View Full Version : Balcony

Jeff Eastman
05-08-2007, 04:56 PM

Eric Barker
05-08-2007, 06:02 PM

First, it's technically a deck since it has support from the ground.
The joists against the brick are not supportive, no lagging needed.
Support column lacking - poor fastening to deck, questionable use of a footing.

Rick Hurst
05-08-2007, 06:58 PM
The wooden post you see on the end is not the actual support I'd bet. The wood on that post is for decorative purposes only.

If you ripped off that wooden trim, you'd probably find a metal post which is pinned to the concrete or possibly embedded in the concrete. That is why you see no anchors on the outside edge of the column.

I've helped build numerous decks in the past, and that is how we always finished them out.

The openings on the railings is definitely a problem.


Eric Barker
05-08-2007, 07:04 PM

The outside corner support column - looks like the deck is resting on top of the column. I can't tell for sure from the pictures but it seems as though there is no true securement between the column and deck. In the attached, one pic shows where there's the possibility of the beam/column rotating out of position. The other pic shows how the framing is bolted together - not much chance of anything moving.

I attached a pic from a crawl space that has a rotation problem.

Eric Barker
05-08-2007, 07:13 PM
Rick: You COULD be right. On the other hand...........
I personally would not make such comments to the client.
If it is in deed cantilevered I would say that the joists are widely
spaced, plus you have no idea how far they extend back into the floor.
Suppose the client gets the bright idea of removing that "decorative" post because of your comments only later to find it was structural. I wouldn't want to be on the receiving of the phone call sure to follow.

Just a thought.

Rick Hurst
05-08-2007, 08:24 PM

I'm not saying the post is "decorative", just the wooden boxed in trim around the post.

The metal or could be wooden post within that boxed in trim is the actual structural support.

I've removed such wooden trim around posts as in Jeff's picture a number of times to treat termites or carpenter ants. Most have been opened to find a metal post.

Thom Walker
05-08-2007, 09:48 PM
I suspect Rick is right re the decorative column concealing the post. In which case I would state in the report whether I could or could not observe securing method at the slab or bracing at the deck. If it is decorative, a gap should have been left between the trim and bottoms of the decorative column and the concrete to allow water to drain and dissipate from beneath. As always, do not confuse decorative with cosmetic.

That ledger on the side wall may well be lagged and the second 2x nailed to it and attached to the front rim joist via joist hangar. But you can't know for sure with just a visual inspection at this completed structure.

Likewise, unless you can see through brick you can't state with certainty that the joists are cantilevered. What you can tell is if the joist spans are correct and if they are spaced properly. And you can tell if the deck is flashed properly at the wall where the joists penetrate the envelope. Each one of those points is a potential leak.

You can also address the installation of the door and threshold at the deck to assure that it isn't creating leak points between the walls (as well as meeting egress requirements at decks.)

As stated, the spacings of the balusters and bottom rail are too great.

Badair is one of the better deck and balcony guys I've seen. I seem to remember some illustrations he posted or sent, but I can't find them now. I'll look more tomorrow night.

05-09-2007, 02:10 AM
Is this what you are referring to?


Others have raised the obvious questions of what can be seen in the photos.

I'd also want to see the plans for the slab pier location design, if this is not cantilevered, which is very questionable?

And could you see the top surface of the joists? Were they also weather sealed, stained or painted. These areas at the deck board fasteners seem to be the first to go from trapped moisture.

Eric Barker
05-09-2007, 06:35 AM
Rick, NOW I see what you were saying.

I don't see a spacing problem with the railing, though I wonder about the height.
Also, the ledger. Not sure I'd call it as such - it's not load bearing - so why bolt it to the brick?

Thom Walker
05-09-2007, 07:06 AM
[quote=Thom Walker;4977]

That ledger on the side wall may well be lagged and the second 2x nailed to it and attached to the front rim joist via joist hangar. But you can't know for sure with just a visual inspection at this completed structure.

I should have said, "If it's a ledger..........." The joist hangar leads us to believe that the end of the rim joist is properly supported on the framing behind the brick, but I don't know that because I can't see it. I just never feel comfortable stating absolutes about framing when I can't see it. :)

Harvey Hempelstern
05-09-2007, 08:25 PM
[quote=Thom Walker;4977]
I just never feel comfortable stating absolutes about framing when I can't see it. :)

It's serious business.

Posted on Mon, May. 07, 2007

Deck collapse kills 1 at house party


The Wichita Eagle

A housewarming party turned into a deadly disaster when a balcony deck collapsed Saturday night in Elk County.

One man died and numerous others were injured when the deck at the newly constructed house of Brian and Donna Schreck collapsed, falling on the guests below and killing an Andale man, the Elk County Sheriff's Department said. The Schrecks are from Wichita.

Gerard K. "Bud" Seiler, 46, died, and there were numerous injuries, several serious, the department said. Further details weren't available Sunday.

