This is a problem that is all too common in the state of Georgia. Building codes for decks have tightened up quite a bit in the last 5-6 years. Decks that were built on new homes prior to the introduction of more rigid specs may be likely to have structural deficiencies that will cause them to be wobbly, unstable and unsafe. Unfortunately for home buyers the hard truth is that during the building boom prior to the housing market crash in 2007, decks were just something that the builder threw on toward the end of the build to close the house. They were built with the lowest grade of treated pine lumber and unfortunately the subcontractors were beat down in price so much that the quality of the construction truly suffered. Here are some common reasons for unstable decks and the best methods to repair them for long term durability.
It all starts with the deck footings and support posts. I have seen many builder decks without in-grade concrete footings, just a post sitting on a movable concrete block that sat on the ground. FJC Remodeling in Cumming has repaired many decks that sunk because the posts were just stuck in the ground without any concrete footing at all or concrete poured around a post. A proper concrete footing is poured minimum 8” thick and then the support post is placed on top of it and anchored to the concrete with a galvanized steel base that the post sits on.
Another very common issue for older decks is how they are fastened to the house. I have seen many decks attached right on top of the siding with no metal flashing. The siding should be cut so metal L-flashing can be installed on top of joists and up under siding. This prevents water from entering behind where deck meets house. The deck should be fastened with ½’’ galvanized steel bolts a minimum of every 32’’. Many older decks fell because they were attached to the framing of the house with nails that either rusted or pulled out from the weight that was on the deck.
Deck stairs and landings will often wobble for the same reasons mentioned above. They can usually be remedied with some extra footings, posts and diagonal braces. Diagonal bracing can also be added to the main body of deck to prevent movement when walked on.
If your deck is wobbly and shaky please don’t have that big barbeque until you have a professional inspect and repair it. Give us a call if you need a pro ! 404-643-1406
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I will address other deck issues in an upcoming article!!