A portion of your home inspection includes the deck/balcony. The back deck on a home provides comfort and leisure in the outdoors in which many home owners seek when looking for a place to call home. Most decks are made from wood. The inspector will check the support structure including the posts and joists as well as the railing and decking.
The posts should be set on a concrete pillar not in contact with the soil. The soil holds moisture, so when the posts are set in the soil, it can speed up the deterioration process of the wood causing the deck to be short lived. The joists should be set on the posts and properly attached to the home with proper bolts when necessary.
The decking should solid without any nails sticking up that could cause safety and trip hazards. There should be a small gap in the deck boards allowing water to pass through and not sit on top of the deck. The deck boards should be laid perpendicular to the joists below.
If the deck is more than 32” from the ground, there should be railing attached to the deck. The railing on a deck should be around 36” high with no more than 4” in between each spindle to make sure small children will not be able to fall through.
Patios are typically made from concrete. When inspecting the patio, it should be free of any upheaving cracks and pitched away from the home. Upheaving and settling cracks pose as potential trip hazards. It is important that the inspector determines that the patio is not pitched towards the home. A patio that is pitched towards the home can send water rushing up against the foundation which can potentially do damage to the foundation; causing it to settle and move.