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  1. #1
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    Default How is this deck ledger attached?

    I think that this deck is attached with joist hangers that are burried behind some blocking between joists. The hangers are just visible. It's possible that the ledger is bolted but I can't see because of the blocking. The deck is not free standing and was built in '93. I wonder what I should say in the report. Probably "The deck appears to be professionally built, because of blocking covering the attachment points it's not possible to tell if the deck is securely fastened using bolts to attach the deck to the house. " or I could just say nothing.





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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Never, never, never say that anything " ... appears to be professionally built ... "

    Note: there is no problem saying the opposite of the above, but there is no need or reason to say the above - saying that can only lead to 'things that are not good for you".

    You are putting yourself way out on a limb ... and begging someone to cut the limb off so you can take the fall.

    Simply describe what you can see ... then state what you would expect to see - but can't see because of ... (explain like you about the blocking.

    And stating what you "can" see does not include a ledger ... you just "think" that there is a ledger back there because that's what you expected to see.

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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Also, due to the blocking you have no idea if the hangers were attached correctly.

    With the solid floor I would guess that there is a roofer and wall structure above. If so, there would add the question of footers and load design.


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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    I just didnít say anything about it. I donít like that design at all. Just because itís hard to see fasteners. Just because I donít see whatís behind there doesnít mean I should speculate on if it is or isnít installed correctly. For example, I canít see behind a outlet cover plate but Iím not going to make a big deal out of it. That would just confuse the buyers if I listed stuff like that.


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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    I can't tell from the photo. Is it possible the joists are cantilever?


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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I can't tell from the photo. Is it possible the joists are cantilever?
    Jack,

    I thought of that, but then they would have used straps instead of hangers, wouldn't they?

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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crosseyes View Post
    I just didnít say anything about it. I donít like that design at all. Just because itís hard to see fasteners. Just because I donít see whatís behind there doesnít mean I should speculate on if it is or isnít installed correctly. For example, I canít see behind a outlet cover plate but Iím not going to make a big deal out of it. That would just confuse the buyers if I listed stuff like that.

    It may confuse the buyer but isn't that why you are there? You are there to find the good, bad and the ugly. Buyer confused, then they can ask a question. Buyer confused, maybe you report needed to be better worded. Ignoring/not including it in the report, is the wrong thing to do.

    You can see something that makes you concerned. You need to express your concerns in an understanable and concise manner.(sp corrected)

    Unlike outlet covers, in looking at the deck you expect to see specific items such as method of attachment. Stating what is being hidden by the blocking, attachment method, should be committed on if for no other reason than to protect you from liability.

    Last edited by Garry Sorrells; 12-19-2017 at 09:39 AM.

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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Gary is right, except that is the wrong way to spell 'manner'.

    The joists appear to be attached with joist hangers. Then blocking was installed, probably to support the edge of the deck. That is how you describe it, "appears to be", then if you're worried, call for a closer look.

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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Gary is right, except that is the wrong way to spell 'manner'.
    As you misspelled "Garry" ...

    (underlining is mine)
    The joists appear to be attached with joist hangers. Then blocking was installed, probably to support the edge of the deck. That is how you describe it, "appears to be", then if you're worried, call for a closer look.
    "probably"?

    "possibly" would be a better word.

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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Symantics come into play here.

    Saying "joist appear to be attached with joist hangers" may be incorrect. All we can see are a small edge of what appears to be a joist hangers. It may be a bad leap to introduce the word "attached".

    Saying that the: "Method of deck attachment is unknown due to the blocking. Evidence of joist hangers are present though their size and method of attachment is unknown. Deck attachment is critical and should be determined if it meets construction requirements.". May be a better statement.


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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I can't tell from the photo. Is it possible the joists are cantilever?
    Jack, by the looks of it the joists are in hangers. Too be cantilevered you would see a floor joist protruding the wall assembly. To achieve the cantilever you need an object and fulcrum point. 'the point on which a lever rests or is supported and on which it pivots.' I can not imagine interior floor suspended only attached to a deck rim-board to be used as a ledger. Not saying it can be done but why?

