I was inspecting a nice looking home in Shoreview last week and all was ok, well almost all.
When doing a home inspection we inspect both the interior and exterior of the home looking for anything that may not meet certain health or safety standards. On this home all went well until we got to the deck. It wasn’t in immediate danger of collapse but the buyers had two small children, and having raised children myself it would be normal for a parent to let them out on a nice day to play on the deck
When doing a deck inspection we check footings, framing, the deck boards and steps and railings. Railings are required to resist the force of 250 lbs, the weight of a good size adult. Decks are also required to have spacing between balusters that allow no more than a 4″ ball to pass through, why? Larger than 4″ spacing and a child’s head can get stuck in between the balusters. This deck had 5″ spacing between the balusters and the railings moved a few inches using just the pushing force from one hand. Two adults leaning on this railing had a good chance of falling from the deck to the ground.
Nothing to panic about, but for home buyers with children make sure any decks on the homes your looking at are sturdy and safe. Correct baluster spacing can prevent a child from being hurt and railings are there to prevent falls.