About 85 to 100 guests were attending the party at the home located at 1765 Road 25, about five miles south of Fall River.

"The cause of the collapse has not been officially determined at this time," the Elk County sheriff said. "However, it is quite likely that the balcony was overloaded for the type of construction."

The accident happened around 5 p.m. Saturday.

More than a dozen area rescue teams responded to the accident from nearby Greenwood County, Neosho County, Neodesha, Independence and Emporia, as well as state agencies.

© 2007 Wichita Eagle and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. Kansas.com | Kansas news, sports, jobs, cars (http://www.kansas.com)

Tim Moreira
05-09-2007, 08:48 PM
That brings up a good point of overloading decks.

Do any of yous guys/gals have/use a boilerplate in your re_port about overloading a raised desk?

Never gave this much thought, but, I could see you getting dragged into a law suit if injuries or deaths occurred and you *didn't* warn the new homeowner not to throw a party and have 500 smokers out on the desk all at the same time.:cool:

Rick Hurst
05-09-2007, 09:06 PM
This balcony thing has my interest personally now.

My neighbors across the street just had a balcony / patio cover installed in the last few days by some off-duty firefighters in the biz. Now you would think they'd be the first to know safety issues.

They built balcony / patio cover in (1) day. The balcony floor is constructed of the new aluminum material that is tongue and groove.

I came home today only to see half a dozen young people standing on the balcony. There is no access door from the house to the balcony as of yet.

They are crawling out the game room window to the thing. How the city or the HOA approved this thing I don't know. There is a handrail in the near future for it, they claim.

I'm tempted to call the city inspector and send him a digital picture of these young folks on the so-called balcony and see if he thinks its safe.

When I asked them why they didn't do the door entrance first, it was too expensive right now they claim.

I told them to wait to see what the lawsuit is going to cost.

Rick Hurst
05-10-2007, 09:52 AM
Here's a picture I took today to show this balcony. They must have installed the railings this morning already. Couple hours job I assume.

As you can see, there is no door to the balcony. These folks are crawling out the window for access.

Notice the chairs and plants already out there on the balcony.

I'm just waiting to see them heaving the outdoor grille up and over the railing.

Richard Rushing
05-10-2007, 12:04 PM
Damn-it Rick!! That's only the first part. The next stage is to build a staircase to the roof so ole Jim-Bob and company can party on the roof. Ain't nuttin like a bunch of kool-aid drinkers jumpin off the roof.:eek:

Ut-Oh... then they will have to build a holding feature into the roof for the styrofoam cooler. :D


Frank Kunselman
05-11-2007, 09:44 AM

There would be a few issues with this deck from a bldg inspectors view. The deck appears to have a joist span of about 9 ft and a header span of about 11 ft. The 2x8 joist span would be ok and the dbl 2x12 header is sufficient if the lumber is #2 SYP. The attachment to the house would also be adequate if the joists penetrate the wall framing and are securely attached to the floor framing of the house.

A couple of issues are with 1) the 2x8 joist attachment to the header, which would require either metal hangers or a ledger to provide min 1 1/2" end bearing support and 2) the balluster spacing on the side guardrail exceeds 4". Don't know why the front would be right and the side wrong.

The dbl 2x6 joist is ok bolted...if the pair are bolted thru to the framing behind the brick...otherwise end support necessary. Joist spacing appears to be 24" oc and 16" oc to the dbl 2x6.

Martin lehman
05-18-2007, 11:53 AM
Rick, I belive that attaching a deck to a home with a brick veneer is a big no-no. The deck must be free standing!!!

Eric Barker
05-18-2007, 12:42 PM
The idea of the ledger on brick veneer is that if you properly secured the ledger to the house framing you'll likely also pull in the brick as you snug the ledger up. I haven't yet seen this happen.

Jerry Peck
05-18-2007, 05:54 PM
With brick veneer, the ledger should be installed to the structural wall, with the brick veneer stopping below it and starting again above it (on shelf angles). With through wall flashings wherever required (such as under the ledger and out over the brick veneer, and, under the shelf angles and out over the ledger/deck.

To attach a ledger to a brick veneer wall after the fact would be (at least in my opinion) 'not good'. Which gets back to a free standing deck in a case like that.

Michael Greenwalt
07-27-2007, 10:16 AM
ok, now I am seeing a different picture set than before,

Rick Hurst
07-27-2007, 10:26 AM
Caught this view on a driveby this morning to my first of 30 inspections today. ;) Seems like its been that way every day this week handling everyone's issues.

Bet the view from the roof is unbelievable of the lake. Dinner at the small table is probably really nice if the fireplace is not burning or the wind is blowing the to the east.

wayne soper
07-27-2007, 01:24 PM
there is a bbq cut into the side you can't see rick

Rick Hurst
07-27-2007, 06:59 PM
Makes sense now. Thanks Wayne.