    Crosseyes, this type of observation falls under 'limitations.'
    Write up what you can about the raised deck. Conclude defects and cover you limitations.
    Just my thoughts.

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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Coming out of retirement for this one. It is the inspectorís job to report what is observed not speculate on anything unless you have some really good insurance. You report what you observe and what you would expect to see while defining the ramifications that may exist if the subject matter is not constructed or installed according to accepted safety standards. In this case I would recommend having some of the blocking removed to permit inspection of the ledger attachment and joist supports. It is then up to the client to follow through or not. You have done your job but you canít make the client do the right thing

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Glad to see you posting. Do not be a stranger just because you are retired.

    I concur. Report what you see.
    I do not concur with, referring any blocking being removed.
    It would be the same as referring drywall be removed due to incomplete hypothesis.

    The inspector should be able to identify, as well as define any defects in the deck assembly.
    Footing, columns, girders, bearing points, mechanical connections, spacing, notching, blocking.
    The only thing missing in the case is the ledger and connections.

    One should be able to surmise if collapse was immanent.

    The image below depicts a ledger board and band joist sandwiching the structural sheathing. Add blocking in-front of the ledger and tell me what you think.



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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Stuart is on the right track, one retired inspector to another, and both to a not-retired inspector ...

    Keep it simple, explain what you see, and explain what you would expect to see (if you can't see what you would expect to see, your client needs to know that).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Simply describe what you can see ... then state what you would expect to see - but can't see because of ... (explain like you about the blocking.

    And stating what you "can" see does not include a ledger ... you just "think" that there is a ledger back there because that's what you expected to see.
    Regarding having some of the blocking removed to see what is behind it, there is nothing wrong with that, but I'm not sure it is necessary if the report states what is visible and what should be visible, which indicates that something needs to be checked out further to find out 'how wrong it is, if it is wrong' ... it's all in the reports wording.

    I disagree with Robert, one can always find reasons NOT to do something, there are even associations dedicated to teaching that.


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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Looks like you are agreeing with both of us.
    'Regarding having some of the blocking removed to see what is behind it, there is nothing wrong with that, but I'm not sure it is necessary if the report states what is visible and what should be visible, which indicates that something needs to be checked out further to find out 'how wrong it is, if it is wrong' ... it's all in the reports wording.'

    Unfortunately there is not enough visual information to proceed further.

    As for associations and what they teach. It does not necessarily mean inspectors follow suite.
    SoP is Sop. But that is a minimum standard.


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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    Unfortunately there is not enough visual information to proceed further.
    Au contraire my good fellow ... what is "visible" is all that is needed to proceed further.

    If one cannot see what one should see, that is an indication that "something ain't right", and that, in and of itself, is reason to proceed further.

    If you see water leaking through a roof, isn't that an indication that "something ain't right" and needs to be looked at? What is "not seen" in that photo should set off some bells ... and whistles ... and the client should be urged to "have someone look further" into what is there ... OR "NOT there".

    No need for fancy-schmancy wording is required when "poke em in the eye" wording works to get their attention.

    Can an inspector "make" their client do anything? Of course not.

    However, can an inspector "make" their client realize that the client SHOULD do something? ABSOLUTELY!

    Alarmist? Not unless you think that advising someone not to jump off a cliff of unknown height is alarmist ... they should at least wait until they have determined how high that cliff is before jumping ... let the lemmings follow them ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOOs8MaR1YM

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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Au contraire my good fellow ... what is "visible" is all that is needed to proceed further.

    If one cannot see what one should see, that is an indication that "something ain't right", and that, in and of itself, is reason to proceed further.
    What ain't right? Can you indicate a local code where this is prohibited?
    I feel not enough has been revealed about the raised deck other than speculation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    If you see water leaking through a roof, isn't that an indication that "something ain't right" and needs to be looked at? What is "not seen" in that photo should set off some bells ... and whistles ... and the client should be urged to "have someone look further" into what is there ... OR "NOT there".
    a. Observing bulk water in an attic does not necessarily mean the roof was not installed as to the manufacturers recommendations. Likely deferred maintenance or even a venting issues.
    b. Of course corrective action should be referred by a qualified licensed roofing contractor.

