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  1. #1
    Eric Smith's Avatar
    Eric Smith Guest

    Default Deck or Landing Pad

    Hello All,

    During an inspection over the weekend I happened upon a deck that was unique from any I had ever seen. I just thought that I would share. As you will see in the photos the deck is covered in ceramic type tiles. Pretty heavy flooring for a deck, but not to worry. The deck is supported in the center by a concrete post that supports 6 I-beams. The 6 steel I-beams radiate outward from the center post and rest on concrete posts around the perimeter of the deck. The I-beams are incased in concrete and covered by a sheet of plywood (I guess for aesthetics). Atop the I-beams is plywood decking. The seller was extremely proud of his "deck", he said that he had a friend that could build anything and that this deck was permitted by the municipality.

    FYI, in my report I instructed my client to obtain a copy of all permits associated with the building of the deck and I disclaimed/excluded the deck from inspection because the inspector is not familiar with, nor has he ever seen a deck constructed in such a fashion using these materials and is not qualified to evaluate the soundness of the deck structure. I also recommended further evaluation.

    Off of the records though, this deck could hold up the entire house, plus some.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Smith View Post
    The deck is supported in the center by a concrete post that supports 6 I-beams.
    Eric,

    Hope you don't mind me using the quote for this response.

    My concern, though, would be that the center post is much more heavily loaded than the perimeter posts/supports and, if the center footing is not sufficiently larger to account for this increased loading, that the center support, and thus the center of the deck, could settle un-equally with (settle more than) the perimeter, leading to cracked and / popping tiles as the flat deck surface become no longer 'flat'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Eric Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    In addition to that Jerry, because of all of the wood covering the beams under the deck I cant see how the beams are connected to the posts to ensure that there is an adequate positive connection. Just another reason why I disclaimed it.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    I hate to be the one to say it, but this is a train reck waiting to happen.

    I can see water seeping under the tile via the wood columns, cracks, etc. Then the wood supports will rot and the rest is history. Now this is not that big of an issue if a membrane was put down over the wood decking and everything was flashed and sealed before the tiles were placed.

    Then for icing on the cake, I'm betting that those are not exterior floor tiles and they will be as slippery as snail snot when they get damp.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
    Lee Nettnin Guest

    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    Eric,
    I don't see any joist hangers. I am also wondering what is going to stop rot from occurring on the dimensional lumber and the osb sheathing. The grout joints on the tile floor will allow water to penetrate. The I-Beam will also be allowed to rust.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    Scott,

    Come on now ... just because there 'already is' some grout missing ... don't condemn it for something like that.

    I saw the grout missing and the first thing I thought of was ... movement.

    But, yeah, that will be an ice skating rink when it gets wet - just no "ice" - just "skating".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Eric Smith's Avatar
    Eric Smith Guest

    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    Lee,

    There were no joist hangers, just the trusty old toe-nail. The i-beams were already starting to rust. When no one was looking I cheated and partially pulled down some of the plywood just to satisfy my curiosity and the beams were orange and flaky.

    I never thought of the slip factor (skating rink), but thats a really good point.

    This Harry Homeowner also added a plywood covering over every inch of his garage interior drywall. The walls, the ceiling, every inch of surface except for the floor was covered in plywood, which was placed over top of the drywall. And yes, there was living space partially above and adjacent to the garage. He had no good reason why he did it, just that he thought it looked better, I told my client that the garage was now an oven. I am not sure how this affects the fire rating of the drywall underneath, but I am pretty sure its not good. I wrote it up in my report just as I saw it and recommended that the fire rating of the space be evaluated to ensure it is still in proper working order. Does anyone know if this is allowed? Picture attached.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    The steel I-Beams would be the least of my concerns, it would take 20-30 years longer than the structure will last for them to rust and fail!

    The ply-wood is a No No if it does not have 1/2"drywall on the walls and 5/8 on the ceiling behind it. I don't know of any reason that you could not have it if the drywall is OK, but to be safe you might want to call the local fire inspector/dept. to get their take on it.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 01-07-2008 at 12:33 PM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Smith View Post
    This Harry Homeowner also added a plywood covering over every inch of his garage interior drywall. The walls, the ceiling, every inch of surface except for the floor was covered in plywood, which was placed over top of the drywall.

    Does anyone know if this is allowed?
    Eric,

    That shouldn't be any different than installing paneling over drywall, which is not a problem.

    The main thing is that there is gypsum board there, however ... you do not know what type is on the ceiling - 5/8" Type X? Just do not know unless you can see it from up in the attic (at least he has a pull down stair for you to check it out) - of course, though, depending on the arrangement of the ceiling / floor joists for the living space above, that stair might now need to be covered with 5/8" Type X drywall, or, they could install 1/2" drywall on the attic side of the living space wall up in that attic.

    The main thing is to get the separation between the garage and the attic right, and there are a couple of ways to do that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Cool Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    FWIW - Exterior tile decks have a poor record for survival unless the moisture barrier below them is a first class job. I also agree about the "slip factor."

    JP: you can quote amything I say as long as you agree with it!

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  11. #11
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
    Joseph P. Hagarty Guest

    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    The porch does not appear to have any pitch / slope which would be necessary due to the new surface. Add Ice and Snow Load and you have a recipe for disaster.

    Experienced a similar construction scenario earlier in the year.

    Demo & Replace.


  12. #12
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    Photos referencing the Monolithic Deck surface from the post above...

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    Joe,

    Is that your house? Hope not.

    Looks to me like they are just nailing 'new wood' to 'rotted wood'. Cannot imagine that will last a long time. And does not look like the 'new wood' is pressure treated either (the original stuff looks like it may have been pressure treated).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
    Joseph P. Hagarty Guest

    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    Nope, Not my home.

    Deck was originally PTL. Renovation was to install a Gel-Coated Fiberglass surface to the Porch. The Contractor installed the surface without pitch / slope causing water and ice / snow to accumulate.

    The Deck surface is a specialty Resin / Fiberglass product manufactured by a company in New Jersey. Interplastic Corporation

    The Photos were taken during part of the Demo and Replacement of the 1st installation of the Fiberglass porch surface.

    The completed installation provides the same deck surface as a Fiberglass Boat.

    Pretty Cool and somewhat Expensive.

    Last edited by Joseph P. Hagarty; 01-07-2008 at 09:26 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph P. Hagarty View Post
    Renovation was to install a Gel-Coated Fiberglass surface to the Porch.

    The completed installation provides the same deck surface as a Fiberglass Boat.
    Sounds like the same type of roof they installed on the Broward County Convention Center - it is resin/fiberglass and is like walking on a fiberglass boat.

    Pretty Cool and somewhat Expensive.
    Yeah, no doubt about that ... think about something like that on a large convention center. Mucho denaro. (But it will be there a very long, long, long time.)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Deck or Landing Pad

    Yumm,

    Scrape wood to draw the termites.

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