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Old 06-02-2012, 12:41 PM   #1
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deck posts leaning in different directions


Dear experts, I have just put my house in the market and an inspector reported that 4x4 support posts were leaning in different directions. A friend of mine said that it is probably how it was installed, not directly related to deterioration. How unsafe could such a thing be? It is a second level 10x10 deck. the house is on a slight slope. I was not noticeable to me at all. The buyer now wants a break in the asking price.. thanks

Deck was built w/ house in MA in 1993. assume it had permit+ passed inspection then. My deceased husband had the house built. In your opinion, what would be the estimated cost to 'fix' leaning posts? If not plumb, not safe? If have to build a new one, how much do u think it would be.

The inspector also said that lag bolts where missing. I heard that decks like mine can be built without them to prevent water from going into the house side. Is that true?


Buyer's inspector, yes. Asking for 1500 break in asking price. inspector did not say anything about safety or plum in report. attaching report comments.
Thx

Thank you to all of you. I wish I had run into this forum before. I now feel informed enough to decide the next step. I am in the north shore, and this was just one of 3 items the buyer listed in the price reduction request. Just to answer the question, the deck is not pulling away of the house at all. it feel steady when u are on it. I don't feel it is unsafe. Dont have a level and dont want to purchase material at this point. will let buyer take care of it as they want. Cheers, you are all awesome!
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deck posts leaning in different directions-deck2.jpg   deck posts leaning in different directions-deck3.jpg   deck posts leaning in different directions-deckinspectors.jpg  


Last edited by chubbykitty; 06-03-2012 at 07:25 PM. Reason: adding info & pictures
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:05 PM   #2
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deck posts leaning in different directions


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Originally Posted by chubbykitty View Post
Dear experts, I have just put my house in the market and an inspector reported that 4x4 support posts were leaning in different directions. A friend of mine said that it is probably how it was installed, not directly related to deterioration. How unsafe could such a thing be? It is a second level 10x10 deck. the house is on a slight slope. I was not noticeable to me at all. The buyer now wants a break in the asking price.. thanks

Put a 6' level on it and check to see how much out of plumb it really is.

Report back and we will answer your question.

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Old 06-02-2012, 02:08 PM   #3
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deck posts leaning in different directions


4x4 is a little undersized for a deck that size, and up in the air like that. I would definitely check it out with a level, along with posting pictures on here. Were there permits pulled when originally built?
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:34 PM   #4
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deck posts leaning in different directions


I am assuming that the inspector who reported the out of plumb condition was the inspector representing the potential buyer. Regardless of whether in fact the posts are out of plumb, the potential buyer can offer whatever they want for the house. If it were me, I would simply tell them that the house is offered as is, let them make an offer, if it is unacceptable simply decline it. If they buy the house, they can repair it, leave it as is, or tear down the deck if they don't like it.
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:11 PM   #5
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deck posts leaning in different directions


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Originally Posted by chubbykitty View Post
Dear experts, I have just put my house in the market and an inspector reported that 4x4 support posts were leaning in different directions. A friend of mine said that it is probably how it was installed, not directly related to deterioration. How unsafe could such a thing be? It is a second level 10x10 deck. the house is on a slight slope. I was not noticeable to me at all. The buyer now wants a break in the asking price.. thanks
Ayuh,... As Danial explains,.. it's merely a barginin' chip...

Quite simply, Don't buy the chip,... as is, where is, take it or leave it...
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:21 PM   #6
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deck posts leaning in different directions


you can use an 8' 2x4 and set it against the posts with a 2 or 4' level. this will show how out of plumb the posts are. maybe they need some bracing added to them.
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:51 AM   #7
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deck posts leaning in different directions


How many other allowances is the buyer asking for? If it is just about conceding $1500 for the deck and a few other things and the rest of the offer is liveable? I would not fuss about it. Take the offer.

