Exterior Elevated Elements

What to Do if Your Deck is Found to Be Unsafe: Failed Deck Inspection

A deck at home offers numerous benefits to your property. It serves as an outdoor extension where you can relax, entertain, dine, or enjoy the outdoors. Having a deck at home is a perfect spot for family to bond and enhance your living experience while at the same time improving the overall value of your property. However, house decks need inspections to make sure they are durable and safe. Failure to address safety issues like deck failure can result in various safety hazards. But what are the specific requirements to pass a deck inspection?

Failed Deck Inspection

Making sure that your deck is strong and durable is of critical importance. And if you are the homeowner, it can be difficult to know if your deck is still in top condition. Other than the obvious signs like rotting wood or unstable railings, some problems are only detectable by a professional.

Inspecting your deck is more than just checking the obvious. Deck inspection is thorough to identify potential hazards that could compromise the deck’s structural durability that could harm the people using it. The deck’s components and elements receive careful inspection like the foundation and footings, deck framing, railings, steps, fasteners, and connectors.

There are several reasons why homeowners fail deck inspection.  Below are some of the grounds where you might fail an inspection.

Footings and Columns

Concrete footings are not installed below the frost line. As for wood columns, these are breaking, rotting, or have water damage.


The soil underneath does not receive regular treatment for pest control.

Deck Inspection: Structural Support

The deck has poor structural support underneath, with breakage, or with insect infestations.


You will fail inspection if professionals see water damaged or rotten faster.

Deck Attachments

Deck attachments are warped, bent, or damaged.

Framing Brackets

Joint hangers and brackets must meet the standards set by the code and the right nail size for every hole. Also, weak, rotten, or rusty brackets contribute to failed deck inspection.


Nails popping out, sagging boards, weak, rotten, or pieces of wood with breakage are also reasons for a failed inspection.


Stairs not installed properly and signs of rust, breakage, or rot to any part of the material of the stairs will also lead to a failed inspection.

Deck Inspection: Barriers

A deck should have railings to protect people from falling. The railing’s height must meet the code to pass inspection.

How to Pass a Deck Inspection

Other than hiring a professional, it is important to know if your deck needs repair or replacement. Know the checklist to ensure your deck is safe.

  • Base support should be installed below the frost line. You may also check your local code requirements.
  • Wood must not be in direct contact with concrete to avoid rotting.
  • Water drainage must be away from the footings to avoid erosion.
  • The soil under the deck must be free of plants and weeds and must not be in contact with wood.
  • Structural support must be free from termites and other insects that can cause damage.
  • Fasteners must be rust and rot-free.
  • Nails, screws, and bolts must be properly installed and hangers properly fastened.
  • For framing brackets, proper nail size must be used for every hole of the bracket.
  • Brackets must be cut from their original manufacturer’s state.
  • Decking must be securely fastened with lifting, rotting, splitting, and no nails popping up that can injure people.
  • Deck material like wood must be properly sealed to prevent water from sipping in.
  • Framings, railings, support, and stairs must not have signs of warping, splitting, or rotting. For stairs, check for cracked or loose treads. Check for rot and breakage on stingers.
  • Fasteners and brackets on stairs must be free from rust or deterioration.
  • Railings must be metal or wood only with standard circular dimensions of 1-1/4 and 2”. Railings must also be secure and reliable enough to carry 200 lbs. or load or pressure.

So, are you looking for a professional deck inspection in Southern California? Click here to learn more about 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