Brisbane is well-known for its beautiful weather and Queensland homes for their outdoor living areas that you can use all year round. As a consequence, most of us have a pergola, deck, balcony or patio on our wish list’s when searching for our dream home. For this reason, we recommend you do some easy checks to ensure the integrity of these structures.
There are some warning signs to keep an eye out for with pergolas and decks. These are the obvious signs that the area may be in drastic need of repair or are a potential safety risk.
Start by looking for signs of wood decay or damage. Moisture causes wood to rot, and unrepaired wood rot can spread and jeopardise the structural integrity of a deck or pergola structure. Wood rot decay is most commonly found to the bottom of timber posts and along the top edge of rafters and floor joists.
Another prevalent cause of damage to pergola timbers are termites. Termites naturally feed by devouring timber and can cause substantial damage to a structure. Look out for signs of hard mud tunnels up and around timber posts, and where possible tap the timbers to look for hollow sounds. Hollow sounding timber is a sure sign of a termite feast. If you suspect termite damage, it is essential that a licensed building and pest inspector is engaged.
Poor drainage around a deck or pergola is another red flag. Water pooling or settling against timbers will not only contribute to wet rot decay and termite attraction but will affect the stability of the foundations. Some deck structures are supported on steel posts. Poor drainage will contribute to the premature deterioration of the steel post supports which may undermine the structure.
In some cases, you may not be able to visually inspect under the deck structure or around the base of the pergola supports. Trust your gut. If it moves in the wind or is unsteady when you push or shake it then it is not stable. Excessive movement could contribute to a structural failure that could pose a serious safety issue and could have substantial consequences. If you suspect instability to the structure, it is vital that a licensed building and pest inspector is engaged.
As well as beautiful weather Queensland can have some wild weather. As you won’t want to retrieve your roofing from the neighbour’s yard after a big storm, it is crucial to ensure the pergola’s roof structure and sheeting is appropriate for the structure and correctly installed. Whilst you may not have building expertise and you may not know which brackets are to be used, you can still look out for signs. The most visible signs are rusting brackets, loose rafters, or unusual gaps between timbers. Pushing up on roof sheeting where possible can also identify roof sheeting that is loose.
Always book a licensed and insured professional for peace of mind. While you may pick up some obvious defects at your open inspection, your professional building inspector will go over the property with a fine-tooth comb with a builder’s eye and identify defects you may have missed.
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