The deck posts look out of plumb to me and are undersized. It is going to cost more than $1500 to fix it all.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:05 AM   #8
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deck posts leaning in different directions


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you can use an 8' 2x4 and set it against the posts with a 2 or 4' level. this will show how out of plumb the posts are. maybe they need some bracing added to them.
Make sure it is straight. I use a 8' stip of 3/4 ply ripped to 4" wide
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:02 PM   #9
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deck posts leaning in different directions


Quote:
Originally Posted by chubbykitty View Post
Dear experts, I have just put my house in the market and an inspector reported that 4x4 support posts were leaning in different directions. A friend of mine said that it is probably how it was installed, not directly related to deterioration. How unsafe could such a thing be? It is a second level 10x10 deck. the house is on a slight slope. I was not noticeable to me at all. The buyer now wants a break in the asking price.. thanks

Deck was built w/ house in MA in 1993. assume it had permit+ passed inspection then. My deceased husband had the house built. In your opinion, what would be the estimated cost to 'fix' leaning posts? If not plumb, not safe? If have to build a new one, how much do u think it would be.

The inspector also said that lag bolts where missing. I heard that decks like mine can be built without them to prevent water from going into the house side. Is that true?


Buyer's inspector, yes. Asking for 1500 break in asking price. inspector did not say anything about safety or plum in report. attaching report comments.
Thx

I think with the leaning term used in the inspection report he is referring to possible footing failure causing the post to follow the sinking/turning footing. the only other way the post could possibly lean is if they were installed in a leaning fashion or if the deck were somehow pulling away from the house and the posts stay planted into the footing while the top follows the deck that is pulling away. this obviously is not happening so the footing may be settling. another thing, the post at the footing may not be attached to the footing and the bottoms of the post could have been bumped and caused them to move around some on top of the footing.

edit, just looked again at photos and I think what is happening is the stairs are causing the whole deck to lean from the pressure placed upon the deck from the stairs leaning against it and the posts having no knee/y bracing to help counter-oppose the above stated pressure. I'm not sure what action you want to take but there are possible remedies to the problem...

Last edited by hand drive; 06-03-2012 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 06-03-2012, 02:45 PM   #10
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deck posts leaning in different directions


chubbykitting,

your home and deck were built under the 5th edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code, and unfortunately I do not have a copy of that. Check with the building department, they should have a copy on file. You may even be able to get the building inspector to take a lot at the deck and give you his opinion on the safety of the deck.

If you don't mind my asking, which town in Mass?

this link will provide you information on how decks are to do constructed today under the 8th edition of the Mass Code. http://www.awc.org/publications/DCA/DCA6/DCA6-09.pdf

Page 12 provides information on lags to secure the ledger board to the house. If the ledger was only nailed (which was customary back then) it may be pulling out from the house, this could cause the posts to lean some, but I would expect all posts to lean in the same direction. It could be that was how the deck was built originally (I've seen worse).

With that being said I agree it is something that can used by the buyer to attempt to get a lower price. If you do not want to be bothered by making any repairs decide if their lower offer is something you can live with and move on. If not, stick to your guns.

Good luck with your sale!
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:41 PM   #11
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deck posts leaning in different directions


Fact is,
the deck is almost 20 years old. The post could have warped since they were installed. It hasn't fallen off the house. If they don't like it, let them tear if off once they buy the house. I get tired of hearing stories of people hiring inspectors to find things wrong with a USED house, then wanting the price dropped more than what's reasonable to solve the non-existant problem. I would tell them if they want a new house, go buy a new house.
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:45 PM   #12
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deck posts leaning in different directions


4 x 4's are NOT undersized in this situation. Here is a good read written by an inspector and one of the industries leading voices of deck codes http://www.deckmagazine.com/article/413.html.

Personally I don't see much issue with the lean of the posts, there is a certain amount of allowable "out of plumbness" in building (I don't know all of them off the top of my head). if it's a real issue just pop the top or bottom attachment (recommend top) loose and plumb the posts.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:17 PM   #13
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deck posts leaning in different directions


Unless it is the camera angle the top of the posts look like they are at the same angle as the bottom, indicating they were installed that way. A small level would be enough to check the top. I go with Daniel & Bondo

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