    With what little information I have, noting what was offered, I am trying to identify any defects or deficiencies that would lead me to believe a review by a licensed contractor is required.
    In this case, exterior raised wood deck, the sealant appears to be functioning correctly. Doing it's job to expel moisture. Without sealant the paint would peel.

    As for the blocking at the suspect ledger. I use the term suspect because we can not obsessive the ledger board or physical connections and fasteners, no peeling paint near or around the blocks hangers or joists. From my vantage point, it looks dry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    No need for fancy-schmancy wording is required when "poke em in the eye" wording works to get their attention.

    Can an inspector "make" their client do anything? Of course not.

    However, can an inspector "make" their client realize that the client SHOULD do something? ABSOLUTELY!

    Alarmist? Not unless you think that advising someone not to jump off a cliff of unknown height is alarmist ... they should at least wait until they have determined how high that cliff is before jumping ... let the lemmings follow them ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOOs8MaR1YM
    I base my remarks upon the preponderance of evidence, to which we are lacking in this case.
    How the ledger is attached falls within limitations.
    A typical home inspection is not a technical exhaustive, unless contracted as such.

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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Can't get much from the image, but I believe I see hanger brackets. Most likely attached to the rim joist or ledger board and then covered up with siding as to make it look better.




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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Roy, issue revolves around what you can not see and how to report.
    You can see joist, bottom of hangers, blocking between moist and plywood. If the interior of the rim joist is also consealed, any statement regarding attachment of any thing would be pure speculation. Which is what needs to be reported. Suggesting that determining that all attachments are correct is all you can really offer.

    You can not say that the deck attachments are correct or incorrect. Not seeing the attachment does not make it wrong, only unknown. This particular cosmetic addition of blocking would not suggest an attempt to disguise a defect. Just that it complicates an inspection of the very important attachment method that should be determined.


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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    We are visual inspectors only. If you can't see it then you can't report it.
    Off the top of my head.....

    The deck appears to be a sound structure. However we were unable to view all components..ie..deck to all attachments...

    Then you can go on and describe what the proper deck to wall components are..
    That's it, then I would move on.

    Thanks
    Roy Lewis

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Roy, issue revolves around what you can not see and how to report.
    You can see joist, bottom of hangers, blocking between moist and plywood. If the interior of the rim joist is also consealed, any statement regarding attachment of any thing would be pure speculation. Which is what needs to be reported. Suggesting that determining that all attachments are correct is all you can really offer.

    You can not say that the deck attachments are correct or incorrect. Not seeing the attachment does not make it wrong, only unknown. This particular cosmetic addition of blocking would not suggest an attempt to disguise a defect. Just that it complicates an inspection of the very important attachment method that should be determined.
    - - - Updated - - -

    We are visual inspectors only. If you can't see it then you can't report it.
    Off the top of my head.....

    The deck appears to be a sound structure. However we were unable to view all components..ie..deck to all attachments...

    Then you can go on and describe what the proper deck to wall components are..
    That's it, then I would move on.

    Thanks
    Roy Lewis

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Roy, issue revolves around what you can not see and how to report.
    You can see joist, bottom of hangers, blocking between moist and plywood. If the interior of the rim joist is also consealed, any statement regarding attachment of any thing would be pure speculation. Which is what needs to be reported. Suggesting that determining that all attachments are correct is all you can really offer.

    You can not say that the deck attachments are correct or incorrect. Not seeing the attachment does not make it wrong, only unknown. This particular cosmetic addition of blocking would not suggest an attempt to disguise a defect. Just that it complicates an inspection of the very important attachment method that should be determined.



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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Lewis View Post
    We are visual inspectors only. If you can't see it then you can't report it.
    Okay, let's go with that.

    Off the top of my head.....

