or safety check for any deck over 10 years old.



According to the National American Deck and Railing Association, over 40 million decks in the United States are over 20 years old. This is because they were built before the code requirements were even put into place.



As a result, many decks were not built tough enough to last that long. In fact, many residents got hurt due to deck-related incidents, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.




Deck Safety


There are many things to check when you are concerned about the safety of your deck. Such would include the following factors that may affect the overall safety.


  • Corroded or missing fasteners or screws
  • Excessive wobbling
  • Missing flashing and weak railings
  • Split or decaying wood
  • Weak joints



You may check for wood decay by exposing the post where it goes into the ground. There should be a problem when you are able to push a screwdriver into the wood.



If you need professional deck inspection services, it is essential that you contact a deck building professional. It is his/her obligation to ensure that the ledger is properly secured, and if the footings are huge and tough enough to support the structure.




Deck Inspection Cost


There are various costs when it comes to deck inspection services, which depending on the location of your structure and how detailed the inspection will be. Thus, it can range from $25 to $199, from a 30-minute review to an hour of inspection. The details of the inspection will include structural checkup, general safety check, and common building code violations.



The knowledge of the current building code and the deck-building expertise and experience are among the deck inspection services you are going to pay. This will ensure that your deck will not collapse due to natural causes. On top of it all, a written inspection report must be furnished to you so that you are updated of the current condition of your deck.



Overall, you are not obliged to get professional deck inspection services to do repairs right away. In fact, the written report can be supported so that you can get a second opinion or compare repair quotes. So you can hire your own contractor to do the job or you can do it yourself if you think that you can do better.




When to Hire a Professional?


If your deck has aged and shows signs of wear, including wobbly stairs, separating planks, or softwood, then that is more than enough proof that your deck has become structurally unstable.


Unless you are a professional deck repair specialist, it is best to hire a licensed deck building professional to do deck inspection services. He or she will be able to identify problems, including improper construction, rot, or sinking foundation with exact details.


If you want to target your efforts and avoid wasting money on a particular deck repair or remodeling project, then you should hire a professional right away.




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