Reuben's Home Inspection Blog

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Coon Rapids Deck Collapse - Why It Happened

 

If you watched the news this weekend, you probably heard about the deck collapse that happened in Coon Rapids on Friday.  On WCCO news, they even had an expert speculate that the deck collapsed because it wasn't properly secured to the house.  When I hear news stories about a deck collapses, they usually say they'll come back to the story once they learn what the problem was, but they never do...

so I decided to inspect this Coon Rapids deck myself.  Here's what I found:

Epic Fail

Coon Rapids Deck Collapse 1


According to WCCO, there were only five people on this deck when it collapsed.  The problem wasn't that the deck was improperly attached to the house - this deck was completely missing a post.

I marked up two photos to show exactly what went wrong.  Click on the photos to get a large version.

Coon Rapids Deck Collapse Ledgerboard

Coon Rapids Deck Collapse Explanation

As you can see, one corner of the deck wasn't help up by anything.  The floor joist that was closest to house is what was actually holding up that entire corner of the deck.  It's a wonder this deck even supported it's own weight.

While most advice about deck safety deals with proper bolts, nails, brackets, etc, it's just as important to take a step back and look at the big picture.  Proper nails and bolts aren't a substitute for a proper load path back to the ground.

 

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections

        

Comment balloon 15 commentsReuben Saltzman • July 13 2010 06:12AM

Comments

Oh that is something I dont look for everyday. I will now. Thanks for posting

Posted by Ellen Dittman, #1 Stop for NE FLA-JAX/OP 904.535.1199 (TEXT OK) r (Watson Realty Corp.) about 8 years ago

Thanks for reading, Ellen.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

I spend a lot of time hanging out in CR as my youngest daughter is Miss Coon Rapids 2010. Glad we were not on this deck!

Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) about 8 years ago

Reuben- wow nice graphics/pics, how did you do that?

 

Posted by Steve Baklaich, Treating Buyers & Sellers to Full Service Always. (RE/MAX Results St Cloud Mn real estate) about 8 years ago

Kathleen - me too.

Steve - I posted the same photos online at a different web site, and I made the photos in this blog link to the same photos at the other location.  Check out the site you get sent to when you click on photo, you'll see what I mean.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

Reuben, was the deck attached to the home by any means on that side? Wow, that is pretty amazing, from what I can tell in the image it appears that they had a ledgerboard on the side still attached and just attached the other side to the exterior siding, not a smart idea. Good info!

Posted by Randy King (Prokore Inspections) about 8 years ago

Randy - the one joist that the beam was attached to was nailed to the siding.  That's it, that's all.  Wow, huh?

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

Wow! That is what I thought looking at the siding but man...I have to say how stupid. Ironic thing is I just saw a house last week with nearly the exact same structural setup.

Posted by Randy King (Prokore Inspections) about 8 years ago

Now you can show them exactly what will happen.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

Hi Reuben, thanks for sharing the information.  The pictures were very helpful to understand the installation.

Posted by Dale Ganfield about 8 years ago

Thanks Dale.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

That deck is built and supported wrong in several ways. A very graphic example of why we inspectors focus a lot of attention on decks.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 8 years ago

"Proper nails and bolts aren't a substitute for a proper load path back to the ground."

That statement is a mouthful.  I have seen so many decks connected to the house with straps but no supporting beam. 

Makes me shiver. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 8 years ago

I, for one, am simply surprised that wall glue did not hold.  What were they thinking by putting so little?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

James - and the maintenance man told me it failed because they didn't bolt it to the house.  Wrong.

Lenn - as long as the deck was built the way it was designed, it shouldn't be a problem... but this deck certainly wasn't 'designed' this way.  Someone forgot a post when they built it.

Jay - I would have used at least six tubes of construction adhesive, and maybe even some duct tape just to be sure.

 

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

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