    [I]The deck appears to be a sound structure.
    How can you report that? You just said "If you can't see it then you can't report it.", and you can't see what you just said - you are guessing at that.

    Reporting that as, or implying that as, being "sound" puts you squarely in the bull's eye of anything that may not be "sound" about it.

    Do you know how the deck is attached by what you can see? Of course not - so say that ... but calling it "sound? No way ... and you said that yourself.

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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Trying to make yourself look good again Jerry?
    You don't need to. You are OK in my book.
    I gave a blanket narrative.
    And you can try to punch holes in it all you want.
    There is no way in hell anyone can past good judgement with the info at hand on that deck attachments.
    Not at all.. Try as you may it is nothing more than conjecture..Agree?
    From the info given I would not have reported it. Why? Because there is nothing to report.
    I never guess! I have been doing this for over 35 years..Yep! And have never guessed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Okay, let's go with that.



    How can you report that? You just said "If you can't see it then you can't report it.", and you can't see what you just said - you are guessing at that.

    Reporting that as, or implying that as, being "sound" puts you squarely in the bull's eye of anything that may not be "sound" about it.

    Do you know how the deck is attached by what you can see? Of course not - so say that ... but calling it "sound? No way ... and you said that yourself.



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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Lewis View Post
    Trying to make yourself look good again Jerry?
    No, Roy, just pointing out some inconsistencies is all ...

    There is no way in hell anyone can past good judgement with the info at hand on that deck attachments.
    Exactly my point.

    So how can one say that it is sound, appears sound, etc, when one admits that one cannot see what they should be seeing?

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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Evening Roy, et al.

    Roy I understand your point and agree.
    I would appreciate a code or clearance violation, if any exists, for joist blocking and ledgers boards. Not saying there is not but I can seem to find one.

    As well, I do not think Jerry is being disrespectful.
    Unfortunate certain subordinates, and their cohorts, leave one defensive away from home.

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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Okay, let's go with that.



    How can you report that? You just said "If you can't see it then you can't report it.", and you can't see what you just said - you are guessing at that.

    Reporting that as, or implying that as, being "sound" puts you squarely in the bull's eye of anything that may not be "sound" about it.

    Do you know how the deck is attached by what you can see? Of course not - so say that ... but calling it "sound? No way ... and you said that yourself.

    The use of "appears" qualifies intent. The intent is not to make a definitive statement of soundness. If the statement was "is sound" then I would agree the liability position would be enhanced greatly.

    In Roy's example he provided an example of a statement revolving around "visual" and limiting liability to what could be seen.

    You do not see any rot, water stains, insects last or present, damage, and so on. "It appears sound". Not a declaration that "it is sound". Even then I would suggest a qua!indication of what "sound" defines. Be It in the statement of a list of definitions within the report.

    It is extremely important that the words used convey exactly what is precisely intended.


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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    The use of "appears" qualifies intent.
    .
    .
    .
    It is extremely important that the words used convey exactly what is precisely intended.
    Exactly, and, as you so eloquently stated, the "intent" is to put the client at ease while thinking it will remove your liability ... but the "intent" is to say 'yeppers, she looks okay to me, don't need nuttin' else', and that "intent" is what puts the inspector on the hook.

    Now, if the inspector simply reported what they see .. and what they "see" is not what they expected ... then that is reported because that is "what they see". And it lets their client know that 'all that glitters may not be gold'.

    Kind of like saying 'yes, officer, I was speeding, but the reason I was speeding is ... ' and that "reason" does not matter - unless it is some type of emergency, in which case the nice officer may give you an escort to the hospital ... or deliver the baby right there if needed.

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    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    Looks good from my house...

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  28. #28

    Default Re: How is this deck ledger attached?

    This is an eye opening thread. Interest8to see the exchange amongst you guys. As a recent HI client, I was very happy with my inspector. He simply pointed out what he saw and suggested what should be done. My ledger board was only attached with nails.

    Last edited by David Crawford; 02-18-2018 at 07:44 PM.

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